Latest News

City Theatre begins 44th Season with historical comedy THE REVOLUTIONISTS

August 21st, 2018

City Theatre to begin 44th season with a historical comedy from America’s most produced contemporary playwright:

THE REVOLUTIONISTS
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jade King Carroll
September 8 – 30, 2018 City Theatre Main Stage

“Women’s stories are stripped of myth and misogyny and portrayed honestly and with electrifying truth.” DC THEATRE SCENE

Pittsburgh, PA (August 20, 2018) – City Theatre launches its new season with an all female cast and creative team for the Pittsburgh premiere of America’s most produced playwright from 2017, Lauren Gunderson, and her hysterical and historical comedy, The Revolutionists. While set during France’s Reign of Terror (1793-94), it is a timely treatise for the United States today as it celebrates four badass women out to change the world.

“Over these past few years Lauren Gundersdon has become a red hot voice in the American Theatre,” said City’s newly appointed Artistic Director Marc Masterson. “We are thrilled to introduce her to Pittsburgh with this wildly theatrical, smart, and funny take on ‘badass women’ of the French Revolution. The play speaks to our own historical moment with insight and relevance, fun and frenzy.” Masterson commissioned Ms. Gunderson’s first nationally renowned play, I and You, while at South Coast Repertory.

About The Revolutionists:

Liberté, égalité… sororité! It’s the French Revolution and heads will roll – including playwright Olympe de Gouges’ and her muses: assassin Charlotte Corday, Caribbean freedom fighter Marianne Angelle, and the one-and-only Marie “Let Them Eat Cake” Antoinette. In this irreverent comedy, these women hang out, murder Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked play is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world. It’s a true story. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection…that ends in a song and a scaffold.

The Revolutionists is a play that time travels but lands solidly in this very moment; and I couldn’t be more honored and excited to have this story at this time at City Theatre,” said playwright Lauren Gunderson. “For a play about art, voice, crisis, protest, women, humanism, and friendship to get the kind of riveting, vivid production only City Theatre can offer is a dream for me. I think the historical figures my characters are based would be pretty damn proud too.”

City Theatre’s production of THE REVOLUTIONISTS is directed by Jade King Carroll, who returns to City Theatre after helming the acclaimed Sunset Baby by Dominque Morisseau in 2015.The cast includes local favorites Daina Michelle Griffith (The White Chip, The Last Match at City Theatre), Moira Quigley (City Theatre Main Stage debut), and Drew Leigh Williams (City Theatre Main Stage debut). New York-based Shamika Cotton, recently seen in last year’s Citizens Market, returns to City Theatre. The badass all-woman design team features Anne Mundell (scenic), Susan Tsu (costumes), Nicole Pearce (lighting), and Fan Zhang (sound). City Theatre Director of New Play Development, Clare Drobot, is dramaturg for the production.

About Playwright Lauren Gunderson:

Lauren M. Gunderson is the most produced playwright in America of 2017, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award, the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, she is also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the U.S. including South Coast Rep (Emilie, Silent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful And Her Dog!), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The O’Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire and more. She co-authored Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon, which was one of the most produced plays in America in 2017. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit Pursued By A Bear, The Taming, and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists (The Revolutionists, The Book of Will, Silent Sky, Bauer, Miss Bennet) and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon was released from Two Lions / Amazon in May 2017. LaurenGunderson.com and @LalaTellsAStory

City Connects Production Partner: Strong Women Strong Girls

In highlighting the play’s themes of women’s leadership, City Theatre will partner with Strong Women, Strong Girls on the production, highlighting their work in the Pittsburgh community. Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) is a multi-generational mentorship organization that connects professional women, college women, and elementary school girls. They champion the aspirations and promote the potential of girls from under-resourced communities through innovative mentorship programming.

Pick-Your-Price-Previews: September 8 -13

After a successful pilot last year, City Theatre continues its new ticketing initiative that ensures that price not serve as a barrier to attendance. During the preview performances of The Revolutionists, patrons can purchase tickets at a price of their choosing online, over the phone, or at the box office. Any price can be named in-person or over the phone (just mention “Pick-Your-Price-Previews”); online sales start at $5 and increase incrementally. Subject to availability; phone and online fees apply.

MORE ABOUT ‘THE REVOLUTIONISTS’

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: September 8 – September 30, 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 CityTheatreCompany.org or call 412-431-2489.

