The 22nd season of North Carolina's PlayMaker's Repertory Company will be varied one, with a Shakespearean frolic, a psychological drama, a socio-political romance, a satirical musical -- and a singing lesson.
Opening the season Sept. 13 is Shakespeare's As You Like It, a pastoral tale directed by Tazewell Thompson, who helmed last year's Cymbeline and is former artistic director of Syracuse Stage. The show began previews Sept. 10 and runs to Oct. 5.
Starring in As You Like It are Ryan Artzberger (Orlando), Kim Awon (Rosalind), Anderson Matthew (Touchstone) and Kate Rigg (Phoebe), alnogside David Adamson, Ray Dooley and Julie Fisher. Designing the show are Donald Eastman (sets), McKay Coble (costumes), Matthew Frey (lighting) and Fabian Obispo (sound). Julie Arenal choreographs the dance sequences.
Skylight, David Hare's tale of an old romance rekindled and then curdled by politics and social standing, runs Oct. 15 - Nov. 9. John Rando, who has worked at NY's Pearl Theatre, directs. Starring in this British drama are American actors Frank Converse, Kate Forbes and Matthew Greer. Converse, a Broadway veteran (Philadelphia Story, A Streetcar Named Desire) also starred in TV's "Movin' On." Forbes appeared in two shows at the National Actors Theatre on Broadway: Inherit The Wind and School For Scandal. Greer's credits include Lincoln Center's A Fair Country.
Terrence McNally's Tony-winning Master Class follows, Feb. 4 - March 1, 1998. The aforementioned Thompson directs this look at imperious voice teacher Maria Callas, a legend on the opera stage, a wreck in her romantic life. March 11-April 5, 1998 brings the Off-Broadway hit, Mrs. Klein to PlayMakers. Set in 1934, Nicholas Wright's drama shows pioneer child psychologist Melanie Klein and the effect her methods had on her own daughter.
Ending the basic subscription season will be The Threepenny Opera, April 15 - May 10, 1998. With book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill, Opera has been a major influence on musical theatre since its 1928 debut in Berlin. Author Brecht would have been 100 years old in 1998.
In addition to the five new plays this season, PlayMakers Rep will bring back the family holiday show, The Nutcracker: A Play by David Hammond, based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann. (Runs Nov. 28 - Dec. 21.)
PlayMakers Rep is housed at the Paul Green Theatre on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Milly S. Barranger serves as producing director of the Equity theatre.
For tickets (subscriptions start at $60) and information on shows at Playmakers Repertory Company call (919) 962-7529.
--By David Lefkowitz