Skip to main content
From left, Rasool Jahan as Esther and Kathryn Hunter-Williams as Mrs. Dickson in "Intimate Apparel." (photo by Jon Gardiner)
From left, Rasool Jahan as Esther and Kathryn Hunter-Williams as Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel. (photo by Jon Gardiner)


PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, as part of its main-stage season. Winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and the Outer Critics Circle awards, this quietly beautiful story explores the struggle of finding intimacy and purpose while chasing your dreams. The show runs Jan. 25-Feb. 12.

Intimate Apparel tells the story of Esther, a middle‐aged African‐American seamstress in 1900s New York, who sews intimates for high society and fallen women alike. Esther’s quest for independence, love and respect reveals to us a world where the cut of one’s clothes and the color of one’s skin determine what you can be and who you can marry.

With a small cast of colorful characters representing the tapestry of immigrants and outsiders who struggled to make a new life in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century‐‐ and set against a backdrop of visually stunning costumes‐‐ the play asks us to examine our definitions of intimacy and whether it’s possible to see beneath the finery to create real relationships.

“This is such a profoundly elegant and beautiful play, both visually and in how it portrays one woman’s determination to find love and connection despite facing challenges that would fell most of the rest of us,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director. “This is a universal story of love found, love lost and the tenacity of the human spirit. Audiences will go on a heart wrenching and heartfelt journey with these characters and have the best kind of live theater experience — one that leaves its mark on you emotionally and intellectually.”

“When Vivienne asked me to return to PlayMakers to direct ’Intimate Apparel,’ I immediately said yes. The play captures a moment of history that was important to me to tell,” said Raelle Myrick‐Hodges, who is returning for her fifth time as director at PlayMakers Repertory Company. “I wanted to celebrate Esther and her determination to make her dreams come true. It shouldn’t matter that she’s brown, or that she’s a woman, but unfortunately in 1905 it did. I want everyone coming to this play to ask themselves: what are we all doing to make sure it doesn’t matter?”

From left, Rasool Jahan as Esther and Myles Bullock as George in "Intimate Apparel." (photo by Jon Gardiner)
From left, Rasool Jahan as Esther and Myles Bullock as George in Intimate Apparel. (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Returning to PlayMakers to play the role of Esther is the Triangle area’s own Rasool Jahan, recently on stage in Disgraced at PlayMakers and Wit at The Justice Theater Project. The cast also includes PlayMakers resident company member Kathryn Hunter­-Williams as Mrs. Dickson (credits include A Raisin in the Sun and Trouble in Mind at PlayMakers), and members of the Professional Actor Training Program at UNC‐Chapel Hill, Allison Altman as Mrs. Van Buren (credits include The Crucible at PlayMakers and In The Next Room at Chautauqua Theater Company), Myles Bullock as George (credits include Detroit ‘67 at PlayMakers and Fool for Love at The Attic Theatre), Benjamin Curns as Mr. Marks (stage credits include Disgraced at PlayMakers Richard III at American Shakespeare Center, and film credits include Jew of Malta), and Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Mayme (recently seen in PlayMakers’ The Crucible).

The Creative Team of “Intimate Apparel” includes: Raelle Myrick­-Hodges (Director), Junghyun Georgia Lee (Scenic Designer),, Xavier Pierce (Lighting Designer), Anna Warda Alex (Sound Designer), Jacqueline E. Lawton (Dramaturg), Blake Segal (Voice Coach), Charles K. Bayang (Stage Manager) and Hannah­Jean Farris (Assistant Stage Manager).

“Intimate Apparel” marks Costume Designer Bobbi Owen’s 50th production with PlayMakers. This play is recommended for audiences 14 and older.

About PlayMakers:

PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, and North Carolina’s premier resident theater company for more than 40 years. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America”.

Performance Schedule:

Intimate Apparel takes the stage at the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramaĕc Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, plus 2 p.m. on Saturdays, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11. Previews: Jan. 25‐27. Opening Night & Press Opening Night: Jan. 28.

For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit Individual ticket prices for Intimate Apparel start at $10 for students with ID and $15 for non‐students.

Rasool Jahan as Esther and Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Mayme. (photo by Lynn Nottage)
Rasool Jahan as Esther and Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Mayme. (photo by Lynn Nottage)

Special events:

  • January 18 , 6:30 m., Paul Green Theatre — “The Vision Series—Directors in Conversation,” a behind‐the‐scenes preview with members of the creative team, moderated by Director of Education and Outreach Jenny Wales. The event is free and open to the public. Enjoy coffee and hors d’oeuvres, learn about the vision for the show, and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated, call the Box Office at 919.962.7529. Members of the  media are invited to cover the Vision Series. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call 919.962.6997.
  • January 25­-27, 7:30 m. — Preview performances
  • January 28, 7:30 m. — Opening Night & Press Opening
  • January 31, 7:30 m. — All‐access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description
  • January 31, 7:30 m. — Community Night at PlayMakers. General admission seating, with all tickets $15 ($10 for students with ID)
  • February 1 & 5, 2:00 m. — Free post‐show discussions with members of the artistic staff
  • February 7, 7:30 m. — Open captioned performance, with dialog, stage direction, and sound effects communicated on a “universal access” live caption unit

Production of Intimate Apparel is co­sponsored by Women’s Point of View (WPOV), a new arts leadership council.

Comments are closed.