PRESS & OPENING NIGHT
Friday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Post-Show Talkbacks: Sundays, September 16 and 23, following the 2:00 p.m. performances. Hosted by Director of New Play Development, Clare Drobot, post-show talkbacks encourage audiences to engage with the artists behind the performances.

Greenroom: Art & Afterparty: Friday, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. Join the cast and artistic team for a party in the Gordon Lounge following the performance featuring special guests, free beer and light bites. Tickets are just $30 for the evening with promocode GREENROOM.

Pay-What-You-Want: Saturday, September 22 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.

ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES:
ASL Interpretation
Tuesday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Open Caption & Audio Description Sunday, September 30 at 2:00 p.m.

BOX OFFICE INFORMATION:
412.431.CITY (2489) or CityTheatreCompany.org
Single Tickets start at $29.
Six-play subscriptions still available and start at $150.

DISCOUNTS:
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.

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

PARKING:
Patron parking is available in the lot across from the City Theatre entrances for $9, subject to availability. Additional metered parking is available surrounding the theater (note: meters now extend until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays).

10TH STREET BRIDGE DISRUPTION
Work continues on the 10th Street Bridge, which is closed to traffic heading south from downtown (outbound) requiring alternate routes to the South Side, including Second Avenue and Forbes Avenue to the Birmingham Bridge, Second Avenue to the Hot Metal Bridge, and Smithfield Street Bridge to West Carson Street. Allow for additional travel time as there is no late seating at City Theatre due to the nature of the venues.

ABOUT CITY THEATRE:
Founded in 1975, City Theatre enters its 44th season as Pittsburgh’s home for bold new plays. Located in the historic South Side on its four-building cultural campus, the company produces a season of regional and world premieres, including the upcoming The Burdens by Matt Schatz and We Are Among Us by Stephen Belber; its renowned Young Playwrights Festival; a season-long reading series of new works in progress; and the annual Momentum Festival. 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. With an annual average operating budget of $2.75 million, City is the largest performing arts organization not located in Pittsburgh’s downtown Cultural District and is a constituent and core member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and the National New Play Network (NNPN). Marc Masterson returned as Artistic Director in July, after a 19 year absence, to join Managing Director James McNeel as co-leaders of the organization.

Review: Nomad Motel

May 25th, 2018

Pittsburgh in the Round | By Eva Phillips
May 25, 2018

Nomad Motel is an engrossing story that deftly balances the intensely personal resentments and sorrows experienced within families and the far less accessible difficulties and hardships experienced by those in situations of nomadic living.”

<Read the full review at Pittsburgh in the Round>

Announcing City Theatre’s Next Artistic Director

May 24th, 2018

New Play Pioneer
MARC MASTERSON
Named City Theatre Artistic Director

Nationally recognized arts leader and director
returns to Pittsburgh’s home for new plays

Pittsburgh, PA. (May 24, 2018) Under the leadership of Board President Beth Newbold and Managing Director James McNeel, the City Theatre Board of Directors has concluded an extensive national search, naming Marc Masterson the new Artistic Director of the region’s largest theater dedicated solely to new plays. Masterson brings decades of experience and an award-winning national presence as a champion of new works, having served as the artistic director of South Coast Repertory Theatre (2011-2018) and Actors Theatre of Louisville, home of the internationally acclaimed Humana Festival of New American Plays (2000-2011), two of the most distinguished arts institutions in the nation. He was City Theatre’s producing artistic director from 1981-2000.

Masterson’s field-wide contributions to the contemporary theater landscape reflect City Theatre’s core values: his body of work exemplifies a career-long commitment to diverse programming, robust community engagement and education initiatives, and gender parity across production teams. He will begin his new role at City Theatre on July 1, 2018.

“For decades City Theatre has built a reputation as one of the finest mid-sized theatres in America. I love the audiences in Pittsburgh, the friends and colleagues I have there, as well as the strong sense of community in the city itself,” said Masterson. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about the future.

“Coming into a season that has already been planned by the excellent City Theatre staff, my first task will be to get to know the current organization, the changes that have occurred in Pittsburgh since I left, and to work with James McNeel and the Board on planning for the future. We will continue to build on City’s engagement in the community, working with local artists as well as some of the finest theatre-makers in the country for a vibrantly diverse repertoire,” he concluded.

“Marc has an exemplary track record of artistic excellence, fundraising, community engagement and commitment to new plays,” said City Theatre Board President, Beth Newbold. “We are fortunate that he has chosen to bring his experience and expertise to City Theatre, to lead our organization into a new era. On behalf of the board, I am very excited to welcome Marc to the team, and cannot wait to see the work that emerges from the company with James and him at the helm. It will propel us forward to increased local and national recognition as a leader in new play development.”

“The appointment of Marc Masterson at City Theatre is tremendous news for the arts and for the city as a whole. It’s partly a homecoming to celebrate: during Marc’s first stint at City, he was an artistic force—not only a champion of the theatre, but an important leader in our cultural community,” said Janet Sarbaugh, Vice President, Creativity Programs, The Heinz Endowments. “But this is more than a homecoming; given the breadth of Marc’s career since Pittsburgh, his national profile, and his knowledge of American theatre, we are lucky indeed to have attracted him back to Pittsburgh.”

“I think City Theatre has made an inspired choice to have Marc back to the organization. He has consistently been an adventurous artistic leader, programming successful seasons at some of our nation’s most high profile theatres; seasons that have been truly diverse and exciting in the rich array of artists represented in making groundbreaking, important work,” said Michael John Garcés, Artistic Director of LA’s Cornerstone Theater Company and Vice President of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

“When I say diverse, I mean it in every sense of the word: aesthetically diverse work that challenges audiences to see a wide range of plays that bridge disciplines and subvert expectations, and that represents the work of all Americans, reflecting the true richness of our nation,” continued Garcés. “And he’s a terrific artist himself, willing to take real risks, and succeeding in those risks far more often than not.  I count him as a mentor and a friend, and look forward to seeing what City does in this new chapter!”

As artistic director at South Coast Repertory, Masterson has produced dozens of world premieres, including A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph, and Office Hour by Julia Cho. As artistic director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, he produced the world premieres of Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzler, Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison, and Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo, and many others. Masterson has developed hundreds of new works, many of which have transferred to some of the leading theatres in the country, including the Public Theater (New York), Manhattan Theatre Club, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The Goodman, as well as Off-Broadway and Broadway. Recent directing credits include Shakespeare in Love, All the Way, Going to a Place Where You Already Are, Zealot, Death of a Salesman, Eurydice, and Elemeno Pea at South Coast Rep; Hand to God at the Alliance Theatre; Byhalia, Mississippi by Evan Linder at the Contemporary American Theater Festival; As You Like It for the Houston Shakespeare Festival; and The Kite Runner at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Cleveland Play House.

Marc’s community-focused new play development initiatives include the creation of the DIALOGUE/DIÁLOGOS project at South Coast Rep, a two-year bilingual theatre project to gather and tell the stories of the Santa Ana Latino community, as well as the ongoing CrossRoads Commissioning Project, which brings playwrights to Orange County to engage with the area’s diverse communities through exploratory residencies. City Theatre’s current world premiere production of Nomad Motel by Carla Ching was originally a CrossRoads Commission issued by Masterson.

In 2017, Masterson was honored with the 2017 Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater Outstanding Leadership Award, for his commitment to creating a programming stream that reflected the diverse populations of Southern California.

He served as producing artistic director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh for 20 years and was co-founder of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance (now known as the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, or GPAC).

City Theatre’s search for a new artistic director was conducted over six months, with a seven member committee comprised of board members, community leaders, McNeel, and led by Newbold. Stephen Richard of Management Consultants for the Arts provided counsel.

ABOUT CITY THEATRE:
Now completing its 43rd season, 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, this year, Citizens Market by Cori Thomas and an NNPN rolling World Premiere 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. Operating with an annual budget of $2.8 million, City is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Groups (TCG) and the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).

The 2018-19 season was curated by Artistic Producer Reginald L. Douglas and Director of New Play Development Clare Drobot. It begins on September 8, 2018 with The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson.

###

‘Nomad Motel’ explores family, inclusion and understanding

May 23rd, 2018

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | By Christopher Rawson
May 22, 2018

“What feels freshest is the skillful way the play reveals itself. […] Katie Lynn Esswein… ably combines vulnerable and tough. Christopher Larkin is luminous.”

<Read the full review at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette>

Advocate’s Experience As A Homeless Child Partly Inspires Play At City Theatre

May 22nd, 2018

90.5 WESA | By Bill O’Driscoll
May 22, 2018

One character, a teen-aged girl named Alix, was inspired by a real person Ching interviewed: Jennifer Friend. Back in the 1980s, Friend and her three siblings grew up with both parents. But her father, a tech entrepreneur, and her mother, a pre-school teacher, lived in financially precarious circumstances. Often, a rent-by-the-week motel was the best they could do. Sometimes, the family simply slept at friends’ houses until other arrangements could be made.

<Read the full article at 90.5 WESA>

CitySpeaks: A Nomadic Journey

May 16th, 2018

By Spencer Whale, Directing & Producing Fellow

The path of a new play from conception to production, page to stage, is a long and winding one. As a producer of new plays, City Theatre provides a home for these works, and for the artists who journey with them. Many of those currently collaborating on City’s current production, Nomad Motel, have been on the road with the play for four long years, pouring themselves into what is now a deeply personal piece for all involved.

As the assistant director of our production and one of the newest team members, I’ve striven to learn as much as I can about its uniquely collaborative development process, and how each artist involved has left their mark on the piece.

Spencer Whale Nomad Motel City Theatre

Spencer Whale, directing & producing fellow at City Theatre, assistant directed the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of NOMAD MOTEL.

When Carla Ching set out to write a play about a Motel Kid and a Parachute Kid searching for home in the shadow of Disneyland, she drew not only on personal experiences of people she knew, but also from actors she envisioned in the roles. In particular, she tailored the lead role of Mason, a high school student from Hong Kong living alone in the US, to the unique talents of actor Christopher Larkin.

Chris, who has been with the play since its inception, was last seen at City in 2015’s Oblivion. He is an accomplished musician who performs under the name Carry Hatchet, and Carla wrote Mason’s musical aspirations with Chris in mind, making live performance with a loop pedal a vital element of the play.

Pittsburgh audiences will be treated to some of Chris’ original compositions performed live onstage, crafted in collaboration with sound designer and original music composer Florian Staab, who has been with the team since a 2015 O’Neill Playwrights Conference workshop.

The company of NOMAD MOTEL’s O’Neill Playwrights Conference Workshop.

Leading the room in remarkable symbiosis with Carla is director Bart DeLorenzo, who has also been collaborating with her since the first partial drafts of Nomad. The two met in 2013 when Marc Masterson of South Coast Rep paired them up for the premiere of Carla’s play Fast Company.

Though Carla refers to it as “the shotgun wedding” because of how quickly they entered production together, it turned out to be  artistic matchmaking at its best. As Bart puts it, “We have just always agreed. On pretty much everything.” Whereas all instruction to the cast is traditionally filtered through the director, Bart is more than happy to step aside as middleman and let Carla communicate her thoughts directly as they develop their collaborative vision for the play.

For her part, Carla feels a sense of relief knowing that Bart will be on a project, “because I know that he’s going to hold it and protect it and that he’s got it. And I can relax and he always makes everything better.” Also in that production of Fast Company was Nelson Lee, who plays Mason’s father James in Nomad Motel and has worked with Carla on three of her plays.

When an early rewrite eliminated a character from the play (English Lit teacher Mr. Edgerton, whose offstage influence is still felt throughout), Carla replaced him with Oscar, a street-wise dreamer held back by the foster system. Bart suggested casting Shahine Ezell, whom he had directed once while Shahine was an undergraduate at CalArts.

Nelson and Carla connected during South Coast Repertory’s 2013 world premiere production of FAST COMPANY by Carla Ching. From left to right: Emily Kuroda, Jackie Chung, Lawrence Kao, and Nelson Lee. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

 

Shahine hadn’t performed onstage in over a decade, but Carla found that he had a “particular affinity” for her language, explaining, “You’re really lucky when you find an actor that just understands your words from the inside and lifts them off the page so they sound better in the air.” She says he embodies Oscar so well that it helps her to better understand the character.

Shahine gets excited thinking about their multi-year collaboration, remembering, “To see Carla take super small things… I would just tell her stories about my life and things that I’ve gone through and things that were personal to me and she just took it and made this super well-rounded character that has gone through so much but didn’t let it break him down.”

This production also comes with a whole slew of Pittsburgh-based artists that Bart calls the “missing piece” of the play. Rounding out the cast are Katie Lynn Esswein of the North Hills as Alix, a Motel Kid who dreams of designing spaces that feel like home, and her flailing but determined mother played by Lisa Velten Smith, last seen on City’s stage as Margery in Hand to God.

A handful of actresses had read Alix over the years, but when it came time to cast the tricky, crucial role, Bart says Katie “woke Carla and I up. She kind of just came in and took the role. We just sort of knew she was the right one.” Carla responded to the spunk and toughness she brings to the role, elaborating that “it really changes the part because the way that Katie plays it, she’s never a victim, and so that changes the play.”

Nomad Motel City Theatre 3 1

Lisa Velten Smith (Fiona) and Katie Lynn Esswein (Alix) in City Theatre’s production of NOMAD MOTEL.

 

As for Lisa, Carla admired her performance alongside Chris in Oblivion, and calls her a “ferocious and intelligent actor,” both “emotionally available and attuned.”

Featuring the design talents of local favorites Gianni Downs (Scenic), Robert C.T. Steele (Costume), and Andrew David Ostrowski (Lighting), our production also marks the first time Nomad will be brought into full, three-dimensional life. Excitement abounds at the chance to finally share a production with audiences, and the construction of Gianni’s ambitious set has made that reality all the more immediate.

With a new play, there is no precedent on how to bring the script to physical life, and Bart admitted that he and Carla “didn’t know how to do the play” before this production. With its many shifting locations and simultaneous action, the script presents unique challenges, but over the course of the long design process, the shape of the set “grew organically in Gianni’s mind.”

The final design allows three spaces to exist simultaneously, with plenty of tricks and theatre magic used to transform each location from scene to scene. On the accomplishment of the design, Bart muses, “I think he’s solved it sort of iconically, so that I don’t know future productions will be able to do it differently.”

Reflecting on what all this means to her and to the Nomad family, Carla explained that, “We’ve music stand-ed this in readings across the country for so many years and literally we couldn’t go any further with it; it would have gone in a desk drawer had City not decided to produce it.”

The play has found a home, but Pittsburgh is not the end of the road: City Theatre was instrumental in securing Nomad Motel as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, which guarantees that the play will have at least two more productions over the next year at Unicorn Theatre (Missouri) and Horizon Theater (Georgia), providing Carla further opportunity to refine the text and to invite new artists and audiences into its world. I, for one, cannot wait to follow its journey.

Nomad Motel runs at City Theatre now through June 3rd. Tickets are available here!

Press Release: City Theatre Announces Details of MOMENTUM ‘18 New Plays at Different Stages May 31 – June 3, 2018

May 11th, 2018

City Theatre Announces Details of

MOMENTUM ‘18
New Plays at Different Stages

May 31 – June 3, 2018

Annual festival creates links to local & national talents:
Singer-Songwriter Jill Sobule, CMU Alum Matt Schatz,
an EQT Young Playwrights Festival winner, and more.

Pittsburgh, PA (May 10, 2018). The annual Momentum Festival of New Plays at Different Stages will close the 2017-18 City Theatre season with four days of cutting-edge drama, hilarious comedy, music-fueled storytelling, and a chilling new thriller. Opportunities to connect with local and national writers abound, with a Friday night event—New Play Speed Dating—as well as post-show conversations with the artists after each program. Supported by The Fine Foundation, the festival runs May 31 – June 3, 2018, and is free and open to the public, though reservations are strongly suggested as seating is limited. Reservations may be made at CityTheatreCompany.org or by calling the box office at 412-431-CITY (2489). Event schedule and project descriptions below.

“We’ve expanded our new play development activities this season, and City’s annual Momentum Festival is the culmination of that effort. I’m thrilled to share the scope of the work that we do: from projects in their earliest stages to a sneak peek at our 2018-19 world premiere of The Burdens by Matt Schatz,” said Clare Drobot, Director of New Play Development. “It’s especially exciting to have the festival happen in conjunction with the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Carla Ching’s Nomad Motel.

“We’re celebrating diverse artistic voices and exploring everything from a wry take on the trauma of middle school to the blurred lines between love and art, to a satirical look at cultural appropriation through the lens of reality television,” continued Ms. Drobot. “The festival allows us to showcase the tremendous artistic talent in Pittsburgh and to place our community in conversation with national artists.”

Projects include three public play readings: The Burdens by Matt Schatz (which receives its world premiere at City Theatre in April 2019), P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, and The Haunted by Claire Keichel, plus a private reading of Threads by EQT Young Playwrights Festival alum Mehrnaz Tiv. In collaboration with the regional chapter of the Dramatists Guild, In Their Own Voices will feature local playwrights reading excerpts of unproduced work, as well as a piece by Dramatists Guild Fellow Eric Micha Holmes (Momentum ’18 Playwright in Residence). Singer-songwriter Jill Sobule will perform a concert version of a solo show in development called #Fuck7thGrade, with additional text created by playwright Liza Birkenmeier.

 

MOMENTUM ’18
SCHEDULE & EVENT DETAILS

 

THURSDAY, MAY 31

Threads
By Mehrnaz Tiv
Directed by Maggie Sulka

Private Play Reading
Lester Hamburg Studio

A new play about a female owned threading salon in California that investigates the immigrant experience. Written by EQT Young Playwrights Festival 2016 alum and current NYU student, Mehrnaz Tiv.

Cast & Creative Team: Heather Irwin (Karen), Serena El-Khatib (Delara), Jalina McClarin (Leyla), and Tammy Tsai (Meryam); Kristen Link (Director of Education & Accessibility) and Jillian Bradshaw (Artistic Assistant).

FRIDAY, JUNE 1

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Momentum Happy Hour
Gordon Lounge

Enjoy drink specials and mingle with the playwrights and artists.

Sign up for New Play Speed Dating at 6:00 p.m.: A panel of playwrights, directors, actors, and City Theatre staff will be set up in the lobby for brief and casual one-on-one conversations about their work.

7:00 p.m.

P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle
By Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

Play Reading, Lester Hamburg Studio

In this whip-smart send up of reality TV culture,an up-and-coming black rap duo called P.Y.G. are tasked with lending some street cred to white pop idol, Dorian Belle. The rappers quickly begin to question the politics of their roles as the play delves head first into a hilarious and disturbing look at the ins and outs of cultural appropriation.

Cast & Creative Team: Lamar K. Cheston (Blacky Blackerson), LaTrea Rembert (Alexan Da Great), and Quinn Patrick Shannon (Dorian Belle); Gabrielle Kogut (Stage Directions), Megan Monaghan Rivas (Dramaturg), and Taylor Meszaros (Stage Manager).

SATURDAY, JUNE 2

1:00 p.m.

Nomad Motel
By Carla Ching
Directed by Bart DeLorenzo

Performance & Talkback, Main Stage

Following the 1:00 p.m. performance of the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Nomad Motel, playwright Carla Ching will be joined by the cast and Director of New Play Development Clare Drobot to answer audience questions and discuss the new play development process.

About Nomad Motel: In the not-so-sunny side of California, Alix bounces between motel rooms, taking care of her brothers for her mostly MIA mother. Her classmate Mason is a budding songwriter trying to keep off the radar of his absent father’s Hong Kong mafia friends. Together, they must learn to scrape by without giving up their dreams. This world premiere is a coming-of-age tale about making something out of nothing in the land of plenty. On stage through June 3.

Note: A ticket is required to attend the performance at 1:00 p.m., and can be purchased at CityTheatreCompany.org or at the box office. Talkback will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

4:00 p.m.

In Their Own Voices
Presented in Partnership with The Dramatists Guild
Hosted by Gab Cody and Spencer Whale

Excerpted Readings, Lester Hamburg Studio

Newly added to the Momentum Festival, this continued partnership with the Dramatists Guild celebrates the vibrant Pittsburgh playwriting community. Local writers and national Dramatists Guild Fellow Eric Micha Holmes (Momentum ’18 Playwright in Residence) will read excerpts of their own work out loud. Co-hosted by City Theatre Directing/Producing Fellow Spencer Whale and regional Dramatists Guild representative, Gab Cody.

Playwrights: D.T. Burns, Mariah Franklin, Yona Harvey, Matt Henderson, Eric Micha Holmes, Anya Martin, Maureen McGranaghan, Seanan Palmero, Kelsey Robinson, Tammy Ryan, Ayne Terceira, Arlene Weiner, and TJ Young.

Music: Morgan Erina; Artistic Assistant: Gabrielle Kogut.

7:00 p.m.

The Burdens
By Matt Schatz
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

Play Reading, Lester Hamburg Studio

Siblings Mordy and Jane communicate like proper millennials: primarily through text message and loaded with sarcasm. Their lives flailing on opposite coasts, they hatch an outrageous plan to relieve their mother of the burden of Zad-Zad, their centenarian – and particularly prickly – grandfather. A dark comedy for the digital age, The Burdens explores pop culture, connection, and the value of actual face time.

Get a sneak peek: The Burdens receives its world premiere at City in April 2019.

Cast & Creative Team: Robin Abramson (Jane) and Alec Silberblatt (Mordy); Morgan Erina (Music), Catherine Kolos (Stage Manager), and Jillian Bradshaw (Artistic Assistant).

9:30 p.m.

#Fuck7thGrade
By Jill Sobule
With additional text by Liza Birkenmeier
Dramaturgy by Clare Drobot

Concert/Solo Show Work in Progress, Lester Hamburg Studio

Hear the songs and stories that warrant the hashtag. Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule—whose 1990s hit tracks include “Supermodel” and “I Kissed a Girl”—takes a tongue-in-cheek view of middle school trauma in #Fuck7thGrade. In a City Theatre-led collaboration with playwright Liza Birkenmeier (Radio Island, Momentum 2016), Sobule is exploring turning her life into a solo show.

Cast & Creative Team: Jill Sobule; Sarah Powell (artistic assistant)

SUNDAY, JUNE 3

New Play Circle Brunch
By invitation only

Lester Hamburg Studio

An engaged and exciting group of influential theater lovers support City Theatre; their donations help to build sets, design costumes, house actors, and develop new plays by writers at the forefront of the theatre industry. The New Play Circle recognizes some of City’s most generous contributors with an intimate send off to the 2017-18 season. Contact Dianne Duursma for details: 412-431-4400 x278

1:00 p.m.

The Haunted
By Claire Keichel
Directed by Caitlin Sullivan

Play Reading, Lester Hamburg Studio

Sleek and sexy, this eerie play explores the tricky truths of marriage through the eyes of a video performance artist and her older, grounded husband. Something’s amiss in the newlywed’s apartment, but is it the ghosts of past tenants or a more ominous presence? The Haunted asks what we sacrifice of our individual selves in service of love.

Cast & Creative Team: Kelsey Robinson (Jayne) and Sam Turich (Leo); Cassandra Clark (Artistic Assistant) and Claire Landuyt (Stage Manager).

BOX OFFICE INFORMATION:
Momentum ’18 is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; reservations are suggested.
412.431.CITY (2489) or CityTheatreCompany.org

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

PARKING:
Patron parking is available in the lot across from the City Theatre entrances for $8, subject to availability.

ABOUT CITY THEATRE:
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 Citizens Market by Cori Thomas and an NNPN rolling World Premiere 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.

 

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Stage preview: ‘Nomad Motel’ debuts at City Theatre before moving on

May 10th, 2018

Pittsburgh Post Gazette | By Sharon Eberson
May 10, 2018

“She’s so tough, but she’s still a kid dealing with really adult problems. She’s trying to literally survive each day — making sure she has enough food to eat, that she has a place to sleep at night. But also, she’s a dreamer, and she wants something larger for herself and create a life that is more than just day-to-day.” -Katie Lynn Esswein

<Read the full article at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette>

Q&A: ‘Nomad Motel’ Playwright Carla Ching on Creating Responsible, Thoughtful, and Human Art

May 9th, 2018

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents | By Sue Kerr
May 8, 2018

“We need to address as a nation… how we help young people who have a shattered or unhealthy home situation. Where do we lend support? How do we help them find a new home, traditional or not.” -Carla Ching

<Read the full article at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents>

Don’t miss Carla Ching’s Nomad Motel at City Theatre Company

May 9th, 2018

NEXTpittsburgh | By Jennifer Baron
May 8, 2018

“Directed by LA-based artist Bart DeLorenzo, “Nomad Motel” depicts a “family consumed by California’s crippling housing crisis and the life of a ‘parachute kid,’ sent to live alone in America while his father remains in Hong Kong.” Featuring live music, the coming-of-age tale explores concepts of family, survival and home, while chronicling the lives of two determined teenagers.”

<See the full article at NEXTpittsburgh>