A new version of the world classic will be directed by Vivienne Benesch,
PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Jan. 7, 2016) PlayMakers Repertory Company continues its Mainstage Season Jan. 20-Feb. 7 with a fresh take on a classic drama, “Three Sisters” by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Special events associated with the show begin Jan. 11.

Languishing in a provincial town far from their beloved Moscow, sisters Olga, Masha and Irina yearn for the sparkling city of their childhood, where they believe all dreams will come true. Acknowledged as a masterpiece of the world stage, “Three Sisters” is Chekhov’s tour de force investigation of a family navigating the space between reality and dreams.

Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director, is directing the production. An award-winning director/actor/teacher and artistic director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company, Benesch also directed “Red,” “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)” and “Love Alone” at PlayMakers.

This production marks the professional premiere of a new version of “Three Sisters” by Libby Appel, artistic director emerita of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Appel, who directed “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and “The Glass Menagerie” at PlayMakers, recently adapted and published all four of his major works including “Three Sisters.”

“Three Sisters” is filled with more ‘life’ than nearly any other work of dramatic literature I know,” said Benesch. “Last spring, when I was invited to direct Libby Appel’s new adaptation, I had no idea it was destined to become my first production as PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director; but life and art sometimes play the very best tricks on us, and I cannot think of a more perfect work to engage in at this moment than Chekhov’s vibrant meditation on the nature of time, love and our unexpected journey through life.”

Performances of “Three Sisters” will take place in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays and on Saturday, Jan. 30.

In conjunction with “Three Sisters,” PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with Vivienne Benesch, Jan. 13 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:
• Jan. 11, 7 p.m.: “In the Wings,” presented by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Cast and creative team members (designers, actors and production personnel) discuss the plays at the Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road, Durham;
• Jan. 18, 6 p.m.: a discussion with the director and cast at The Granary Café, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
• Jan. 20, 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
• Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance;
• Jan. 26: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description;
• Jan. 27 and 31: free post-show discussions with members of the creative team;
• Jan. 30, 2 p.m.: open captioned performance;
• Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7, 2 p.m.: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.
Carol Woods Retirement Community is co-producing sponsor for the play.

PlayMakers will also stage “We Are Proud to Present…” (Feb. 24-March 13) and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical “Sweeney Todd” (March 30-April 23) to round out its 2015-2016 Mainstage Season, as well as “The Real Americans” by Dan Hoyle (April 27-May 1) in its PRC2 second stage series.

For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-7529 or visit http://playmakersrep.org/. Individual ticket prices start at $15. Tickets are also available as part of PlayMakers’ 2015-2016 subscription packages.

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview with Vivienne Benesch at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 13. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 962-5359.

    About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 78 bachelor’s, 112 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel Laureates, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

    About PlayMakers

Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Carolinas’ premier resident professional theater company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America.”

PlayMakers contact (for press information, interviews, photos and art): Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu.
College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu.
Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090, mc.vangraafeiland@unc.edu.