2019/20 season opens with a powerful new adaptation of Richard Wright’s classic novel

(Chapel Hill, NC, September 11, 2019) PlayMakers Repertory Company proudly opens its 2019/20 Mainstage season with Nambi E. Kelley’s powerful and heart-pounding adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son”. Directed by Colette Robert, and featuring original music by G. Clausen, the production runs from September 11 to 29, 2019. 

1930s Chicago. Jazz, speakeasies, and gangsters come to mind. The Southside of Chicago where Bigger Thomas lives is an entirely different world. Bigger struggles to find his place, as a Black man, in a world where systemic oppression, racism, and poverty make fear and violence the everyday currency of life. When he takes a job in a wealthy white household, one fateful decision sends him down a seemingly inescapable path. “Native Son” is an unforgettable theatrical experience that captures the power of Richard Wright’s iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice. 

The first stage adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” was written in Chapel Hill, by Wright and North Carolina playwright and humanitarian Paul Green, in 1941.

“Native Son” features April Mae Davis as Bessie (“Jump,” “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood”), Julia Gibson as Mrs. Dalton (“The Cake,” “An Enemy of the People”), Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas (“Life of Galileo,” “Tartuffe”), Tia James as Hannah (PlayMakers debut; Broadway’s “The Merchant of Venice”), Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary (“Leaving Eden,” “She Loves Me”), Amadio as Buddy (PlayMakers debut; Manbites Dog Theatre’s “The Miraculous and The Mundane”), Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat (PlayMakers debut; Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s “Richard II”), Adam Poole as Jan (“Jump,” “Sweeney Todd”), and Daniel P. Wilson as Britten (“Life of Galileo,” and Raleigh Little Theatre’s “Blood Done Sign My Name”).

The Creative Team of “Native Son” includes: Colette Robert (Director; Ensemble Studio Theatre’s “Behind the Sheet” and “Tempo”), Lawrence E. Moten III (Scenic Designer; Broadway’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” [assoc.]), Bobbi Owen (Costume Designer; “Intimate Apparel,” “Life on the Mississippi”), Reza Behjat (Lighting Designer; Waterwell’s “Hamlet”), G. Clausen (Sound Design; Studio Theatre’s “PYG or The Misedumacation of Dorian Belle”), Chika Ike (Assistant Director; American Repertory Theatre’s “Moby Dick”), Gwendolyn Schwinke (Vocal Coach; Shakespeare and Company’s “Taming of the Shrew”), Tracy Bersley (Movement Coach & Intimacy Director; “My Fair Lady”), Adam Versényi (Dramaturg; “The Nutcracker”), and Charles K. Bayang (Stage Manager; “Bewilderness”).

Due to rough language, racial and sexual violence, and racially-charged scenarios, we encourage patrons to use their own discretion in determining the age appropriateness of the material. 

For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Individual ticket prices start at $15. 

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Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas and Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat look down at Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto) Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas and Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat look down at Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat and Tia James as Hannah with Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat and Tia James as Hannah with Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas with the company of Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas with the company of Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Daniel P. Wilson as Britten, Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat, and Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Daniel P. Wilson as Britten, Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat, and Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes and Brandon J. Pierce as Bigger Thomas and The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes and Brandon J. Pierce as Bigger Thomas and The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

April Mae Davis as Bessie, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Daniel P. Wilson as Britten with Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)April Mae Davis as Bessie, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Daniel P. Wilson as Britten with Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat with Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat with Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

April Mae Davis as Bessie and Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)April Mae Davis as Bessie and Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Adam Poole as Jan with Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Adam Poole as Jan with Brandon J. Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas with Sarah Elizabeth Keyes and Brandon J. Pierce as Mary Dalton and The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas with Sarah Elizabeth Keyes and Brandon J. Pierce as Mary Dalton and The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Julia Gibson as Mrs. Dalton with Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Julia Gibson as Mrs. Dalton with Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

April Mae Davis as Vera Thomas, Tia James as Hannah, Amadio as Buddy, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)April Mae Davis as Vera Thomas, Tia James as Hannah, Amadio as Buddy, Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas, and Brandon Pierce as The Black Rat in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas and Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes as Bigger Thomas and Sarah Elizabeth Keyes as Mary Dalton in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Amadio as Buddy in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Amadio as Buddy in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)

Tia James as Hannah in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)Tia James as Hannah in Nambi E. Kelley’s “Native Son” at PlayMakers Repertory Company. (HuthPhoto)