Press Release

Hip Hop troupe Universes kicks off new year at PlayMakers

PlayMakers, the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present the troupe ’s newest stage show, “The Big Bang,” in the theater’s PRC2 second-stage series.

“The Big Bang” is a mix of music, drama, poetry and movement charting the creative history of the critically acclaimed group. The show includes timely takes on the American landscape from Universes’ hit plays “Slanguage,”Blue Suite,”The Last Word” and their latest presentation, “Ameriville,” which debuted at this season’s Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ken., and just completed an award-winning run at Denver’s Curious Theatre Co.


“Ameriville” examines the state of the American union through the lens of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, focusing on race, poverty, history and politics through poetic storytelling and the infectious rhythms of jazz, gospel and urban music.


Universes will perform “The Big Bang” at 8 p.m. nightly Jan. 13-17 and 2 p.m. on Jan. 17 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre at UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Tickets are $24 to $32 and may be purchased at or by calling (919) 962-PLAY (7529).


Universes is known for being eloquent, edgy and entertaining. The Los Angeles Times wrote of the New York-based ensemble, “These performers are fierce, funny and bitingly intelligent.” The Village Voice (New York City) says, “Their energy and realness is unmatchable.” And The Miami Herald calls them “magnetic performers.”


  The Triangle’s Independent Weekly gave the group’s 2007 show at PlayMakers a rave review, saying these are “folks you’ve got to see and (particularly) hear” with “Intricate rhythms and intricate stories, told by artists … as adept at polyrhythmic musical composition as they are at acting.”


“The Big Bang” continues the 2009-10 season of PlayMakers’ thought-provoking PRC2 second-stage series, where each presentation combines a topical production coupled with engaging post-show discussions with the creative artists.


Special events during “The Big Bang” will include:

  • A discussion with the members of Universes at The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on South Road on the UNC campus Jan. 14 at 3 p.m.;
  • A pre-show mixer with beer, wine and snacks hosted by UNC’s General Alumni Association Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. The $32 cost includes a ticket to the evening’s performance. Call (919) 962-0313 or visit to make reservations;
  • A spoken word competition following the performance in the Kenan Theatre on Jan. 15. The competition is open to the public, as well as show attendees. No advance registration is required.

Completing this season’s PRC2 line-up will be “I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me By a Young Lady From Rwanda” (March 24-28).

Also coming up for PlayMakers aremainstageproductions of Arthur Miller’s searing masterpiece “All My Sons” (Jan. 27-Feb. 14) and Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest” (March 3-21).

Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theater. The Drama League of New York has named PlayMakers one of the best regional theaters in America.

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744,