PlayMakers Repertory Company kicks off its new Mainstage Season Sept. 17-Oct. 5 with the Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Special events associated with the show begin Sept. 10.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” enjoyed acclaimed Broadway and Off-Broadway runs and garnered numerous honors including the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award for Best Play. 

Playwright Durang has crafted a show for theater-lovers. Borrowing from the works of Russian master Anton Chehkov, including character names and other references to his great dramas, the comedy “makes heartache into fodder for belly laughs,” according to The New York Times. PlayMakers calls the show “one part Chekhov, plus a heaping portion of hilarity with a dash of misery. Mix with pop culture and shake furiously with laughter for a side-splitting good time!” 

The New York Times also raved that “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is “Deliriously funny! Comic acting raised to the level of high art.” USA Today proclaimed the show “a wild, winning ride! Hugely entertaining!” 

Durang’s reputation for outrageous, often absurd comedy prompted Entertainment Weekly to call the comedy “Entirely, indisputably, oh-no-he-didn’t Durang!” 

Performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and Sunday, Oct. 5; 2 p.m. Sundays and Saturday, Sept. 27. There are no performances Saturday, Oct. 4.

For a complete schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Individual ticket prices start at $15. Tickets are also available as part of PlayMakers’ 2014-2015 subscription packages. 

The production is directed by Libby Appel, Artistic Director Emerita of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Appel helmed PlayMakers’ production of “The Glass Menagerie” (2009). She has directed all of Chekhov’s plays and recently completed new translations of “Ivanov,” “The Seagull,” “Uncle Vanya,” “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard” for the book “Five Chekhov Plays.”  

In conjunction with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with Appel, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. Participants share coffee and hors d’oeuvres provided by series sponsor Jujube Restaurant, learn about the vision for the show and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated. Call PlayMakers’ box office at 919.962.7529 to RSVP.

Other special events will include:

  • Sept. 15, 6 p.m.: a discussion with the director and cast at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
  • Sept 17, 18 and 19, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
  • Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance;
  • Sept. 24 and 28: free post-show discussions with members of the creative team;
  • Sept. 27, 2 p.m.: open captioned performance;
  • Sept. 30: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description;
  • Oct. 5, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society. 

 

Carol Woods Retirement Community is corporate co-producing sponsor for the play. 

During the 2014-2015 Mainstage Season, PlayMakers will also present Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical “Into the Woods” with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare (performed in rotating repertory Nov. 1-Dec. 7); “Trouble in Mind” (Jan. 21-Feb.8); “An Enemy of the People” (Feb. 25-March 15); and “4000 Miles” (April 1-19).  

PlayMakers, based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been named by The Drama League as one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.” 

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview with director Libby Appel at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 962-5359. 

PlayMakers contact: For press information, interviews, photos or poster art, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu.