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Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art | playmakersrep.org | 919.962.7529 OCTOBER 11 - 31, 2023 Based on the novel by Stephen King Directed by Jeffrey Meanza

VIVIENNE BENESCH Producing Artistic Director


We are thrilled to present William Goldman’s spine-tingling stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. Much more treat than trick, this smart adaptation (the first of several adaptations we’ll produce this season) is a complex exploration of obsession and passion, a frightening—while frighteningly entertaining— look at the dark side of fandom and freedom.

Bringing this tense cat-and-mouse game to life is no easy task; it requires well-plotted, maniacal talent from all corners of our organization. But have no fear, we have all the right ingredients: a cast to die for, a chillingly, thrilling creative team led by a brilliant director, Jeffrey Meanza, and a world-class, fantastic production staff and crew.

Speaking of the very best ingredients...Misery marks McKay Coble’s last official scenic design as a resident PlayMakers company member. She has created close to ninety designs at PlayMakers over her thirty-plus years as a PRC company and UNC faculty member. From 2005 to 2014 she served as Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art, and from 2011 to 2014 also as Chair of the UNC-CH Faculty. Her influence on and contribution to our theatre’s outstanding work and reputation cannot be overstated. I am [one of] her number one fans—for life.

Thank YOU for being some of PlayMakers' number-one fans... but please, stick to subscriptions and donations.

Happy Halloween!




Betsy Blackwell

Patrick Brennan

Deborah Gerhardt

Susan Gross

Amy Guskiewicz

C. Hawkins

Zach Howell

Lillian Jenks

Duncan Lascelles

Stuart Lascelles

Robert Long, emeritus

Graig Meyer

Julie Morris

Paula Noell

Jodi Patalano

Diane Robertson

Wyndham Robertson

Jennifer Werner

Mike Wiley

Jackie Tanner Chair

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

We are so happy to have you in this space with us. What a fantastic first show we just had, and it finally feels like things are getting back to a ‘new’ normal. Whole areas of our lives went to ground during the pandemic, and like many, I have found that as we emerge and grow, we all hope that this has provided fertile soil for inspiration, allowing germination for seeds waiting under the surface for the right conditions to bloom into their full potential. What better way to explore a new normal than to inhabit a physical space together with living people who expertly give voice to both deeply intimate feelings and expansive philosophical questions.

This season brings us both the classical and the new together, a blend of wonderfully fresh perspective on established pieces of art and adaptations of great stories retold for the stage and fertile for this moment. I personally cannot wait to see what our own UNC alum, Bekah Brunstetter (and writer for NBC’s ‘This Is Us',) has conjured up in The Game from the seeds of the oldest Greek comedy, Lysistrata.

When we participate in this theatre, we are joining together in reseeding the past and growing from tradition rather than giving up on it entirely. PlayMakers’ roots run strong in the history of our great University and this state, as it strives to tell contemporary stories of community and foster the idea that expression through art allows us to mature, grow and reach for the stars.

I believe that there are some things only the arts can provide, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity PlayMakers affords us to witness the arts doing what only the arts can do. We hope you will continue to join us on our journey and support all that we do, both on stage and around the community. Share us on social media, bring your friends, donate - we appreciate your support.



was an Academy Award–winning author of screenplays, plays, memoirs, and novels. His first novel, The Temple of Gold (1957), was followed by the script for the Broadway army comedy Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole (1961). He went on to write the screenplays for many acclaimed films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the President’s Men (1976), for which he won two Academy Awards. He adapted his own novels for the hit movies Marathon Man (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987).

was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1971, he began teaching high school English classes at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co., accepted the novel Carrie for publication, providing him the means to leave teaching and write full-time.

He has since published over 50 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers. King is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to the American Letters and the 2014 National Medal of Arts.

Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities including many libraries and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.

William Goldman Read a Q&A Interview with William Goldman and Penguin Random House Stephen King photo by Shane Leonard

Staging Fear and Subjectifying the Femme Fatale: Notes for PlayMakers’ Production of Misery

How do you translate a classic movie thriller to the stage? The 1990 film adaptation of Misery starring Kathy Bates and James Caan was a big hit, even scoring a Best Actress Oscar for Bates. It had a dream team of creative contributors, starting with author Stephen King and his 1987 novel, then taken up by screenwriter William Goldman and director Rob Reiner.

Reiner was on the creative run of his career after directing such films as This is Spinal Tap (1984), Stand by Me (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), and When Harry Met Sally (1989). William Goldman’s scripts for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All The President’s Men (1976) had earned Oscars, while his Marathon Man (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987) had traumatized and charmed their respective audiences.

Stephen King, of course, is an institution. Successful film and TV adaptations of King’s work are too numerous to mention. There are the horror films, beginning with Carrie, and including The Shining, Cujo, Pet Sematary, It, and Children of the Corn. They also include more heartfelt stories such as Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, The Green Mile and The Dead Zone. It is hard to imagine film in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s without his direct contributions or his influence.

Stephen King’s work has seemed far less translatable to stage. Among his works, Misery stands out in the stage-ready economy of its central struggle and setting. Its focus is on a simple, sustained relationship with a shifting psychological dynamic, and this is prime material for the boards. So, in 2015, Goldman, who was also a playwright, collaborated with director Will Frears on mounting a Broadway stage adaptation.

Misery (1990) starring James Caan and Kathy Bates Movie poster for Carrie (1976)

Fear on Stage vs. Fear on Film

The film industry has become expert at provoking and sustaining our fear, from the haunting malignance of Nosferatu (1922) to the scarified social critique of Get Out (2016). The industry has discovered ready-to-go formulae to make audiences shudder: jump cuts that shock, camera angles that heighten suspense, soundscapes that creep and pounce. The Horror genre in film is a billion-dollar industry.

