In a decade in which the American Musical was enmeshed in a state of seismic change, the five collaborations between Stephen Sondheim and director Harold Prince form a stunningly ambitious body of work embodying all of the major transitions. Their first production, the landmark Company (1970) ushered in an era of fractured plots, non-literalist settings, and the tone of ambivalence that would collectively rule the genre.
To paraphrase Voltaire, if Sweeney Todd didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him. A figure equally haunting the shadows of his Fleet Street storefront and the whole of the 19th century English imagination, the fiendish barber holds a telling place in the grinding progress of the Industrial Revolution and its headlong rush toward the modern world.
Audiences have been deeply effected and eager to discuss the emotional power they’ve felt while experiencing We Are Proud to Present… The “play within a play” also has reviewers admiring what this show delivers in only 90 minutes.
The media is abuzz, but they’re not the only ones who can’t say enough about We Are Proud To Present… Audience members have a lot to say about this “Must-See” show.
We’re thrilled to announce casting coups for our musical Mainstage finale – Sweeney Todd. As rehearsals get underway, two phenomenal actors straight from Broadway have joined our company here in Chapel Hill!
One of the most exciting things about being a projection designer is that the work can take so many different forms. Sometimes it’s putting images onto screens; sometimes it is projecting onto objects and varied textures within a set. Sometimes it involves a lot of filming and creating short films; sometimes it involves lots of digital content creation, like creating the world of a video game.
In my program note, I discuss how Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play, We Are Proud to Present…, uses the device of a young company of actors devising work together to uncover how ill-prepared we are as Americans to discuss issues of race and the experiences of and privileges afforded by structural racism.
For lighting designer Porsche McGovern, life itself is the biggest inspiration. “I watch my toddler run around and try to think about her sense of wonder. I try to bring that sense of openness and vulnerability to the rehearsal room.” Porsche does research, however prefers looking towards nature itself because it’s difficult to capture real sunlight in photographs.
Despite its title, this play is not a history lesson about German colonialism at the turn of the 20th century. It is not a chronicle of traditions and culture of the Herero; it does not detail the structural and institutional details of genocidal violence. That said, as Actor 4 observes “everything we’re talking about happened to real people, a whole people, not just one family, thousands of families.” In an effort to honor those people, we offer these resources for your own investigations.
PlayMakers audiences will remember Desdemona Chiang’s direction of last season’s beautifully delicate 4000 Miles as well as the fun and fantastical Hairspray for Summer Youth Conservatory. She returns to us now for something else completely different with the wildly provocative and bitingly funny We Are Proud to Present….