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David Grapes II

David Grapes II

Professor of Theatre Arts

School of Theatre Arts and Dance
College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact Information

(970) 351-2323
Frasier 105

Professional/Academic Experience

An award-winning director, actor and playwright, David has provided administrative, financial, and artistic leadership for a wide variety of theatrical institutions including two professional AEA regional theatres, 3D productions - a commercial bus and truck touring company, two nationally recognized university theatre departments, a variety of summer stock companies, and a number of large professional not-for-profit regional and civic theatres. Prior to his arrival at UNC, he served for six years as the Producing Artistic Director of Tennessee Repertory Theatre (LORT C). While in Nashville, he produced 36 productions including three world premieres, established an "off- Broadway season" of contemporary plays, expanded the Rep's education/outreach department, and was the recipient of eight "Tennie Awards" for Best Direction by the Nashville Tennessean.

During his 40 -year career in the theatre, David has produced over 800 major productions that span nearly every genre of dramatic literature. His work as a director (250+ productions) has been seen from coast to coast in such theatres as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Asolo Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Theatre by the Sea, ArtPark, Madison Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Barter Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Blowing Rock Stage Company, Tuacahn Amphitheatre, Seven Angels Theatre, Little Theatre on the Square, Muhlenberg Summer Theatre, Western Michigan’s Cherry County Playhouse, Straw Hat Players, American Stage, El Portal Theatre, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Dollywood.

Professional acting credits include leading roles in Proof, August Osage County, Cyrano de Bergerac, Amadeus, The Miser, The School For Wives, The Merchant of Venice, A Christmas Carol, ART, The Cherry Orchard, Talley's Folly, The Importance of Being Ernest, A Man For All Seasons, and The Drawer Boy. Born and raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, David is a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, the Dramatist Guild of America, and is a graduate of Glenville State College and the MFA Acting/Directing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2010, David was honored by Glenville State College as its Distinguished Alumni of the Year.

He is the creator/co-author (with Todd Olson) of four musical revues; My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Christmas My Way - A Sinatra Holiday Bash, Moon River - Johnny Mercer's American Songbook, and I Left My Heart - A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, which have been performed at over 400 theatres world wide. He is also creator/co-author (with Robert Neblett) of Simply Simone – The Music of Nina Simone and the plays Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream, a film noir adaptation of Bram Stocker’s famous novel Dracula and a musical adaptation of Twelfth Night: or Gun Fight at the Illyria Corral. David has premiered a number of other original works at UNC including Babes in Hollywood – The Music of Garland and Rooney (2007), which opened the 73rd LTR Season, One More For My Baby (2011), which opened the 77th LTR Season, Queen Lear (2012) and a new musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2017). In 2017 he worked with Shaw scholar Leonard Connolly on the publication of his book My Dear Watson: Bernard Shaw’s Letters to a Critic. The two men are currently working on another book related to Jisbella Lyth, who served as Shaw’s Postmistress for many decades. David is also a published theatre photographer.

At UNC, David is a full tenured professor, Founding Director of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance and serves as the Producing Artistic Director for UNC's 84-year-old professional summer stock company - The Little Theatre of the Rockies. His UNC/Little Theatre of the Rockies directorial credits include: LA Senior Showcase (2007 - 2018), Candida, Rounding Third, Bleacher Bums, Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream, The Tempest (guest artist Henry Haggard), Babes in Hollywood, Tuesday’s With Morrie, The Drawer Boy, Titanic – The Musical!, Bad Dates, God’s Man in Texas (guest artist Dan McNally), Heartbreak House and Twelfth Night: or Gun Fight at the Illyria Corral (both featuring guest artist Jim Mezon), Doubt (guest artist Anna Stone), Quilters, The Taffetas, Hay Fever and The Elephant Man (guest artist Bill Bowers), Tintypes and the Colorado premiere of The Lady With AllThe Answers (guest artist Kerri Jill Garbis), Nixon’s Nixon (guest artist Dan McNally) and One More For My Baby (guest artist John Fredo) and You Can’t Take It With You (guest artist Noel Johnston), Harvey (guest artist Peter Krantz), Ragtime (guest artist Terron Brooks), Escanaba in da Moonlight, Private Lives (guest artist Michelle Shupe), Sonia Vanya, Masha and Spike, Aida, Outside Mullingar (guest artist Megan Van De Hey), God of Carnage (guest artist Megan Van De Hey), The Addams Family Musical, Queen Lear (guest artist Lucy Peacock), Sweeney Todd, Once in a Lifetime, Marathon33, and The Who’s Tommy, Peter and the Starcatcher (guest artist Henry Haggard), Sister Act (guest artist Megan Van De Hey), Jesus Christ Superstar, Major Barbara (guest artist Steven Hauck), I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti (guest artist Kerri Jill Garbis) and Catch Me If You Can (guest artist Keir Kirkegaard). During the spring of 2019, David will direct a production of Moliere’s classic farce The Imaginary Invalid.

Publications/Creative Works

Each summer since 1978, David has written reviews, features and BLOGS about the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Shaw Festival, the two largest theatre festivals in North America. His online work can be viewed at: