Dynamic plays from three important women playwrights, plus a landmark drama by Arthur Miller, a romantic Shakespearean romp and a beloved musical masterpiece will highlight the 2016-2017 Mainstage Season from PlayMakers Repertory Company. The new season is the first selected for the theater by Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ new Producing Artistic Director.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this first season of captivating contemporary plays joined by reimaginings of the iconic classics PlayMakers does so well,” said Benesch. “These great stories of transformation are designed to engage, delight and invigorate.”

Subscription packages are available for purchase. Renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through April 8. Call (919) 962-7529 or visit http://www.playmakersrep.org/ for information.

Mainstage productions for 2016-2017 are:

“Detroit ‘67” by Dominique Morisseau: Sept. 14-Oct. 2, 2016

The season opens with a regional premiere. The world is shifting for two siblings running an after-hours joint to make ends meet. Tensions mount when dreams diverge, their tight-knit community is threatened by an outsider and the streets erupt in violence in this riveting new play set to a driving Motown beat. The Huffington Post called “Detroit ‘67” “mind-blowing!” and the Star Tribune said it’s “[a] poetic play of fire-fueled dreams and frustrated love set against a backdrop of historic social unrest in Motown.” Morisseau was awarded the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History.

“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller: Oct. 19-Nov. 6, 2016

Miller’s landmark play gripped PlayMakers’ audiences 40 years ago, but couldn’t be more timely in today’s political climate. The theater crowns its 40th anniversary with a fresh look at this masterful drama exploring the slippery slope of mass hysteria. A Tony Award-winner for Best Play, “The Crucible” was called a “cruelly magnificent play [of] undeniable power” by The New York Times. The Guardian described it as a work “full of raw, visceral power [that] retains its disturbing relevance today.”

“The May Queen” by Molly Smith Metzler: Nov. 23-Dec. 11, 2016

This regional premiere is a savvy new comedy about shifting expectations that asks “Whatever happened to your high school ‘queen’?” Everyone wonders what happened to Jen Nash, Kingston High’s beautiful 1997 May Queen. When she suddenly resurfaces back in town as a temp worker things are a far cry from what anyone had imagined. It’s a mixed up mash-up when an unexpected high school reunion meets the hilarity of “The Office.” The Huffington Post raved, saying “The May Queen” is “an inspired tragicomedy…crackling with humor and raw emotions.”

“Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage: Jan. 25-Feb. 12, 2017

Esther sews elegant intimates for high society and fallen women alike, fashioning an independent path in her search for love and respect. “Intimate Apparel” is a compelling look at the joys and sorrows of an African-American seamstress told against the rich tapestry of 1905 New York. The Observer called the play “quietly subversive … a defining piece of American drama.” Nottage, herself a Pulitzer Prize-winner, garnered Best Play nods from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Outer Critics Circle.

“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare: March 1-19, 2017

Acknowledged to be the perfectly-made comedy of mistaken identity, “Twelfth Night” features a shipwreck, lost twins, gender-bending disguise and romantic intrigue. The Bard’s riotous romp affirms the power of love to transform loss into hope, with every word, wink and wooing a sheer delight. The New York Times proclaimed it “a celestial comedy.”

“My Fair Lady” book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe, adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture “Pygmalion,” original production directed by Moss Hart: April 5-29, 2017

PlayMakers invites audiences to be transported by glorious music and cheer Eliza on as she grabs her chance for reinvention, breaking barriers and changing the lives of Henry Higgins and everyone she meets along the way. The multiple Tony and Olivier Award-winner has been called “irresistible” by Variety and “probably the greatest musical of all time” by The Daily Telegraph.

PlayMakers will also present three topical, thought-provoking shows in its PRC2 second stage season:

TBA: Aug. 24-28, 2016

PlayMakers is finalizing plans for the first play in next season’s PRC2 series.

“De Profundis” by Oscar Wilde, adapted for the stage by Brian Mertes: Jan. 11-15, 2017

This work in development explores Wilde’s infamous account of lost love and betrayal, so beautifully expressed in his “letter from Reading Gaol,” taking the audience into his journey of transformation from the depths of despair to transcendent heights of forgiveness and understanding. As Wilde wrote, PlayMakers’ new staging will explore why “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

“Mr. Joy” by Daniel Beaty: April 26-30, 2017

A Harlem neighborhood finds healing and hope as the community takes stock when a Chinese immigrant’s shoe repair shop curiously doesn’t open one morning. An array of customers, including indomitable 11-year-old Clarissa and “gangsta granny” Bessie, come to realize what the shop owner has meant to their lives. Theatermania praised “Mr. Joy” as “the most uplifting and inspiring theater you’ll see this year.”

All performances will be presented in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows, in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.
For information on PlayMakers’ current season, visit http://www.playmakersrep.org or call (919) 962-7529.

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 more information, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu.