It’s an encore visit for alumnus Matthew McCray, guest director for ‘Machinal’

Theatre alumnus Matthew McCray’98, an award-winning playwright and actor with multiple stage and television credits, returns to campus this spring as a guest director for the Department of Theatre’s production of
Machinal, which opens Thursday, April 10.

man smiling
This is McCray’s first return to campus as a director, and he says he’s enjoying the energy of working with young actors.

“It has been really fun.  I try to give my students room to grow creatively.  I’m sure there are directors who do the same thing, but I personally enjoy working with my students and the ideas that they have,” he says.

Machinal is a 1928 classic by playwright Sophie Treadwell and was inspired by a true story.  It’s an expressionistic tale of a young woman named Helen, who is trapped in the world of her mechanistic society.  Her attempts to find human connection tragically result in homicide.  McCray has made a few creative changes to the original play, and says he has translated his production of

to be relevant to audiences today.
Instead of the original setting of the late 1920’s, McCray adapted this production to be episodic.  There will be nine actresses in this performance, each playing the role of Helen through the decades.

Nina LeNoir, Ph.D., professor and chair of the
Department of Theatre
, is one of the members on the committee that selected
for the spring production.  She says McCray’s work is well-known in Los Angeles theater circles.

“Matthew has brought great distinction to our department,” LeNoir says.  “I found him to be a very gifted, open and generous soul.”

McCray is the founding artistic director of the Son of Semele Ensemble in Los Angeles.  His television acting credits include
Will & Grace
Boston Legal
New Girl
, among others. In addition to
The Eternal Thou
, McCray wrote
, which was staged at
. He is the winner of an Ovation Award for Best Musical Production and an
LA Weekly
Award for his work as video designer.  In addition, his play
Eternal Thou
was a 2012 Critic’s Pick in
magazine and was staged at South Coast Repertory following a successful Los Angeles debut. In 2012, he received Chapman University’s
Alumni in the Arts Award

So what is his secret to success?

“I’m always thinking about ‘what will be my next step after this?'” he says. “That would be my advice to Chapman students, especially to those who are graduating.  What will your next step be?”

will be presented Thursdays through Saturdays, April 10-12 and April 17-19, in the Waltmar Theatre at 7:30 p.m.  An additional performance will take place on Saturday, April 19, at 2:30 p.m.  General admission is $20, or $10 with a Chapman ID.  For advance ticket purchases, please visit
Chapman University Tickets

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