Press Release

PlayMakers Celebrates 40 Years with Arthur Miller’s Gripping Classic ‘The Crucible’

(Chapel Hill, NC) PlayMakers Repertory Company continues to celebrate 40 years of professional theatre with its second Mainstage production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” which runs in the Paul Green Theatre from October 19 through November 6, 2016. Special events associated with the show begin October 12. Please visit for more information.

Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director, states, “I am thrilled to be producing ‘The Crucible’ at this particular moment in time. Not only was ‘The Crucible’ part of PlayMakers’ first professional season 40 years ago, giving us the opportunity to revisit a play that paved the way to PlayMakers becoming the nationally recognized theatre it is today, but the play’s masterful convergence of politics, religion, sex, greed and mass hysteria is as relevant today in the face of our upcoming election as it was when Miller wrote this cautionary tale about the Salem witch trials in the face of 1950’s McCarthyism.”

Benesch adds, “I hope this production can illuminate for us, individually and as a community, the dangers of remaining silent and the risks involved in pursuing a principled citizenry.”

Justin Haslett, PlayMakers’ new Managing Director, states, “I am excited to be a part of a theatre company with such a rich and storied legacy of presenting transformative performances that illuminate the human spirit. I love the experience of seeing a production in the Paul Green Theatre—the deep thrust design of the stage area always provides our artists with unique opportunities to interact with our audiences in ways a traditional proscenium doesn’t allow. For ‘The Crucible,’ PlayMakers will expand the boundaries of the stage even further by adding a new section of seating behind the traditional stage. This theater-in-the-round experience will provide our audience and artists with a fresh perspective for the space and new ways to connect and engage with one another.”

“The Crucible” will feature Ariel Shafir as John Proctor (recently on stage in “Marie Antoinette” at Steppenwolf Theatre, and soon to be on screen in an episode in the upcoming season 4 of “Orange is the New Black”) and Sarita Ocon as Elizabeth Proctor (recently in “Alicia’s Miracle” at Tides Theatre, “Bengal Tiger” at the San Francisco Playhouse, and “Ghosts of the River” at Shadowlight Productions), the tragic couple at the heart of Miller’s dark fable.

Returning to perform are many PlayMakers company favorites: Ray Dooley as Giles Corey (“Sweeney Todd”, “Three Sisters”, and “Peter and the Starcatcher”); Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Deputy Governor Danforth (“Sweeney Todd”, “Peter and the Starcatcher”, and “An Enemy of the People”); David Adamson as Francis Nurse (“Three Sisters”, “An Enemy of the People”, and “Trouble in Mind”), Allison Altman as Abigail Williams (“Three Sisters”, “An Enemy of the People”, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”); Daniel Bailin as Ezekiel Cheever (“Three Sisters”, “Peter and the Starcatcher”, and “An Enemy of the People”); Benjamin Curns as Thomas Putnam (“Sweeney Todd”, “Three Sisters”, and “Peter and the Starcatcher”); Julia Gibson as Mrs. Anne Putnam and Sara Good (“An Enemy of the People”, “Into the Woods”, and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”); Kathryn Hunter-Williams as Rebecca Nurse ( “Trouble in Mind”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Into The Woods”); Schuyler Scott Mastain as Reverend John Hale (“Sweeney Todd”, “We Are Proud to Present…”, and “Three Sisters”).

Making their PlayMakers debut are: Natalie Cabo as Mercy Lewis, Gabriella Cila as Betty Parris, Geoff Culbertson as Hopkins, Calliope George as Susanna Walcott, Alex Givens as Marshal Herrick, Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Tituba, Christine Mirzayan as Mary Warren, Jim Moscater as Reverend Parris, and Tristan Parks as Judge Hathorne.

The Creative Team of “The Crucible” includes: Desdemona Chiang (Director), Narelle Sisson (Scenic Designer), Grier Coleman (Costume Designer), Josh Epstein (Lighting Designer), Eric Collin (Sound Designer), Mark Perry (Dramaturg), Tracey Bersley (Movement Consultant), John Patrick (Voice Coach), Charles K. Bayang (Stage Manager), and Hannah-Jean Farris (Assistant Stage Manager).

About ‘The Crucible’:
Miller’s landmark play gripped our audience 40 years ago, but couldn’t be more timely today. PlayMakers celebrates 40 years with a fresh look at this masterful drama exploring the slippery slope of mass hysteria.
Tony Award-Winner for Best Play “The Crucible” is hailed by The New York Times as “[a] cruelly magnificent play.”

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.”

Theatre-In-The-Round Experience:
“The Crucible” will be performed in theatre-in-the-round. An additional seating section was designed exclusively for this production to further enhance audience engagement with this classic play. This newly designed section is located behind the stage and contains a total of 44 seats. Please call the Box Office at 919.962.7529 for more information on this select seating for a never-before seen perspective on a PlayMakers production. Tickets are limited and will sell out fast.

Performance Schedule:
Performances 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, plus 2 p.m. on Saturdays, Oct. 29, Oct. 30, and Nov. 6. Previews: Oct. 19-21. Opening Night: Oct. 22. Special Sunday evening performance on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit Individual ticket prices for “The Crucible” start at $10 for students with ID and $15 for non-students.

Special Events:
In conjunction with “The Crucible”, PlayMakers hosts “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with director Desdemona Chiang, moderated by dramaturg Mark Perry, October 12 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 and learn about the vision for the show and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated. Call the PlayMakers box office at 919.962.7529 to RSVP.

Other special events will include:

    • October 3, 7:00 p.m.: “In the Wings,” presented by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Cast and creative team members discuss the play at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham;
    • October 19, 20, and 21, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
    • October 22, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance
    • October 25: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description;
    • October 26 and 30 (2:00 pm): free post-show discussions with members of the creative team;
    • October 29, 2:00 p.m.: open captioned performance;

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview at 6:30 p.m. on October 3. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call 919.962.6997.

PlayMakers contact (interim): For press information, interviews, photos or poster art, contact Tim Scales at For other PlayMakers questions, please contact Rosalie Preston, Associate Director of Marketing, at or 919.962.6997.