We don’t have anything quite like that in the theatre. The fear engendered in film is largely successful because of the control of the camera and the possibilities of post-production editing. That sort of precision is more difficult for a stage play. In the theatre, as we say, every night is different. And if a company manages a perfectly staged scene of horror, it might be angled to one seating section, while those in other seats might see the artifice or not see at all. And then, the effect might be diminished by a cough or the shuffling of a program, as someone looks to see who did the special effects.

Violence is another difficulty, and theatre has a checkered history with portraying violence. The Greeks tended to avoid onstage violence, as it shattered verisimilitude. Instead, they would have offstage screams, followed by the bloody remains being hauled onstage. In doing such, they engaged one of theatre’s central mechanisms—not spectacle or gore, but the ready canvas of audience imagination. In Shakespeare’s day, there was clearly a lot of swordplay, and the actors may have been well-trained in it, but the supernatural eeriness of MacBeth was more about psychology than spectacle. Of course, the Romans used actual violence in their paratheatricals in the coliseums, but one blushes to call that theatre.

Fear is the arousal of the expectation of danger in our imagination. We feel fear when we ourselves or those we love are put in danger, or rather, if we imagine they are...

Continue reading Program

Notes with the QR code.

Get Out (2016) Worldwide gross $255,745,157
Proud Sponsors of the PlayMakers Repertory Company 101 Erwin Road, Chapel Hill, NC 919.933.4848 ResidenceInnChapelHill.com Extended Stay Suites Chapel Hill SummitHospitality.com

The Business of Misery

As is the case with most dramaturgs (and human beings, generally), I have an impulse to make connections. I think the research that scaffolds those connections is important, even if I have come to a realization that the stage adaptation of Misery should be assessed and supported as a standalone work. Sure, it is necessary to acknowledge that the play occupies space in a greater Misery-verse, but many of my questions are concerned with how modality impacts storytelling. I think that Misery (2012) packs a greater punch on stage than serving as fall fanfare. I think that creating thrills on stage is a huge undertaking dependent on both performance and production to find that perfect balance. I appreciate that Misery, perhaps surprisingly, has prompted a greater dialogue about what theatre can do.

For many, Stephen King is a household name synonymous with the horror and thriller genres. King’s long-standing legacy as a giant in the industry of thrills, however, had humble beginnings. His early and challenging start as a writer began with relentlessly submitting short stories in hopes of being published while teaching high school English to support his family. In the winter of 1972, King got the idea for a short story about a girl with psychokinetic powers inspired by the story of a poltergeist in a suburban home. The resulting novel, Carrie (1974), became his first published work and launched a career spanning 30 widely successful novels and at least 60 film adaptations. Misery (1987), King’s twenty-third published novel, has been adapted successfully from page to screen, then once more to stage. The sheer number of film adaptations (many of which are highly successful) proves that King’s brand of thrills translates well through the cinematic lens, with Misery being no exception.

Misery, King’s twenty-third published novel, has been adapted successfully from page to screen and stage. William Goldman, screen writer and playwright, adapted King’s novel for the 1990 film adaptation, directed by Rob Reiner and starred James Caan and Kathy Bates, whose portrayal of Annie Wilkes earned her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Approximately twenty years later, Goldman authored the stage adaptation...

Continue reading the journal entry with the QR code.



by William Goldman

based on the novel by Stephen King

Directed by Jeffrey Meanza

Scenic Designer

McKay Coble

Lighting Designer

Tao Wang

Costume Designer Grier Coleman

Sound Designer & Composer

Kate Marvin

Fight, Violence, and Special Effects Choreographer

Jeff A.R. Jones

Tia James Dramaturg Mark Perry

Vocal Coach

Stage Manager

Sarah Smiley

Assistant Stage Manager Aspen Blake Jackson

October 11 - 31, 2023

MISERY is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York. Original Broadway production produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures in association with Castle Rock Entertainment, Liz Glot2er, Mark Kaufman, Martin Shafer, Raymond Wu World Premiere produced at Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director)

Special thanks to Stephan Hermanides and Stacy Strebel; Sean and Emily Callot for their contributions to this production.

The video or audio recording of this performance by any means is strictly prohibited.

The Professional Theatre of the Department of Dramatic Art

Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Chair

Vivienne Benesch, Producing Artistic Director

Produced in association with the College of Arts and Sciences

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Annie Wilkes ......................... Julia Gibson*

Paul Sheldon .......................... Karl Kenzler*

Buster ............................ Adam Valentine*

Stage Managers Sarah Smiley* Aspen Blake Jackson*

*Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Place: Silver Creek, Colorado, 1987

Misery is performed with a 15-minute intermission


Julia Gibson


PlayMakers: Resident company member in her 11th season. Native Gardens, Yoga Play, Native Son, How I Learned to Drive, Bewilderness, The Cake, Ragtime, My Fair Lady, She Loves Me, Twelfth Night, The Crucible, An Enemy of the People, Into the Woods, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Love Alone, Metamorphoses, The Tempest. Broadway: Stanley, Uncle Vanya, Night Mother. National Tour: The Exonerated. Off-Broadway: The Public, Shakespeare in the Park, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Roundabout, Classic Stage Company, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, Origin Theatre Company, Irish Rep, The Rattlestick, among others. Regional: The Alley, American Conservatory Theatre, The Goodman, The Long Wharf, Yale Rep., George Street, The Arden, Milwaukee Rep., Philadelphia Festival Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Chautauqua Theatre Company, and elsewhere. Film/TV: Michael Clayton, Changing Lanes. “Blue Bloods”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “Spin City”, “So Close”, and “One Life to Live”. Directing includes: Rattlestick, Epic Theatre Company, Gulfshore Playhouse, New London Barn, Portland Stage, Juilliard, and NYU. Education/Other: Currently co-head of the Professional Actor Training Program in the Department of Dramatic Art at UNC-Chapel Hill, Fox Fellowship recipient, and 2020 Carolina Women’s Center Faculty Scholar. Narrated over 175 audiobooks.

Karl Kenzler

Paul Sheldon

PlayMakers: Debut. Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof, You Can't Take It With You, Mary Poppins, Twelve Angry Men, The Caretaker, Dinner at Eight, The Heiress. New York

Includes: Twilight: Los Angeles (Signature); All Our Children (Sheen Center); Usual Girls (Roundabout); Three Wise Guys, Beyond Therapy (TACT); Clinton: The Musical! (NYMF); Peter & The Starcatcher (NYTW). TV Includes: “How To Fix A Drug Scandal”, “FBI: Most Wanted”, “The Blacklist”, “Blue Bloods”, “Madam Secretary”, “Suits”, “Mister Robot”, “House of Cards” (recurring), “Law & Order: SVU” (recurring), “Person of Interest”, “Made in Jersey”, “The Good Wife”, “Law & Order”, “Darwin: The Series”. Film: Irresistible (Jon Stewart, dir.). Regional Includes: Bucks County Playhouse, Denizen Theatre, Williamstown, Barrington Stage, Guthrie, Shakespeare Theater, Old Globe, and Chautauqua Theater Company. Training: University of Evansville (BFA), NYU Grad Acting (MFA). Awards: Lucille Lortel Award winner, Helen Hayes Award nominee. KarlKenzler.com


Adam Valentine Buster

PlayMakers: Company member in their third year of UNC's Professional Actor Training Program. Clyde's, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Hamlet, Emma, A Wrinkle in Time, The Skin of our Teeth. The Tempest (PlayMakers Mobile). Den Of Thieves, Gloria (PlayMakers/UNC Ground Floor).

Regional: Small Mouth Sounds (Cadence Theatre); The Tempest, The Heir Apparent (Richmond Shakespeare); The Curious Incident... (Virginia Rep); Hand To God, LEVEL 4, Heathers: The Musical (TheatreLAB); Maple & Vine, Stupid Kid (Firehouse Theatre). Education/Awards: Virginia Commonwealth University, B.A. 2021 RTCC Ernie

McClintock Best Ensemble Acting for Small Mouth Sounds.



See PlayMakers Leadership page.

McKay Coble

Scenic Designer

PlayMakers: Company member for over 30 years. Hamlet, The Skin of Our Teeth, Everybody, Bewilderness, Sherwood, Leaving Eden, Dot, My Fair Lady, Peter and the Starcatcher, An Enemy of the People, The Tempest / Metamorphoses, It’s a Wonderful Life, Red, Noises Off, The Parchman Hour, Big River, Nicholas Nickleby, Amadeus, The Little Prince, The Illusion, Cyrano, Not About Heroes, Playboy of the Western World, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Nutcracker, and many others. Broadway: Production Coordinator, Barbara Matera, Ltd.; La Cage Aux Folles, Big River, Sunday in the Park with George, Singin’ in the Rain, Merlin, Private Lives. Regional: Alley Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Virginia Stage Company. Film: The Cotton Club, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ghostbusters, Silkwood, Places in the Heart. Member of United Scenic Artists Local 829; NYC.

Grier Coleman

Costume Designer

PlayMakers: Julius Ceasar, Life of Galileo, Dot, The Crucible, Disgraced. Regional: Shows at Miami New Drama, Weston Playhouse, Virginia Theatre Festival, Shakespeare on the Sound, Virginia Stage Company, and Yale Repertory Theater. Educational Credits include sixteen seasons at The Juilliard School designing Drama, Dance, and Opera; NYU, Colombia, The New School, Washington College, Auburn University. BFA: University of NC-Chapel Hill; MFA: Yale School of Drama. United Scenic Artist 829. www.griercoleman.com

Tao Wang

Lighting Designer

PlayMakers: Resident company member in his first season.

Regional: UrbanArias Keegan Theatre, Hattiloo Theatre - Black Repertory Theatre, Taft Theatre, Corbett Theatre, MainStage Musical Theatre and Dance Company, Stauss Theatre. Events/ TV/ Shows: “Nanjing, Nanjing,”

The Universal Beijing Resort, Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony 2008 and Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai Opening Ceremony, Turandot in Paris, Beijing TV Virtural Reality Interactive


Showroom, USITT 2019 National Conference. Teaching: Assistant Professor and David and Rebecca Pardue Fellow, serving as a Media and Lighting Designer in the Department of Dramatic Arts at UNC, Chapel Hill. Proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829; NYC and USITT. www.wangtman.com/

Kate Marvin

Sound Designer & Composer

PlayMakers: The Legend of Georgia McBride, A Wrinkle in Time. Off Broadway/New York: Merry Me (New York Theatre Workshop); Big Trip (Krymov Lab, LaMama); The Best We Could (MTC); Wolf Play (MCC/Soho Rep); Heartland (59E59); Fidelio (Heartbeat Opera); Blood Meal (Theater in Quarantine); Wives (Playwrights Horizons); Fruiting Bodies (Ma-Yi); Chimpanzee (HERE Arts Center); Porto (WP Theater). Regional: McCarter Theatre Center, Berkeley Rep, Two River Theater, Northern Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Guthrie Theater, Alliance Theater, Mark Taper Forum, among others. Film: The Memory Trade (Handmade Puppet Dreams); Out of Office (NYS Puppet Festival); White Flags (AC Pictures). Education/Other: Kate is an associate artist with Target Margin Theater. MFA, Yale School of Drama.

Jeff A.R. Jones

Fight, Violence and Special Effects Choreographer

PlayMakers: Clyde's, Hamlet, Native Gardens, A Wrinkle in Time, Stick Fly, The Skin of Our Teeth, Leaving Eden. Regional: Beauty Queen of Lenane (Virginia Stage); Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Don Quixote, Dracula (Carolina Ballet); Carmen, Cold Mountain (NCOpera); Otello, Pagliacci, Romeo et Juliette (Virginia Opera); West Side Story (Illinois Opera). Nearly 200 credits including favorites Macbeth, King Lear, Titus Andronicus, Pericles, Henry IV, Part 1, The Rover, She Kills Monsters, Carrie, Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood, Sweeney Todd, Ragtime, Spring Awakening, Wild Party, Mr. Burns, a great big woolly mammoth thawing from the ice, Vinegar Tom, Cry Havoc, Hookman. Other: Certified Teacher, Fight Director, and Theatrical Firearms Instructor with the Society of American Fight Directors, Certified Intimacy Director with IDC. Owner/instructor: Collaborative Combat Movement Arts (weekly classes). Head Facilitator: Triangle Intimacy Lab. @jarjones Collaborative Combat Movement Arts @stagecombatacademync


Tia James

Vocal Coach

PlayMakers: Company member for four seasons. Actor: Clyde's, Hamlet, Blues for an Alabama Sky, A Wrinkle in Time, Julius Caesar, Native Son. Vocal coaching includes They Do Not Know Harlem, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Stick Fly, Ragtime, How I Learned to Drive, Life of Galileo, Bewilderness, She Loves Me, Skeleton Crew, Sherwood, Jump, Your Healing is Killing Me. Director: How I Learned What I Learned, As You Like It, Macbeth (PlayMakers Mobile), and Constellations (PlayMakers Ground Floor). Broadway: The Merchant of Venice. Off-Broadway / New York: The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare in the Park). Regional: Much Ado About Nothing (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Richard III (Allentown Shakespeare); Loving and Loving (Stella Adler Studios); Much Ado About Nothing (Two River Theatre); Civilization [All You Can Eat] (Woolly Mammoth Theater). Television: “Nurse Jackie,” “Treme.” Teaching / Coaching / Directing: UNC-Chapel Hill, NYU Graduate Acting, NYU Dance, Atlantic Acting School, Montclair University. Education/Awards: MFA NYU Tisch Graduate Acting Program, BFA Virginia Commonwealth University; Miller Voice Method Teacher Certification. Recipient of the 2014 NYU Graduate Acting Diversity Mentorship Scholarship, 2003 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship winner for Best Actor; 2019 Michael Chekhov/Zelda Fichandler Scholarship.

Mark Perry


PlayMakers: Company member for 15 seasons. Emma, Yoga Play, Everybody, How I Learned to Drive, Jump, The Cake, De Profundis, The Crucible, Trouble in Mind, Metamorphoses, Surviving Twin, A Raisin in the Sun, An Iliad, Noises Off, The Parchman Hour, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Little Prince. Mark teaches play analysis and playwriting in the Department of Dramatic Art. His plays The Will of Bernard Boynton and A New Dress for Mona have been produced in our Kenan Theatre, and both have been published by Drama Circle. In spring 2024, Mark will be directing Kenan Theatre Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, after teaching a course on the play this fall. Education/Other: MFA, Playwright’s Workshop, University of Iowa. Former recipient of NC Arts Council Literature Fellowship for Playwriting.


Sarah Smiley

Stage Manager

Sarah returns for the 2023/24 season, her 12th since 2005. She has worked with theatres, theme parks, and road houses in eight states and the U.K., including Tampa Playmakers, freeFall Theatre Company, Virginia Stage Company, Busch Gardens Tampa, the Alliance Theatre Company, 7 Stages, Gulfshore Playhouse, Shadowland Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, Wales, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, and has been active in USITT and the Stage Managers’ Association. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.

Aspen Blake Jackson Assistant Stage Manager

PlayMakers: Clyde's, They Do Not Know Harlem, Native Gardens. The Drowsy Chaperone, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Summer Youth Conservatory). Aspen graduated in May of 2019 with a BA in Vocal Performance and Dramatic Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill. During her undergraduate career, she was stage manager for shows such as Cendrillon, Dido and Aeneas, and The Pillowman. After graduating, Aspen completed an internship with the Walt Disney World Company and she worked as a production assistant for PlayMakers Repertory Company during their 19/20 and 21/22 seasons.


Milly S. Barranger

1937 - 2023

An author, educator and producer, longterm leader, and collaborator, Milly Barranger died on August 21st in New York with her daughter Heather and wife, Liz Woodman, by her side. Milly was the Alumni Distinguished Professor Emerita of Dramatic Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served concurrently as Chairwoman of the Department of Dramatic Art and Producing Director of PlayMakers Repertory Company during her storied tenure from 1982-1999.

In addition to her work with the Department and PlayMakers, Milly was a Dean Emerita of the College of Fellows of the American Theater. She served on the boards of the Paul Green Foundation, the National Theatre Conference and the League of Professional Theatre Women. She was instrumental in building the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art on UNC’s campus and impacted the lives of thousands of future theater artists and scholars.

A Note from Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch

Milly was a titan and a pioneer. The impact of what she made happen here at PlayMakers Repertory Company - and the unique relationship she cultivated between a professional theatre and the Department of Dramatic Art - cannot be overstated. She was a force, and PlayMakers would not be what it is today without her vision, bravery and determination. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't look at the portrait of her that hangs in our halls and contemplate the formidable shoulders on which I'm standing.


