Press Release

PlayMakers serves up comedy, Southern style, with “Crimes of the Heart”

For immediate release: Oct. 9, 2007


Note: Director John Feltch will discuss the

play at noon on Oct. 17 in the Paul Green Theatre.


PlayMakers serves up comedy, Southern style, with “Crimes of the Heart”


CHAPEL HILL – Dysfunctional is the only word to describe the Magrath family, whose three sisters all must face individual and collective crises in the Southern comedy classic “Crimes of the Heart.” Lenny is turning 30 and cares for dying Granddaddy; Meg is reeling from her failed singing career; and Babe, the youngest, forces a reunion when she is bailed out of jail after shooting her husband.


From Oct. 24 through Nov. 11, PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theatre in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will perform “Crimes of the Heart.” Company member John Felch directs. Show times are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, and 2 p.m. Sundays in the Paul Green Theatre, in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road.


Warm-hearted, irreverent and funny, Mississippi’s Beth Henley conjured Southern magic with “Crimes,” the first play to receive the Pulitzer Prize before heading to Broadway. The Prize, in 1981, made Henley the first female playwright to receive the award in 23 years. The same year, “Crimes” won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New American Play. It was also adapted as a 1986 movie starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek.


“Crimes” is set in the kitchen of a venerable, old, turn-of-the century house in small town Mississippi, replete with family ghosts and secrets. PlayMakers places audiences squarely into the heart of the Magrath home on a set dripping with Spanish moss, and exuding Southern Gothic charm.


”Crimes” entered the American theatrical canon 25 years ago and has remained on our stages and in our hearts ever since,” says director John Feltch. “It’s a shockingly funny, surprisingly moving play that speaks in a bold, bittersweet and distinctly Southern voice. It’s a joy to direct and will be a joy to see.”


Company member John Feltch also directed “Stones in his Pockets” for PlayMakers last season, and portrayed Charlotte von Mahlsdorf in PlayMakers’ “I Am My Own Wife” (2006), De Guiche in “Cyrano de Bergerac” (2006) and Diamond Louie in “The Front Page” (2005). He has acted on Broadway and was a company member at the Alley Theatre in Texas for 11 seasons. He has taught at Rice University, the University of Houston and UNC-Chapel Hill.


The production team includes Jan Chambers (sets and costumes), M.L. Geiger (lighting), and Michèl Marrano (sound). 


The ensemble cast of six includes:


Janie Brookshire (Meg) is a company member who most recently appeared as Juliet in the season opener “Romeo and Juliet.” Other PlayMakers credits include “The Illusion” (2007), “Cyrano de Bergerac” (2006) and “The Front Page” (2005), as well as New York productions “Drums in the Night,” for Columbia University School of the Arts, and “Henry IV Parts 1 & 2” and “Richard II”for the Instant Shakespeare Co.

Annie Meisels (Chick) appeared Off Broadway in “Pera Pelas” at the McGinn Cazele Theatre, “Cannibals” for the Ensemble Studio Theatre and “My Mothers’ a Baby Boy” for the Kraine Theatre. Her many regional credits include “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” TV appearances include “Law & Order,” “The Education of Max Bickford (CBS),” and  “Through Thick and Thin (ABC).

Wesley Schultz (Doc) is a company member who just appeared as Benvolio in this season’s “Romeo and Juliet” and in “The Illusion” (2007). Other PlayMakers appearances include “Cyrano de Bergerac” (2006) and “The Front Page” (2005).

Lesley Shires (Babe) is a company member who performed in regional productions of Chicago and Cats. InNew York, she worked as a print model for Mattel, Fuse, Cosmopolitan, Canon, and acted on Rescue Me.” Other roles include Barefoot in the Park” as Corie Bratter at ECU Loessin Summer Theatre and How I Learned to Drive” as Lil’ Bit and“The Rivals” as Lydia Languish at ECU Loessin Playhouse.

Marshall Spann (Barnette) is a company member who appeared at PlayMakers as Paris in this season’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Other PRC appearances include The Front Page” (2005) and Cyrano de Bergerac” (2006).


Regan Thompson (Lenny) appeared Off Broadway in Theophilus North”with the Keen Company and “IVermin with the NY International Fringe Festival as well as numerous regional theatres including the Tennessee Repertory Company and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Tickets are $10 to $40. Special events include free post-show discussions on Oct. 31 and Nov. 4 and an all-access performance for attendees with special needs on Nov. 6


On Thursday, Nov. 1st, PlayMakers will participate in the national ”Free Night of Theatre.” Theatregoers who have never attended a PlayMakers production may reserve complimentary tickets to “Crimes of the Heart. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit Night of Theatre” is a national campaign, conceived by Theatre Communications Group, which aims to attract new audiences to live theatre. Free Night of Theatre will occur in 70 cities across the United States. 


For information about PlayMakers’ 2007-2008 season and the new PRC² second stage series, call (919) 962-PLAY or visit Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theatre company. The Drama League recently named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.”


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Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover the “Director’s Lunch” preview and discussion with director John Feltch at noon on Oct. 17. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For additional assistance, call (919) 621-1230.


PlayMakers contact: Pam O’Connor, (919) 621-1230 or