PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theatre in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will perform the stage version of “The Little Prince” from Nov. 28 through Dec. 16.
Shows will be at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 in the Paul Green Theatre, inside UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. The play is suitable for ages 5 and older.
Special events will include a free talk by director Tom Quaintance at noon Nov. 21 in the theater; free post-show discussions on Dec. 5 and 9; and an all-access performance for those with special needs on Dec. 11.
Tuesday Community Night performances on Dec. 4 and 11 will include holiday music before and after the play by The Trekky Yuletide Orchestra, beginning at 6 p.m. The orchestra is comprised of members of bands on the Trekky Records label, a collective based in Chapel Hill. Tickets to the play on Tuesday Community Nights are $10. Seating is general admission.
Tickets to other performances range from $10 to $40 and may be purchased by phone at (919) 962-PLAY, online at www.playmakersrep.org or at the Paul Green Theatre Box Office, open from noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and two hours before each performance.
Tom Quaintance returns to direct “The Little Prince” at PlayMakers, where this summer he directed the sold-out production of “Oliver!” that capped the first Summer Youth Conservatory, a partnership between PlayMakers Repertory Company and The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Quaintance also directed “The Little Prince” this past summer for Theatre M at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. An assistant director for Broadway-bound productions, including “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Matthew Broderick, Quaintance is the founder of FreightTrain Shakespeare in Los Angeles.
“‘The Little Prince'” is a fantastic journey through the stars for children,” says Quaintance. “It is a map for adults to rediscover their childhood. In the Prince’s travels, we see the isolated and disconnected nature of the adult world. It’s a study of the mindset that only cares for numbers and statistics and misses what is of real consequence.”
Theater composer and author Rick Cummins and playwright John Scoullar adapted the book by Saint Exupéry as a stage play in 2000. The classic novella, published in 1943, has been translated into more than 160 languages and sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
One character, the Fox, utters one of the book’s key phrases, capturing the essence of Saint-Exupéry’s work: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Quaintance says that the story is rich in philosophy and poetic metaphors. “Onstage we will create the world of the play using our bodies, imagination and an unshakable belief in heartfelt, visceral theatricality.”
“The Little Prince” marks PlayMakerscompany member and UNC adjunct assistant professor of dramatic art Kenneth P. Strong’s return to a leading role. The Aviator will be his first featured PRC appearance since Jeremiah Mears in “God’s Man in Texas.” A company member since 1990, Strong has appeared in more than 50 PlayMakers productions, including Vanya in “Uncle Vanya,” the Stage Manager in “Our Town,” Yvan in “Art” and Biff in “Death of a Salesman” (with Judd Hirsch and Eva Marie Saint). When not working with PRC, he has performed on Broadway (Inherit the Wind), Off Broadway (Sin, Easter), and regionally (Alliance Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Intiman Theatre). His TV credits include Matlock, In the Heat of the Night, SpinCity, Law & Order, Another World, and All My Children. Some of his film credits include Cold Sassy Tree, RoboCop III, They, Love Potion #9, The Terry O’Kelly Story, and The Rose and the Jackal.
The ensemble cast will also include:
David Friedlander (King/Merchant) returning to the PlayMakers Repertory stage after appearing earlier this season in Romeo and Juliet. Previous PlayMakers credits include Stones in His Pockets (Jake), Frozen, and Cyrano de Bergerac. David holds a BA in Theatre Studies from YaleUniversity and has worked previously at the Yale Cabaret in New HavenConnecticut and First Stage Milwaukee in MilwaukeeWisconsin.
Flor De Liz Perez (Tippler/Wall of Roses) was seen as Paris’ page in PRC’s Romeo and Juliet. Favorite roles include Stephano in The Tempest, Kristin in Miss Julie, and Belise in The Learned Ladies, (all at BucknellUniversity in PA). A graduate of BucknellUniversity, Ms. Perez also trained at the LondonDramaticAcademy for a semester. Directing work includes a 31-woman production of The Vagina Monologues at Bucknell. Community theatre: several productions of The Gaspipe Theatre Co. in Lewisburg, PA including Romeo and Juliet (Lady Capulet). Filmwork includes the award-winning indie short, “One Number Two” (Bellybutton Pleasure Girl).
Joy Jones (Conceited Man/Snake/Wall of Roses) PRC: The Little Prince, Romeo and Juliet. New York:Reason for Leaving, The Public Theatre; Whisper, Playwrights Horizons; Zaide, Lincoln Center; Achidi J’s Final Hours, The Culture Project; Rattlestick Theatre, 78th Street Theatre Lab, American Globe Theatre, Theatreworks USA and others. Regional theatre: Tantalus, The Royal Shakespeare Company/Denver Center; Romeo and Juliet, Arkansas Repertory Theatre; The Tempest, Arkansas Repertory Theatre; Murder in the Cathedral, Washington Stage Guild; Georgia Repertory Theatre, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Theatre of the First Amendment among others.
Matthew Murphy (Turkish Astronomer/Geographer) recently made his PlayMakers debut in Romeo and Juliet.Performance credits include The Winter’s Tale, Bash: 3 Plays, Our Country’s Good, Children of Eden, The Secret Garden, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and operas such as The Magic Flute and Gianni Schicchi. Music direction credits include operas The Telephone and A Hand of Bridge, as well as the musical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working. He holds degrees in music and theatre arts from Lawrence University/Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Jason Powers (Lamplighter/Fox) is a graduate of InterlochenArtsAcademy and Central MichiganUniversity and a first year graduate student in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Professional Actor Training Program. He was last seen in PRC’s Romeo and Juliet as Balthazar. Jason spent seven years in Chicago where he performed in nearly twenty productions including acclaimed productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Catch-22, Flood and Twelfth Night. He was nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Citation for his portrayal of Winston in the Chicago premier of The Creduaex Canvas and was the recipient of an Arts Assistance Grant from The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Lesley Shires (Little Prince), who portrays Babe in PlayMakers’ “Crimes of the Heart,” which closes Sunday (Nov. 11). Lesley is a graduate of EastCarolinaUniversity with a BFA in Professional Acting. She’s performed in regional productions of Chicago as Roxy Hart and in Cats as Cassandra. Lesley has lived in New York City working as a print model and actor for Mattel, Fuse, Cosmopolitan, Canon, FX’s Rescue Me and can currently be seen on the national commercial for Gardasil. Other roles include: Barefoot in the Park as Corie Bratter (ECU Loessin Summer Theatre), How I Learned to Drive as Lil’ Bit (ECU Loessin Playhouse) and The Rivals as Lydia Languish (ECU Loessin Playhouse).
Heaven Chijerae Stephens (Rose/Wall of Roses) appeared in this season’s “Romeo and Juliet” and last season in PlayMakers’ “The Bluest Eye” and “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
William Stutts (Businessman) was last seen at PlayMakers in Romeo and Juliet. Other PRC appearances include Cyrano de Bergerac and The Front Page. He has also worked in the region for Burning Coal Theatre Company (90 in 90, James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’, Company, The History of King Henrie the Fourth), Temple Theatre (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Prelude to to a Kiss; Of Mice and Men) and Live Wire Theatre Company (Romeo and Juliet).
The production team will be McKay Coble, professor and chair of UNC’s department of dramatic art (sets/costumes), Justin Townsend (lighting) and Michèl Marrano (sound).
In her designs for the play, Coble says she’s ventured beyond the traditional children’s theater approach. “For instance, the characters Rose, Snake and Fox are not dressed up in a rose hat or a blackened nose with whiskers,” she said. “The Rose is a child to me – one who is trying to figure out how to get what she wants and not really knowing what that is; the Snake is the essence of amazing power contained in a simple thing; the Fox is your quirky college roommate from whom you learned all the really useful stuff but didn’t realize it until after you graduated.”
Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas‘ oldest resident professional theatre company. The Drama League recently named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.” For more information on the 2007-2008 mainstage and PRC² second stage seasons, visit www.playmakersrep.org.
Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover the set and production preview with director Tom Quaintance at noon Nov. 21 in the Paul Green Theatre. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. Call (919) 428-1744 for directions and additional assistance.
PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, mail:email.unc.edu:cmahan.