Vivienne Benesch

Producing Artistic Director

Vivienne is in her eighth full season as a company member and Producing Artistic Director at PlayMakers, where she has helmed productions of Hamlet, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Storyteller, Dairyland, Life of Galileo, Leaving Eden, The May Queen, Three Sisters, Love Alone, RED and In The Next Room. In her eight seasons with the theatre, she is particularly proud to have produced 12 world premieres and launched PlayMakers Mobile, a touring production aimed at reaching under-served audiences around the Triangle. For 12 seasons, she served as Artistic Director of the renowned Chautauqua Theater Company and Conservatory, presiding over the company's transformation into one of the country's best summer theatres and most competitive summer training programs. Vivienne directed both the world premiere of Noah Haidle’s Birthday Candles for Detroit Public Theatre and, in 2022, its Broadway production starring Debra Messing. She has also directed for the Folger Shakespeare Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination for best direction 2019), The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Trinity Repertory Company, NY Stage & Film, and Red Bull Theatre, among others. As an actress, Vivienne has worked on and offBroadway, in film and television, at many of the country’s most celebrated theatres, and received an Obie Award for her performance in Lee Blessing’s Going to St. Ives. Vivienne is a graduate of Brown University and NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. As an educator, she has directed for and served on the faculty of some of the nation’s foremost actor training programs, including The Juilliard School, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Professional Actor Training Program, Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program, and at her alma mater, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. She is the 2017 recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation.


Jeffrey Meanza

Associate Artistic Director

An actor, director and educator, Jeffrey Meanza has spent the last 15 years working at two of the country’s most celebrated regional theatres, overseeing the artistic, educational and community engagement efforts of the organizations. As a member of PlayMakers’ resident acting company, he has appeared in Hamlet, Angels in America, Into the Woods, Lisa Kron's Well, Amadeus, Assassins, and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, among others, and directed The Cake and The Legend of Georgia McBride. From 2015 to 2021, he served as the Guthrie Theater’s associate artistic director, overseeing the theater’s education and community engagement initiatives, the literary team, casting, and the theater’s professional training programs, as well as helping to guide the work on the Guthrie’s three stages. During his tenure, Meanza managed the expansion of educational programming to serve over 35,000 students annually, including creating an artist residency program that put full-time teaching artists in high school classrooms throughout Minnesota. In addition, under his leadership, the Guthrie piloted a new Fellowship program that offers paid training opportunities for emerging leaders to experience work at one of the nation’s leading regional theaters. In 2021, Meanza returned to PlayMakers Repertory Company as Associate Artistic Director, overseeing the theater's artistic, educational and engagement operations. He holds an M.F.A in Acting from the Professional Actor Training Program at UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Rolleri Production Manager

Michael is in his 37th season with PlayMakers Repertory Company. He has been Technical Director, Project Manager, Exhibition Technician, and Lighting Designer for industrial shows in the Southeast region, as well as lead carpenter for films, the U.S. Olympic Festival, and scenic studios. He has also been a rigger in the Southeast region and has served on the executive board and as President of IATSE Local 417. Michael is a 30-year Gold Pin member of IATSE. An active United States Institute For Theatre Technology (USITT) member, he is a three-time winner at USITT's Tech Expo. He is a full Professor/Head of the Technical Production Program at UNC-Chapel Hill and was an instructor at High Point University and Tufts University. Education: MFA in Design and Technical Production, UNC-Greensboro.




APRIL 10 – 28, 2024

A World Premiere

JANUARY 31 – FEBRUARY 18, 2024

Special Events

DEC 16 – 17, 2023


adapted by William Leach

based on the novel by Charles Dickens directed by Michael Perlman

MARCH 6 – 24, 2024

Ray Dooley's tour-de-force one-man reading of the classic tale returns for two performances only.

JAN 11 – 16, 2024


adapted by Ken Ludwig

based on the novel by Agatha Christie


with Jonny Donahoe directed by Tom Quaintence

An intimate performance that brings us together in celebration of the little things that make life worthwhile.

PlayMakers is...

“One of America’s Best Regional Theatres” (American Theatre Magazine), PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina’s premier professional theatre company, proudly in residence on the dynamic campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The professional company was founded in 1976, growing out of a storied 100-year tradition of playmaking at Carolina.

At the very heart of the PlayMakers experience is one of the nation’s last remaining resident theatre companies, made up of accomplished performers, directors, designers, artisans, and technicians, and supported by exceptional graduate students in UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art. Our company works side by side with guest artists from all over the world and our alumni include Pulitzer Prize, Tony®, Emmy®, and Grammy Award® winners.

Creating Tomorrow’s Classics, Today

Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch is continuing PlayMakers’ tradition of producing vibrantly reimagined classics, large-scale musical theatre, and significant contemporary work, but is also broadening the company’s reach to become a home for new play development and a true hub of social and civic discourse in the region. Her first seven seasons have already given life to twelve important new American plays.

A Hub of Engagement

PlayMakers seeks to provoke thought, stimulate discussion, and push the boundaries of the theatrical form in everything we do. Whether through our intimate @PLAY series, our mainstage offerings or our virtual line-up, we look for opportunities for direct, dynamic engagement between audiences, artists, and thinkers. We also offer a host of unique engagement opportunities designed to enrich our audience’s experience of the live arts.

Theatre for the People

PlayMakers Mobile is an initiative that seeks to contribute positively to the civic and social life of our region by taking world-class theatre out of our building and into the community. We create a streamlined production of a play and take it to schools, transitional housing facilities, and long-term treatment facilities around the Greater Triangle area. And best of all, it’s all free of charge.


Passing the Torch

PlayMakers’ award-winning Summer Youth Conservatory is the only professionally supported training program of its kind in the region. The Theatre Quest program provides camps to area middle school and high school students, while the Theatre Intensive and TheatreTech programs allow Triangle high schoolers to apprentice directly with professional directors, choreographers, musical directors, and technicians, culminating in a professional quality production on the PlayMakers mainstage for the whole community to enjoy.

Eliminating Barriers

With a commitment to eliminating barriers for attendance, PlayMakers offers All Access performances for our patrons living with disabilities. We also offer accessible $20 tickets for all performances and ticket prices are reduced to just $10 for UNC students. For more information, please contact prcboxoffice@ unc.edu.

Leaving Eden, 2018. Photo by HuthPhoto

Our Mission

PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina’s premier professional theatre company, proudly in residence on the dynamic campus of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Our mission is to produce relevant, courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives. We believe that theatre can have a transformational impact on individuals and entire communities, and we are committed to the journey of becoming an anti-racist organization whose work is accessible to all. Inextricably linked to UNC's Department of Dramatic Art, PlayMakers is devoted to nurturing and training future generations of artists and audiences.

Our Vision

Antiracism Accountability Statement

At the heart of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s mission is the belief that theatre has the power to transform individuals and entire communities. There is no more aspirational or urgent a use of that power than working to dismantle the systems of oppression, white supremacy, and racism that pervade American life and consume the American Theatre. PlayMakers continues to assess and evaluate our own practices in order to embed equitable, antiracist policies into strategic planning, our mission, and our operations.

PlayMakers Repertory Company, and those of us who work here, commit to the following:

• To work intentionally to create an antiracist culture in our company.

• To continually educate ourselves on the ways in which we can combat racism locally and nationally as we move to create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable sense of belonging for every one of our constituents.

• To demonstrate our values through action in our policies, practices, and procedures.

Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the Center for Dramatic Art is located on the unceded lands of one or more of Abiayala’s (the Americas’) original sovereign nations, the name(s) of which have not yet been affirmed. The unjust acquisition of these Indigenous lands came about through a history of racism, violence, dispossession, displacement, and erasure of cultures by settlers as part of the larger, land-centered project of settler colonialism.

As we look to the future, may we build upon the memories and goodwill of all who walked and labored here before us with truth, integrity and honor

Learn more: UNC American Indian Center americanindiancenter.unc.edu/

Provoke Represent Create
The Knott Private Wealth Management Group at Wells Fargo Advisors
Keith DaSilva, Private Wealth Financial Advisor and 2023 Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors are proud to support PlayMakers Repertory Company.

PlayMakers’ 2023/24 Season is Made Possible in Part by Grants from Foundation Support

National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, The Shubert Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Orange County Arts Commission, The Educational Foundation of America

Additional Funding for Guest Artists is Provided by Robert Boyer and Margaret Boyer Fund, Louise Lamont Fund, Emeriti Professors Charles and Shirley Weiss Fund

Producing Council

Residence Inn Chapel Hill, Larry's Coffee

Corporate Council

Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe, Knott Private Wealth Management Group at Wells Fargo Advisors


Linda's Bar and Grill, Glasshalfull, Infinium Spirits


PlayMakers Repertory Company is a program of the Department of Dramatic Art, The College of Arts and Sciences, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, recognizes PlayMakers as a professional theatre organization and provides grant assistance to this organization from funds appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. PlayMakers is a beneficiary of the Elizabeth Price Kenan Endowment and the Lillian Hughes Prince Endowment.

PlayMakers Repertory Company is a Member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre.

This Theatre operates under an agreement between the League Of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

The scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers in LORT Theatres are represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE.

The Director and Choreographer are members of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union.



Vivienne Benesch, Producing Artistic Director


Jeff Aguiar, Director of Engagement

Tracy Bersley, Movement Coach/Choreographer

Chelsea James, Producing Associate

Tia James, Vocal Coach

Gregory Kable, Dramaturg

Jacqueline E. Lawton, Dramaturg

Jeffrey Meanza, Associate Artistic Director

Mark Perry, Dramaturg

Gwendolyn Schwinke, Vocal Coach

Lexi Silva, Dramaturgy Fellow

Sarah Tackett, Administrative Operations Associate

Adam Versényi, Dramaturg


Matara Hitchcock, Company & Events Manager

Kate Jones, General Manager

Lisa Geeslin, Accountant

Maura Murphy, Director of Operations

Erica Bass, Alexis R. Steele-Kubuanu, Dani Elliott, Ella Hawn, Sage Howard, Sarajane Carty, Nathaniel Kareis, Work Studies


Kymberly Burkhead-Dalton, Dir. of Development

Kyle Kostenko, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

Lenore Field, Gala Coordinator

Marketing & Audience Services

Hannah LaMarlowe, Marketing Specialist

Thomas Porter, Box Office Manager

Rosalie Preston, Associate Director of Marketing

Lauren Van Hemert, Marketing Consultant

Kori Yelverton, Audience Services Associate

Jenna Zottoli, Audience Services Associate

Lucy Albanil-Rangel, Michelle Seucan, Marketing Work Studies

Ava Lytle, Cora Willis, Student House Managers

Ayriana Agard, Swetha Anand, Albert Carlson, Lynlee Collins, Kali Dao, Tygia Drewhowell, Evan Jeppson, Gali Jones-Valdez, Lindsey Kanipe, Micah Kennel, Lex Lankford, Alicia Norman, Leah Page, Morgan Perry, Asher Pierce, Sophie Taylor, Maggie Thornton, Izzy Twiss, Ava Wells, Ava West, August Williams, Nicholas Williams, Box Office and Front of House Work Studies

Department of Dramatic Art

Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Chair and Associate Professor


Milly Barranger, Professor Emerita

Vivienne Benesch, Professor of the Practice

Tracy Bersley, Associate Professor

Pamela Bond, Assistant Professor

Jan Chambers, Professor

McKay Coble, Professor

Jeffrey Blair Cornell, Associate Chair, Teaching Prof.

