PlayMakers Repertory Company will stage a royal coming-of-age epic, combining William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2” and “Henry V” as “The Making of a King,” to be performed Jan. 28 – March 4.

The professional theater-in-residence in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present the plays running in rotating repertory, as well as an array of special community and educational events associated with the production.

The plays follow young Prince Hal from his unpromising start in bawdy houses and taverns under the tutelage of the larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff to Hal’s rise as one of England’s greatest monarchs, King Henry V. The action travels from palaces to battlefields, from civil war in Britain to battles in the fields of France, on a vast theatrical journey.

PlayMakers producing artistic director Joseph Haj will co-direct with Mike Donahue, who helmed this season’s PRC2 second stage hit “A Number” and worked with Haj on another PlayMakers’ epic, “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.” Actor Michael Winters of TV’s “Gilmore Girls” and last seen at PlayMakers in 2004 as King Lear will play Falstaff. UNC-TV is co-producing sponsor for the production.

“These plays, with their exploration of war and its costs, remain as current today as when Shakespeare wrote them over 400 years ago,” Haj said.

Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays (except Jan. 28, when there is no matinee performance) and Sundays (except Jan. 29, which is at 7:30 p.m.) There are three opportunities to see both plays back-to-back on Feb. 4 and 25 and March 3. On these dates, “Henry IV” will be performed at 2 p.m. and “Henry V” at 7:30 p.m. Boxed dinners from Whole Foods Market will be available for purchase. Pre-ordering dinner when purchasing show tickets is recommended.

All performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Tickets are still available as part of the theater’s 2011-2012 season subscription packages. Individual tickets are $10 to $45. With the purchase of a ticket to either play, a ticket to the other “Henry” may also be purchased at 25 percent off. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts or offers. A 10 per cent discount off single tickets is available for active military personnel.

For a performance schedule, to purchase tickets and learn about community activities scheduled in connection with the run, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org.

On Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series: Directors in Conversation” with co-directors Haj and Donahue joined by scenic designer Jan Chambers.

“The Vision Series” is free and open to the public. Theater-goers and others interested in the creative process are invited to the Paul Green Theatre to share coffee and refreshments, along with a behind-the-scenes preview of the production. Reservations are appreciated. Call PlayMakers’ box office at 919.962.7529 to RSVP.

In connection with “The Making of a King,” PlayMakers will host a series of special events under the banner “Breaking History: Power, Politics, and the Legacy of War” investigating America’s legacy of engagements in military conflict.

  •     Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre: “An Evening with Chris Hedges.” One of the country’s preeminent journalists, Chris Hedges, author of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, appears for a conversation about what he calls America’s “cultural addiction to war.” Hedges has reported from more than 50 countries as a journalist for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
  •     Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre: “Peace and War in America.” In partnership with UNC’s Curriculum in Peace War and Defense, chair Wayne Lee and PlayMakers’producing artistic director Joseph Haj lead a panel conversation inspired by “The Making of a King.”
  •     Feb. 23 6:30 p.m. at The Varsity on Franklin: a screening of Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner “Hell and Back Again,” as part of the Ackland Film Forum. From his embed with U.S. Marine Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist/filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25 year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts physical and emotional difficulties re-adjusting to civilian life. Screening rights are pending.
  •     PlayMakers will travel to Fayetteville to host a conversation in partnership with The Army’s Army and Cape Fear Regional Theatre presenting scenes from the plays and discussing the impact of our current military engagements on soldiers and their families. Date to be announced.

Other events during “The Making of a King” will include:

  •     Jan. 23, 6 p.m.: a discussion with the directors and cast at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
  •     Jan. 28 through Feb. 3: preview performances at 7:30 p.m.;
  •     Jan. 30, 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 play at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham;
  •     Feb. 4: opening day; “Henry IV” at 2 p.m. and “Henry V” at 7:30 p.m., with a complimentary gala party after the evening show;
  •     Feb. 11 (“Henry IV”) and 18 (“Henry V”), 2 p.m.: open captioned performances;
  •     Feb 15 and 19 (“Henry IV”), Feb. 26 and March 1 (“Henry V”): free post-show discussions with the creative team;
  •     Feb. 21 (“Henry IV”) and 28 (“Henry V”): all-access performances for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description; and,
  •     March 3 and 4: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society. For “The Making of a King,” “Thrice More into the Breach: The Making and Unmaking of Men in Peace and War” with Harold Kudler, MD.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recognized PlayMakers with an “Access to Artistic Excellence Grant” of $100,000 to support “The Making of a King” and events in the “Breaking History” series. The award was the largest given by the NEA to any professional theater for a production planned during the 2011-2012 season. Only New York’s Lincoln Center Theater and The Goodman Theatre in Chicago also garnered grants of this size.

A $25,000 grant from the NEA and Arts Midwest “Shakespeare for a New Generation” program has funded additional educational outreach, sending teaching artists sent into area schools and underwriting matinees of the play for middle and high school students.

PlayMakers’ main-stage season finale will be the uproarious British comedy “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn (April 4-22.) The PRC2 second stage closes with the world premiere of “Penelope,” written and performed by Ellen McLaughlin, with live music composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider (April 25-29).

Web site: www.playmakersrep.org

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover “The Vision Series” preview and directors’ talk on Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 962-5359.

PlayMakers contact: For press information, interviews, photos or poster art, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu