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News Release

For immediate use:

Jan. 9, 2008

Note: See end of story for coverage options at noon Jan. 16 and Jan. 23.
Art: To download an image, see end of story.

PlayMakers to present Pulitzer winners in rotating repertory

The PlayMakers Repertory Company will bring audiences the excitement of the rotating repertory experience from Jan. 26 through March 2, with two mainstage productions running on an alternating schedule.

Both plays – “Doubt, A Parable” and “Topdog/Underdog” – are recent Broadway hits that won Pulitzer Prizes.

All performances by PlayMakers, the professional theatre in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are in the Paul Green Theatre, inside the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. For a complete schedule of performances, visit http://www.playmakersrep.org.

Tickets are $10 to $40. Special events will include:

 
“Doubt, A Parable” is set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, where a strong-minded principal wrestles with conscience and uncertainty when faced with concerns about a male colleague. The Tony Award winner by John Patrick Shanley is an exploration of paranoia and suspicion that calls into question faith, justice and assumptions about the nature of truth. Shanley also received an Academy Award for his original script for the film “Moonstruck.”

“(‘Doubt’ is) a topical, tight, funny, crowd-pleaser…” according to The New York Times. 

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” is the story of African-American brothers Lincoln and Booth, whose names were given to them as a joke by their father. Abandoned by their parents as teenagers, they fight for position and legitimacy in the world. Haunted by their past and their obsession with the con game three-card monte, they are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

Variety called the play “an utterly mesmerizing evening of theater…” and wrote that “…the vitality, freshness and gritty lyricism of Parks’ writing are unlike anything to be heard on a Broadway stage.”

The ensemble cast for “Doubt, A Parable” includes:

Janie Brookshire (Sister James), who appeared at PlayMakers this season as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” and Meg in “Crimes of the Heart.” Other PlayMakers credits include “The Illusion” (2007), “Cyrano de Bergerac” (2006) and “The Front Page” (2005).

Jeffrey Blair Cornell (Father Flynn), who was Capulet in the season opener “Romeo and Juliet” and performed last season in “The Illusion” and “The Underpants.” He has acted with PlayMakers for 12 seasons.

Julie Fishell (Sister Aloysius), who is a 15-year company member and a UNC adjunct associate professor of dramatic art. She has acted in PlayMakers productions including “The Underpants,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Frozen,” “The Front Page,” “Caesar and Cleopatra,” “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” “Othello,” “All’s Well That Ends Well,” “Side Man,” “A Delicate Balance,” “The Seagull,” “Tartuffe” and “A Little Night Music.” 

Kathryn Hunter-Williams (Mrs. Muller), who was Nurse/Lady Montague in PlayMakers’ “Romeo and Juliet” and appeared in last season’s “The Bluest Eye.” Her previous PlayMakers credits  include “Yellowman,” “Salome,” “Our Town,” “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” “The Laramie Project,” “Wit” and “Constant Star.”

Director Andrew Barr returns to PlayMakers, where he previously directed “Frozen,” “Copenhagen,” “The Subject Was Roses,” “Dinner with Friends,” “Side Man” and “Wit.” He also directs for Boise Contemporary Theater, Portland Stage in Maine, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theater Festival.

The cast of “Topdog/Underdog” includes:

Brandon J. Dirden (Booth), who appeared on Broadway in “Prelude to A Kiss.” His regional credits include “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” True Colors Theatre; “Othello,” “Twelfth Night” and others, Georgia Shakespeare Festival; “Take Me Out,” Theatre in the Square, Marietta, Ga.; and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” Houston’s Alley Theater.

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Lincoln), who was last at PlayMakers in “Master Harold …and the Boys.” His New York credits include “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk,” “The America Play,” “The Tempest,” “Medea” and “Stonewall.”

Directing “Topdog/Underdog” is Raelle Myrick-Hodges, the new artistic director of San Francisco’s Brava Theater Center. She is co-founder of the Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia. She also was assistant director for the original production of Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” and a New York Public Theatre production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” in Central Park that starred Meryl Streep.

The production team for both plays includes Marion Williams (sets), Jan Chambers (costumes), Justin Townsend (lighting), and Michèl Marrano (sound). 

For information about PlayMakers’ season, call (919) 962-PLAY or visit www.playmakersrep.org.

Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theatre company. The Drama League recently named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.”

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover director’s preview discussions at noon on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For additional assistance, call (919) 428-1744.

Photo URL: “Doubt, A Parable” poster: http://www.unc.edu/news/pics/releases/repart4.jpg

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, cmahan@email.unc.edu
College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu