City Theatre presents the Pittsburgh premiere of THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY

December 28th, 2017 / Posted in Uncategorized

City Theatre presents the Pittsburgh premiere of THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY

By James Lecesne

January 20 – February 18, 2018

Lester Hamburg Studio

“Undeniably Powerful.” – Living Out Loud LA

“A Whodunit with a Heart of Gold.” – The New Yorker

Pittsburgh, PA (December 27, 2017). City Theatre’s 2017-18 season continues with the uplifting one-man drama The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by Academy Award-Winner James Lecesne. Keith Randolph Smith (Sunset Baby, November 2015) stars as Chuck DeSantis, a small-town detective recounting the disappearance of a gay teenager named Leonard Pelkey, and the community who helped him uncover the truth. Directed by Laura Savia, Associate Artistic Director of internationally renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival, the play runs January 20 – February 18, 2018, in the Hamburg Studio Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

City Theatre continues its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and community engagement with partnerships and outreach specific to the issues addressed in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.

Led by an all-female and transgender design team, City Theatre is collaborating with Dreams of Hope to include LGBTQA youth in the creative process and behind the scenes. Students are working closely with the scenic designer Britton Mauk and the City Theatre staff to curate, design, and produce the props and photography seen in the production. Dreams of Hope provides the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and allied (LGBTQA) youth a welcoming environment to grow in confidence, express themselves, and develop as leaders. Their creative contributions educate audiences, build awareness, and increase acceptance.

City Theatre will host and donate a benefit evening for the Dakota James Foundation on Friday, January 19, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets include a reception with food, cash bar, and silent auction in the Gordon Lounge, followed by a private invitation to the final dress rehearsal of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at 7:00 p.m. See for event tickets and more information. The Dakota James Foundation encourages collaboration to ensure public safety through improved surveillance, police procedures and cooperation, raising awareness, and supporting families of a missing person. All proceeds benefit the foundation.

Representatives of the Dakota James Foundation will host a post-show talkback forum following the Pay-What-You-Want performance on Saturday, February 3 at 1:00 p.m.

About The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey:
Leonard Pelkey is a fourteen-year-old intent on living life out loud while marooned in a sleepy Jersey shore town. When Leonard suddenly vanishes, a hardboiled detective takes the case, unraveling the mystery with the help of a colorful band of locals. Written by Academy Award-winner James Lecesne, this hilarious and heartwarming one-man show celebrates the power of a single person to uplift an entire community.

Laura Savia is director. The design and production team includes Britton Mauk (scenic design), Madison Hack (costume design), Isabella Byrd (lighting design), Elizabeth Atkinson (sound design), and Taylor Meszaros as stage manager. Dreams of Hope student artists Grey Buchanan and Red Goblet are specialty props coordinators.


January 20—February 18, 2018

Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and/or 7:00 p.m.

Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m.

Saturdays at 1:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and/or 9:00 p.m.

Sundays at 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.

For a complete listing of show times, please visit or call 412-431-2489.

Friday, January 26, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.


Post-Show Talkbacks: Immediately following the performances on January 28 at 2:00 p.m., February 3 at 1:00 p.m., and February 4 at 2:00 p.m.

Hosted by Director of New Play Development, Clare Drobot, post-show talkbacks encourage audiences to engage with the artists and ideas behind the productions.

Greenroom: Art & Afterparty Friday, February 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Join the cast and artistic team for a party in the Gordon Lounge following the performance. Complimentary house wine, Penn Brewery beer, and light snacks will be provided. Tickets are just $30 for the evening with promocode GREENROOM.

Pay-What-You-Want Saturday, February 3 at 1:00 p.m.
A block of tickets is reserved for audience members to name their own price at this performance. Walk-up sales only, beginning two hours before curtain. Call the box office to check on availability.

ASL Interpretation Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Open Caption & Audio Description Sunday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m.

412.431.CITY (2489) or
Tickets start at $38.

Under 30: Reserve $15 tickets in advance for performances except Opening Night and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.; rush tickets may be available at those performances. Must present ID to receive Under 30 pricing.
Seniors age 62 and older: $24 rush tickets may be purchased at the box office beginning two hours before curtain, based on availability.
Groups of ten or more: Contact Joel Ambrose at 412.431.4400 x286.

1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side)
Port Authority bus routes: 48, 51, 54, 81, 83

Patron parking is available in the lot across from the City Theatre entrances for $8, subject to availability.
South Side Nite Rider: Friday and Saturday evenings only. Patrons may park for free at the Second Avenue Parking Plaza and use a shuttle with drop off at nearby Bedford Square. Details:

City Theatre is Pittsburgh’s home for bold new plays. Located in the historic South Side, the company produces a season of regional and world premieres, including the upcoming Citizens Market by Cori Thomas and Nomad Motel by Carla Ching. City Theatre’s mission is to provide an artistic home for the development and production of contemporary plays of substance and ideas that engage and challenge a diverse audience.