2021 - 2022 Season
By Jacqueline E. Lawton
Directed by Keyanna Alexander
November 11th - 15th, 2021
Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy’s classic take about love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Keeping with the rich, complex, and masterful cultural setting, Anna K is set in Paris during the 1920’s, at a time when Black artists fled America to the city of lights, love and opportunity and the DADA movement swept through Europe in response to WWI. This bold, provocative and lyrical adaptation follows Anna as she struggles to leave a loveless marriage and her young adoring son so that she might achieve a successful career and embrace the love of her life, only to face her painfully, tragic demise. It also follows Levin, an awkward, self-deprecating though highly skilled and talented DADA artist, who journeys to Paris in search of love, acceptance, and artistic recognition.
Welcome to KTC’s production of Anna K by Associate Professor Jacqueline E. Lawton. You will notice that this production will have two actresses performing the role of Anna. I wanted to take a moment to explain how we got here.
Originally, the play was written for Anna to be mixed-race white and Black woman. However, during our rehearsal process, we learned that our lead actress was a mixed race white and Indian (Gujarati) woman. After a conversation with the director and the actress, Professor Lawton felt as though she could do a revision that would center the story on a mixed-race Indian character, and still maintain the integrity of the script.
With the revision of the script as an option, the KTC board met with the company and Professor Lawton to discuss how to proceed. We all felt that continuing the production with the role of Anna double cast was the best course of action and would create a truly inclusive experience. While we did not intend to arrive at this moment, we have taken great care in our decision, and we hope that you enjoy the play that we’ve created.
As an educational theatre, KTC is determined to use this experience to improve, grow, and develop best practices around casting. I am incredibly proud of my students and how they handled this difficult situation, I am also very grateful to Jacqueline for her thoughtfulness, support, and flexibility. In support of this production, we will have a symposium prior to the Saturday performance discussing Race and Representation in the American Theatre. This symposium will be facilitated by Professor Lawton.
Director of Undergraduate Productions
Warning: This play explores themes of racism, discrimination, suicide, and suicidal ideation which some may find distressing.
Keyanna Alexander (she/her) is a North Carolina based director, playwright, and theatre administrator. She currently serves as the Shay Wafer Arts Administrator Fellow, Unlock Creative, the Technical Director of MOJOAA Performing Arts Company, and a Founding Member of Femme Noir, a Black Femme affinty group. She discusses the intersection of artistry and activism on her YouTube Channel Theatre’s NOT Dead with Keyanna Alexander.
Anna: Jazzy Parker (she/her)
Jazzy is a freshman here at UNC and is super excited to be playing Anna alongside Talyah. She has loved working with all of the amazing actors and crew for this show and is very excited to keep having new theatre experiences at UNC.
Anna: Talyah Rawls (she/her)
Talyah Rawls is a sophomore at Chapel Hill and is thrilled to be in her first production with KTC! She has also performed in Laundry with Lab! Theatre and Another Thompson Family Road Trip with UNC Pauper Players. When not performing or thinking about musical theatre, you can find Talyah reading, writing, spontaneously breaking into song and/or dance, or maintaining her title as champion Disney Plus binger. Talyah would like to thank her family for always, always supporting her artistic endeavors even if that means driving all the way to North Carolina to come see her. Enjoy the show!
Vronsky: Ben Ketchum
Ben is a junior from Jacksonville, Florida. He is studying Dramatic Arts and Economics, and is also in the Writing for the Screen and Stage program. Apart from his involvement with KTC, he also makes content with the Carolina Film Association and UNC Student Television. Ben is really excited to be back in the theatre.
Karnine: Winston Conrad
Stiva: Nate Proctor (he/him)
Nate Proctor is a Junior at UNC, majoring in Dramatic Art and Communications with a concentration in Media and Production Studies. Additionally, he is seeking a minor in Writing for the Screen & Stage, as he avidly enjoys drafting screenplays during his free time. Throughout his childhood, Nate performed in over twenty musicals with a local community theater in Richmond, Virginia, where he fell in love with acting. This is Nate’s first non-musical play which is an exciting challenge for him. He’d like to thank the entire production staff as well as the Department of Dramatic Art for this wonderful opportunity. He hopes you enjoy the show.
Betsy: Zoe Matney
Dolly: Julia Finke
Julia is a sophomore from Norfolk, Virginia double majoring in Dramatic Arts and Film Studies. Previous UNC credits include Alice in Escaped Alone with Company Carolina and 395 in Laundry with LAB! Theatre. She also serves as the Production Manager of Events with LAB!. This is her first production with KTC and could not be more excited for the opportunity! RIP Tolstoy.
Kitty: Irene Denniston
Irene is a freshman at UNC pursuing a double major in History and Dramatic Art. She has performed in several plays and musicals back home in Maryland, but this is her first performance at UNC Chapel Hill and first live performance since before the pandemic. She’s been thrilled to be back on stage and connect with the incredibly supportive and talented cast and crew!
Levin: Jade Johnson
Ensemble: Caroline Carvalho Marques (she/her)
Caroline is a sophomore studying Global Studies and Dramatic Arts with a minor in Spanish. Caroline is originally from Brazil and has been involved in theatre since she was 12. Anna K. is her first production for the Kenan Theatre Company and she hopes you enjoy the show!
Ensemble: Hannah Whittington
Ensemble: Ashley Marshall
Ensemble: Carissa Wadsack-Stewart
Carissa Wadsack-Stewart is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Dramatic Art. This is Carissa’s third show with KTC. Carissa has been involved in theatre for as long as she can remember. She is so excited to be doing her first in-person show at UNC.
