Dear Readers! Much to look forward to in November in the Pittsburgh culture scene!
To begin with, we have four productions opening at the CMU School of Drama in the next few weeks – all but one of which are new works by students in our program. the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table is a new work by grad director Bonnie Gabel that unearths queer history and solidarity through interviews of survivors of the AIDS crisis; it opens this coming week, and tickets are free. The following week sees the opening of our production of Liz Duffy Adams’ comedy Or, directed by Kim Weild, as well as the premiere of three new plays by grad dramatic writing students Brandy Carie, Ty Greenwood, and Hallie McPherson in our annual New Works Festival, hosted at City Theatre. The week after – on Nov. 20, to be precise – we open Compensation, a new play by director/writer Hannah Manikowski that explores the ethics and entanglements of surrogacy. Meanwhile, our friends down the road at the University of Pittsburgh are producing one of my favorite plays of the last 5 years, The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Kelly Trumbull (and opening on Nov. 14); and the Conservatory program at Point Park will open Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing on Nov. 8. I won’t be writing on this blog about any of that student work, per my non-conflict-of-interest policy, but I’m looking forward to seeing it nonetheless.
In the realm of work that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in these “pages,” there is Shakespeare’s Will, Vern Thiessen’s poetic and modern one-woman play (featuring Sheila McKenna) that gives voice to Anne Hathaway, the enigmatic wife of William Shakespeare. Quantum Theatre is producing the play at the West Homestead United Methodist Church, beginning Nov. 8. Also opening soon are School Girls: or the African Mean Girls Play, a new play by Jocelyn Bioh at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and One Night in Miami, a new work by Kemp Powers about Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown at City Theatre – both of these productions begin previews this week and open on Nov. 15. And – so exciting! – barebones productions will open Clare Barron’s fantastic play Dance Nation on Nov. 22.
Off the Wall productions in Carnegie is premiering – one weekend only, Nov. 8-9! – a new one-man-show by Alec Silberblatt, The Mon Valley Medium, in which Silberblatt plays Mack, a lonely yinzer telling the story of the murder of a young girl and the effect it has on the community. Silberblatt describes it as a dark and funny play that is set in the backyard of a Pittsburgh home and written and performed completely in the yinzer dialect. This sounds like my kind of thing, but I fear I won’t be able to see it, as it conflicts with my participation in the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh’s concert William Shakespeare: If Music Be the Food of Love, (performances on Nov. 9 at 7:30 and Nov. 10 at 4:00).
Another one-man-show I’ll regret missing because of a scheduling conflict – but you shouldn’t! – is the award-winning Rhapsody in Black, a play written and performed by Leland Gantt, McKeesport native. Gantt notes that “This play addresses the psycho-emotional effects of racism on a young black man growing up and living in America. Through harrowing, incredible, and often hilarious stories from my own life Rhapsody in Black relates the journey from realization to acceptance to transcendence, and aspires to spark a conversation we have been ducking for a long time.” The show will perform one night only, November 15, at the August Wilson Center.
So much happening! What have I left out? Tell me in the comments below.
See you at the theater!