Ray Dooley, Professor Emeritus

Samuel Ray Gates, Assistant Professor

Julia Gibson, Associate Professor

David Hammond, Professor Emeritus

Letitia James, Assistant Professor

Gregory Kable, Teaching Professor

Jacqueline E. Lawton, Associate Professor

Matthew Mallard, Teaching Assistant Professor

Adam Maxfield, Teaching Professor

Triffin Morris, Professor of the Practice

David Navalinsky, Professor

Bobbi Owen, Distinguished Professor Emerita

Laura Pates, Teaching Assistant Professor

Kathy Perkins, Professor Emerita

Mark Perry, Teaching Associate Professor

Rachel E. Pollock, Teaching Assistant Professor

Michael Rolleri, Professor

Gwendolyn Schwinke, Assistant Professor

Lexi Silva, Dramaturgy Fellow

Aubrey Snowden, Teaching Assistant Professor

Craig Turner, Professor Emeritus

Adam Versényi, Professor

Tao Wang, Assistant Professor


Lucas Branch, KTC Technical Director

Victoria Danielik, Program Assistant

Lisa Geeslin, Accounting Technician

Taylor McDaniel, Student Services Manager

Karen Rolleri, Business Coordinator

Jamie Strickland, University Manager



Michael Rolleri, Production Manager


Amy Evans, Costume Shop Manager

Marissa Lupkas, Wardrobe Supervisor

Matthew Mallard, Assistant Costume Director

Triffin Morris, Costume Director

Rachel Pollock, Costume Craftsperson

Costume Production Graduate Students:

Matty Blatt, Jocelyn Chatman, Jillian Gregory, Emma

Holyst, Jessica Land, Zachary Morrison, Sally Rath

Madeline Gibson, Clara "Hock" Hockenberry, Undergraduate Assistants

Bao-Nhi Vu, Costume Lab Assistant

Katherine Craig, Costume Department Assistant

Natasha Harm, Wardrobe Assistant

Georgia Wood, Costume Stock Assistant

Arcadia Hiton, Costume Clerical Assistant

Amanda Tenzlinger, Costar Vintage Archivist


Benjamin Bosch, Electrics Supervisor

Nick Rodgers, Production Swing for Lighting & Sound

Xiuping Xiong, Lighting Assistant

Alex Mitropoulos, Work Study


Lauren Reinhartsen, Properties Supervisor

Emma Madison, Props Artisan

Rebecca Xhajanka, Props Artisan

Marissa Romano, Props Undergraduate Assistant

Lydia McRoy, Cami Crocker, Evan Wilker, Work Studies

Stage Management

Aspen Blake Jackson, Stage Manager

Sarah Smiley, Stage Manager

Zoë Lord, Production Assistant


David Bost, Sound Supervisor

Andrew Fleming, Sound Undergraduate Assistant

Nubia Orellana, Jace Rea, Word Studies


Brandon "Bruce" Hearrell, Production Carpenter

Adam Maxfield, Technical Director

Laura Pates, Technical Director

Diane Zimmerman, Scenic Charge Artist

Technical Production Graduate Students:

Rachel Van Namen, Joel Ernst, Benjamin Fink, Roark

Kaitlin Mcguire, Kee Meh, Chyna Wiles, Veta "Koa" Torres, Scenic Painting Work Studies

Beatrice Sangangbayan, Connor Gould, Heather Robinson, Jake Docherty, Yessenia Estrada-Zerhoudi, Carpentry Work Studies

PlayMakers’ Resident Acting Company

Jeffrey Blair Cornell

Kathryn Hunter-Williams

Samuel Ray Gates

Tia James

Julia Gibson

Gwendolyn Schwinke

Professional Actor Training Program:

Reez Bailey, Hayley Cartee, Matthew Donahue, Elizabeth Dye, Heinley Gaspard, Jadah Johnson, Jamar Jones, Nate John Mark, Saleemah Sharpe, Sanjana Taskar, Adam Valentine, Mengwe Wapimewah

For this Production

Alice Knight, Assistant Director

Saleemah Sharpe, Assistant Director

Lexi Silva, Dramaturgy Fellow and Associate Dramaturg

Adam Maxfield, Production Technical Director

Laura Pates, Production Assistant Technical Director

Brandon “Bruce” Hearrell, Shop Lead

Amy Evans, Assistant to the Costume Designer

Jocelyn Chatman, Draper

Jillian Gregory, Jessica Land, First Hands

Zachary Morrison, Sally Rath, Stitchers

Matty Blatt, Production Costume Shop Manager

Emma Holyst, Production Crafts Supervisor

31 OUR 23/24 COMPANY


PlayMakers Repertory Company is a nonprofit theatre. We rely on the generosity of our community to continue delivering the Broadway-quality theatre you love. If you believe in the transformative power of theatre as much as we do, please consider making a taxdeductible donation to help theatre thrive.

You can help support and sustain all our work, both on stage and off, by making a tax-deductible gift which enables us to:

• Bring innovative, entertaining, and relevant theatre to the Triangle

• Serve students across the state through our award-winning educational programs

• Engage with our audiences through artist and community conversations

• Remain flexible, safe, and better prepared for the future

Every gift, big or small, makes a huge difference!

Ways to Give


Phone or Email

Kymberly Burkhead-Dalton




Send your check to:

Kymberly Burkhead-Dalton

PlayMakers Repertory Company

Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art

CB 3235

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3235


PlayMakers is grateful to the members of the Friends of PlayMakers for their generous support. For more information about how to join this dynamic group of supporters, call Director of Development Kymberly Burkhead-Dalton at 919.962.4846 or visit us at playmakersrep.org.

