PlayMakers kicks off the 2014/15 Mainstage Season with Christopher Durang’s hysterical farce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,that riffs on the tradition of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Not only did it win the Tony for Best New Play, it was honored with tons of awards and nominations from the New York theatre scene.
We’re so excited about the team we’ve assembled for our production of Vanya, which includes both new and familiar faces.
Libby Appel returns to PlayMakers to direct this production. She was last here during the 2008/09 Season directing The Glass Menagerie. Libby spent 21 seasons as artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In 2010, she became only the sixth person to receive the Kennedy Center’s Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Legacy Award for Excellence in Theatre, which recognizes “lifetime achievement in theatre and unparalleled commitment to the future of the art form through teaching.” Not only does she have an incredible career as a director and leader, she has a rich history adapting the works of Anton Chekhov. She seemed like the perfect director to tackle Durang’s love letter/send up of Russia’s greatest playwright.
Designing the Bucks County estate where all the action of the play takes place is scenic designer Michael Dempsey. Michael comes to PlayMakers from Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) in Santa Monica, California. This is his first time designing for PlayMakers. Michael is the conservatory director and director of technical training for PCPA and has also designed for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Sacramento Theatre Company, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Syracuse Stage Williamstown Theater Festival and Off-Broadway.
PlayMakers brilliant resident designer Jan Chambers is creating the costumes for the show which range from the pedestrian to something straight out of a fairytale. You’ll remember her work on the set and clothes for last year’s rep of The Tempest and Metamorphose. Jan is a faculty member of the Department of Dramatic Art at UNC Chapel Hill, where she teaches theatre, scenic and costume design.
The lighting designer for Vanya will be Peter West. Peter has a long-standing relationship with PlayMakers and has done the lights for many shows here over the years including: Blue Door, The Bluest Eye, Yellowman, Luminosity, Hobson’s Choice, Uncle Vanya, Proof and Playboy of the Western World. West is based in Brooklyn, New York.