The Christmas Case of Hezekiah Jones
By Howard Craft and Mike Wiley
Partnership with Playmakers Repertory Company
December 8-9 2023 at 7:30 pm
At the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theater
at the Center for Dramatic Art
The Kenan Theatre is located on the ground floor of the Center for Dramatic Art at 120 Country Club Road, Chapel Hill 27514
Playwrights Howard L. Craft and Mike Wiley introduce Dizzle Jollyworth, a front-line elf at Santa’s Workshop, who is struggling for meaning in his life and is tasked to travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to rekindle the Christmas spirt of Hezikiah Jones, a grief stricken, disillusioned toymaker. A new holiday play told in a way that only Craft and Wiley could imagine, commissioned by PlayMakers Repertory Company.
Howard L. Craft is a father, husband, playwright, poet, essayist, and arts educator. He is the author of more than ten plays including Freight: The Five Incarnations of Able Green, which was chosen as a New York Times Critic’s Pick during its March 2015 Off-Broadway run; The House of George, Stealing Clouds, Calypso and the Midnight Marauders, Orange Light, a children’s musical entitled Indigo Blue, and The Jade City Chronicles Volume 1: The Super Spectacular Badass Herald M. F. Jones. Following the successful stage production of The Jade City Chronicles, Craft and former WUNC “The State of Things” host Frank Stasio created the first African-American Super Hero Radio Serial, The Jade City Pharaoh, which aired on the station for three seasons.
Craft is the author of two books of poems, Across The Blue Chasm (Big Drum Press 2000), and Raising the Sky (Jacar Press 2016). His poetry also appears in Home is Where: An Anthology of African-American Poets from the Carolinas, edited by Kwame Dawes. His essays have appeared in The Paris Review and have been included in The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre (Routledge Press 2019). Craft is currently the Piller Professor of the Practice at North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Acclaimed actor and playwright Mike Wiley has spent the last decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre based in in African-American history to young audiences and communities across the country. Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Tim Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and The Parchman Hour, an ensemble production celebrating the bravery and determination of the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to desegregate Southern interstate bus travel in 1961.
Wiley holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is artist in residence in the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He has taught at Duke and UNC as the Lehman Brady Joint Visiting Professor of Documentary Studies and American Studies in 2010 and 2014. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has also appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.