Director’s Circle ($10,000+)


Susan Arrington

Betsy Blackwell and John Watson Jr. *

Munroe and Becky Cobey

Farley Fisher Charitable Gift Trust

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

David G. Frey ~

Joanne and Peter Garrett

Joan Gillings ~

The Charles Goren and Hazen Family

Foundation, Trustees Tom and Lisa Hazen

The Estate of Linda K. Griffin

Susan and Dustin Gross*

Garrett Hall and Zachary Howell*

T. Chandler and Monie Hardwick

Brian Hargrove and David Hyde Pierce

Mrs. Frank H. Kenan ~

Thomas S. Kenan III *

Paula Noell and Palmer Page*

Wyndham Robertson *

Coleman and Carol Ross

Schwab Charitable

Shubert Foundation

Ken Smith

Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program

Alan H. Weinhouse

Angel ($5,000–9,999)


Patrick Brennan and Lillian Jenks*

Linda and Cliff Butler*

Jan and Stephen Capps

Thomas and Holly Carr

Keith DaSilva of the Knott Private Wealth

Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors*

The Educational Foundation of America

Mr. and Mrs. Matt Hapgood

Sumeetha and Tanner Hock

Kim Kwok

Prentice Foundation

John Powell*

Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund

Rivers Agency, LLC*

David and Jenny Routh

Jackie Tanner*

Jennifer Werner-Cannizzaro and Thomas Cannizzaro

Ford and Allison Worthy

Jim and Bonnie Yankaskas

Investor ($2,500–4,999)

Richard and Deirdre Arnold ^

Andrew and Katherine Asaro ^

Vivienne Benesch

Charities Aid Foundation of America

Evan and Erin Gwyn

Susan E. Hartley

Stacy and Chris Hovey

Susan J. Kelly

Knack Technologies

Duncan and Stuart Lascelles

Nick and Amy Penwarden

Suzanne and Charles Plambeck

Samyr Qureshi

Dr. and Mrs. Edward Smithwick

Roger and Marlene Werner

Louise and Derek Winstanly

Katie Woodbury

Page to Stage ($1,500–2,499)

David and Judy Adamson

Steve Benezra ^

Dr. Stephen Shaw Birdsall

Ed and Eleanor Burke ^

Cindy and Thomas Cook

Dr. Steven Dalton and Mrs. Kymberly



The Rich and Tracy Harris Fund of Triangle Community Foundation

Carol Hazard and Winston Liao

David J. Howell

Hugon Karwowski and Joanna Karwowska ^

Dr. Moyra Kileff and Mr. Brian Kileff

Dr. Catherine Kuhn and Glenn Tortorici

Mark & Bette Morris Family Foundation

Mark and Julie Morris

Paul and Linda Naylor

Bettina Patterson

RR Donnelley

Carole L. Shelby

Dr. William L. Stewart

The Rev. Wendy R. and W. Riley Waugh

Michael Weil and Peggy Link-Weil

Jenny and Julian Wiles

Partner ($1,000–1,499)

Anonymous (4)

Michael and Marie Andreasen

Jeremy Arkin and Marian Fragola

Dane Barnes

Anna and Amir Barzin

Dr. Stanley Warren Black, III

Peggy Britt

Liz Carroll Interiors

Joan Clendenin

Bill Cobb and Gail Perry

Dr. Carrie Donley and W.P. Gale ^

Cauveh Erami

Dr. and Mrs. John P. Evans

Rachelle Feldman and Paul Raczynski

John and Diane Formy-Duval

Julia and William Grumbles

Jim and Debra Lampley

Lauren G. Leve and Jonathan Fleener

Jack Knight and Margaret Brown

Katie Kosma

Shirley and Tom Kunkel

Douglas MacLean and Susan Wolf

Elaine Mangrum and Michael Freedberg

Marconi Hoban Tell Fund

John and Alice May

Holly and Ross McKinney

David E. Price

Jean and Joseph Ritok

David B. Sontag

Karen Sisson and Andrew Levine

Scott Taylor

Triangle Community Foundation

Paul and Sally Wright

David and Heather Yeowell

Backer ($500–999)

Anonymous (3)

Elisabeth Allore, in memory of John Allore

Pete and Hannah Andrews

Dr. Thomas C. Apostle and Sharon E. Lawrence-Apostle

Deborah Barrett and Charles Kurzman

Adam C. Beck ^

John W. Becton and Nancy B. Tannenbaum

Shula and Stephen Bernard

Patricia Beyle

Ann and John Campbell

Philip and Linda Carl

Sam and Michelle Crittenden

Anne and Alexander Dusek

Bob and Connie Eby

Randi Emerman

Thorsten A. Fjellstedt

Mrs. Linda Whitham Folda and Dr. Jaroslav

Alison Friedman

James P. Gogan ^

Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Greenwood

Elizabeth Grey

Janet and D. Scott Guthmiller

Toby and Cheryl Harrell

C. Hawkins ^

Mr. and Mrs. David L. Henson

Don and Kay Hobart

Michael Maness and Lois Knauff

Anand and Sandhya Lagoo

K.A. and Carol Lawrence

Nelda and Douglas Lay

Dr. and Mrs. Morton D. Malkin

Ed and Connie McCraw

Amy McEntee

Laurie E. McNeil and Patrick W. Wallace

Jeanne and Herbert Miller

Dr. James C. and Dr. Susan D. Moeser

Betsy and Jefferson Newton


Linda W. Norris

Pat and Mary Norris Oglesby

Lois P. Oliver

David and Mary Ollila

Sarah Owens

Ariana Pancaldo and Michael Salemi

Louis and Jodi Patalano

Mark and Eugenea Pollock

Jodi and Glenn Preminger

Elizabeth Raft

Vikram and Susan Rao

Lucy and Sidney Smith

Dr. William W. Smith and Brenda W. Kirby

Tim and Judy Taft

T. Rowe Price Program for Charitable Giving

U. S. Charitable Gift Trust

Wegmans Chapel Hill

This list is current as of September 1, 2023. If your name is listed incorrectly or not at all, please contact PlayMakers Development Office at 919.962.4846. We will ensure you are recognized for your thoughtful support.

* PlayMakers Gala Sponsor

~ Deceased


^ Sustainers Club Member
your gift today!

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