Playwright: Jacqueline E. Lawton (she/her)
Jacqueline E. Lawton is a playwright, dramaturg, producer, and advocate for Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the American Theatre. Her plays include: Among These Wild Things; Anna K; Blackbirds; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; Edges of Time; The Hampton Years; The Inferior Sex, Intelligence; Love Brothers Serenade; Mad Breed; and Noms de Guerre. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She is a 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color award recipient and a National New Play Network (NNPN) Playwright Alum as well as a member of Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena and Center Stage’s Playwrights Collective. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America. She is an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Art and a production dramaturg with PlayMakers Repertory Company. She is also a co-director of Southern Futures.
Technical Director: Jordan Clodfelter
Jordan Clodfelter (she/her) is so excited to be a part of the Kenan Theatre Company as the new Technical Director. She recently graduated from Meredith College, earning her BA in Theatre. Some of her past tech credits include being the assistant scenic artist for Temple Theatre’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, as well as filling the roles of stage manager, scenic painter, and technical director at Meredith College. Jordan also enjoys being on stage; her most recent credits being Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and JoAnne in the musical Company at Meredith College.
Producer: Tiffany Melenzio
Tiffany Melenzio (Producer) is a third-year Dramatic Art and Psychology double major. They are thrilled to produce their first show with KTC! Favorite performance credits include Rocky in Rocky Horror Picture Show (Pauper Players), Gwen in The Inferior Sex (KTC), and Riley in Black Girl, Interrupted (BATC). They would like to thank their sister Alyssa for being their backbone. They would also like to thank Dave Navalinsky for all of his support, truly. They sincerely thank the cast, crew, and production team for all of their hard work– this could not have happened without any of you!
Producer: Baker Franklin
Baker is a senior double majoring in Dramatic Art and Ancient History, he also has a minor in Geography. He has been involved with the Kenan Theatre company since his Sophomore year and has acted in “By The Way Meet Vera Stark”, been the assistant costume designer in “Indeed Friend” and produced a virtual production of “The Inferior Sex”. He is thrilled to be producing his first in person show with “Anna K” and will also be sound designing for “Kemps” in the Spring. Baker is also a member of the Kenan Theatre board and has a passion for the arts and theatre. Baker would like to thank the design team for their hard work and patience throughout the process.
Stage Manager: Em Sallade
Em Sallade is a senior, majoring in Psychology and Women’s Studies. They have been involved with KTC for 4 years, and would like to thank the company for so many opportunities for growth, both as a participant in theatre production and as a person. Em would like to thank their mom and sister for being incredibly supportive of all of their decisions, their roommate for picking up slack on housework during this production, and they would to apologize to their dog for being out doing theatre work every night. They would also like to thank KTC for the opportunity to stage manage Anna K as their last big project before graduation.
Assistant Stage Manager: Kathryn Robinson
Kathryn Robinson is a freshman at UNC majoring in Statistics & Analytics. She is excited to be working on her first production at UNC and be apart of the incredible tech and production team for this show. She’s grateful for the opportunity to help bring the show to life!
Assistant Stage Manager: Madeline Agner
Madeline Agner (she/her) is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill double majoring in Media and Journalism and English and Comparative Literature with an interest in the book publishing industry. She is currently a publicity intern at Tom Doherty Associates! Madeline played the role of Jenny in Kenan Theatre Company’s production of The Virtuous Fall of the Girls of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Fall 2020 season. Anna K is Madeline’s second production with Kenan Theatre Company and her first production as a member of the stage management team. She is very grateful to work with this talented cast and crew!
Master Electrician: Elizabeth Redding (she/her)
Elizabeth Redding (Lighting Designer) is a junior studying Chemistry and Dramatic Art. She is excited to be back at KTC after Stage Managing “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” and the “One Acts Festival.” She would like thank Dave Navalinsky for showing her the ropes of lighting design and Bronwyn White for her incredible ideas and input!
Lighting Assistant: Bronwyn White
Bronwyn is currently an undergraduate sophomore Dramatic Arts Major who hopes to pursue professional stage lighting design in the future. She has worked on theatre productions in various settings in the past but was thrilled to call this show her first with Kenan Theatre Company. She would love to send out a thank you to the show’s director Keyanna and to everyone else on the production team for the astounding amount of work they have put into making this show possible and to Elizabeth Redding for being the mastermind behind the show’s lighting design and wonderful to work with.
Sound Designer: Alex West
Alex is a freshman at UNC and is currently trying to cover all her bases in the tech world. Learning about sound design has been the highlight of her first semester and she can’t wait to work on future productions! She would like to thank Mr. Navalinsky for offering them this opportunity. A big thanks also goes to Brandon Reed for teaching her everything she knows about sound!!
Sound Support: Nijal Morgan
Nijal is a 23 yr old returning student looking to get involved with the theatre. He is a Philosophy major and likes long walks down the middle of the street. He’s just here for the ride.
Set Designer: Cori Lavergne
Cori is a junior Dramatic Art and Anthropology double major with a minor in Folklore. She previously designed the set for KTC’s production of Indeed, Friend! as well as virtual backgrounds for Virtuous Fall. She is so excited to be back scenic painting for Playmakers Repertory Company and Kenan Theatre Company, and she hopes you come see KTC’s production of Urinetown in the spring!
Costume Designer: Biz Hillenbrand (she/her)
Biz is a junior Dramatic Arts major at UNC, and this is her third production with KTC. Past credits include assistant costume designer for By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and producer for Marisol. Biz is incredibly excited to be doing theatre in person again, and looks forward to sound designing Urinetown in the spring.