Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre’s 17th Season

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre is pleased to announce that we will present our 17th season with both online and in-person options for each production. A very limited number of in-person tickets will be sold (if conditions at production time permit), and then each filmed production will be available for purchase online.

Online tickets for each show are $25, and a full season online subscription to all five plays is $99. You only need to purchase one ticket per household. Specific dates and details on in-person tickets will be announced later. You can donate now to support our new season. Read more about how our online season will work.

Our 2020-2021 Virtual Theatre Season

October 2020

Vanessa German
Vanessa German

hypersensitive
Written by and starring Vanessa German
Directed by Ashley Southers

A love poem for strange Black Girls, fat Black Girls, Winged Black Girls, the Missing Black Girls, the Black Girls who rode skateboards to school, Black Girls whose eyebrows were never on Fleek, Black Girls who dig aloneness and Black Girls who do magic.


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December 2020

Kim El
Kim El

Ubuntu Holiday
By Kim El
Directed by Mils James

Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture in Africa roughly translates to “I am who I am because we are who we are.” This comedy focuses on two African-American families. One embraces the traditions of Christmas and the other is exploring their newfound African customs of Kwanzaa. A video of our popular December 2014 production. Individual tickets on sale October 2020.

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February 2021

Lissa Brennan
Lissa Brennan

Grist From The Mill: 1902
By Lissa Brennan
Directed by Jeffrey Carpenter

In one year in the early part of the 20th century, the deaths of 196 men in one Southwestern Pennsylvania steel mill were the result of workplace accidents. This is the story of one that wasn’t. The first of a trilogy of storytelling pieces inspired by dark folklore and murder ballads, in which the steel mills of Southwestern Pennsylvania play a pivotal role. Individual tickets on sale December 2020.

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March 2021

Mark Clayton Southers
Mark Clayton Southers

Cyril
Written and Directed
By Mark Clayton Southers

When the newly-formed Forensic Science Channel interviews Forensic Pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, not only does he provide detailed insight into some of America’s most brutal and provocative cases, but new information emerges centered around murders that very rarely if ever make the headlines. Individual tickets on sale January 2021.

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May 2021

Vie Boheme
Vie Boheme

Viva:BLACK [Volume 1]
By Vie Boheme
Directed by Monteze Freeland

Viva:BLACK [Volume 1] is an evening of song, dance, poetry and performance art thematically presented through a series of vignettes. The show aims to sift the elusiveness of Black Girl Magic. It is historically charged, reflective of today’s social political landscape and candidly shared. Individual tickets on sale March 2021.

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Artist Assistance Fund Distributes Grants

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company has established an Artist Assistance Fund to distribute donations to our family of artists who have worked with Playwrights and are facing new needs. The fund is currently (July 10th) distributing a second round of grants, and will begin accepting applications again this winter. If you’d like to support the fund with a donation, please see our Donations page. Thanks to all the donors for this special fund!

An Online August Wilson Birthday Discussion

Hosted by Mark Clayton Southers, Producing Artistic Director
& Monteze Freeland, Producing Artistic Associate
Featuring four Broadway actors who have graced our stage

Watch the recording above of this live event from Monday, April 27th, 7-9 PM, or view it on Facebook

August Wilson with Wilsonian actors

With: Sala Udin, Rita Gregory, Chrystal Bates, Kevin Brown, Jonathan Berry, Kim El, Chuck Timbers, Candace Walker, Eugene Lee, Sam Lothard, Alan Bomar Jones, Bryant Bently, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cheryl El-Walker, Les Howard, Karla Payne, Montae Russell, Rico Parker, Ben Cain, Anthony Chisholm, Wali Jamal & Vanessa German.

A discussion about Mr. Wilson, personal memories and his impact on the careers of these noted Wilsonian actors.

The Ninety-Nine Chronicles

On May 11, 2015, Mark Clayton Southers was seriously injured in a car accident. Over the next year he wrote ninety-nine essays documenting his recovery. Read Mark’s original introduction to the Ninety-Nine Chronicles below.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has theatres closed nationwide, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company has established an Artist Assistance Fund to distribute donations to our family of artists who have worked with Playwrights and are facing new needs. (As of July 10th, the fund is now distributing its second round of grants, and will resume taking applications this winter.)

In support of this mission, we have asked ninety-nine actors and friends of PPTCO to each read one of the chronicles, and will post them below. The videos are free, but we ask for your contribution to support actors in need through our Artist Assistance Fund. PPTCO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Donate to PPTCO’s Artist Assistance Fund

Welcome to the Ninety-Nine Chronicles – Mark Clayton Southers.
April 4, 2020. Mark Clayton Southers explains Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company’s Artist Assistance Fund, and the Ninety-Nine Chronicles video project.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

 

Chronicle #8: I’m a Rag Doll. Read by Eugene Lee.
Posted Late June 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

 

Chronicle #11: Moving Day. Read by Rita Gregory.
Posted July 16 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

 

Chronicle #31: Here we go Vertigo! Read by Boykin Anthony.
Posted January 20 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

 

Chronicle #7: Mike & Ike’s. Read by Jonathan Berry.
Posted September 21 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

 

Chronicles #25: Hank II. Read by Bryant Bently.
By Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #48: Willie’s Boy in Da Burg. Read by Carter Redwood.
Posted December 3 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #76 : Dog Shit. Read by Mel Packer.
Posted March 30 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #10: “Preach! Oh Mama Preach!”. Read by Kim El.
Posted July 22 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #33: The Body Poetic. Read by Terrance Hayes.
Posted January 30 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #62: The Underground. Read by Tony Bingham.
Posted February 13 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.
The third of nine Dark Chronicles: experiences while unconscious immediately after the accident.

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Chronicle #6: Crying. Read by Monteze Freeland.
Posted July 19 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers (written in June).

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Chronicle #62: The Underground. Read by Wali Jamal.
Posted February 13 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.
The third of nine Dark Chronicles: experiences while unconscious immediately after the accident.

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Chronicle #17: Anxiety, Part 1. Read by LeLand Gantt.
Posted August 7 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #61: The Revolving Rooms. Read by Tami Dixon.
Posted February 13 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.
The second of nine Dark Chronicles: experiences while unconscious immediately after the accident.

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Chronicle #47: I Almost Died. Read by Cyril Wecht.
Posted October 27 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #19: Fear of the Black Man. Read by Ben Cain.
Posted October 1 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #22: L. B. P.. Read by Ray Werner.
Posted August 17 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #69: Magical Hands. Read by Rico Parker.
Posted May 26, 2016 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #34: Faith. Read by Charles Timbers.
Posted August 30, 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #4: Prayer for my Leg. Read by Will Williams.
Posted July 29, 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

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Chronicle #20: Pills, pills, pills! Read by David Conrad.
Posted September 6, 2015 by Mark Clayton Southers.

To comment on this video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

Donate to PPTCO’s Artist Assistance Fund

Original Introduction to the Collected Chronicles, November 2015

Hello and welcome to The Chronicles.

This page holds the collection of my total Chronicles. Let me say this. I’m an artist. This page is dedicated to my journals as I recover and heal from my auto accident. These chronicles listed here include edgy ones which were not posted on Facebook due to their raw and frank nature. As I said earlier, I’m an artist.

That being said, I want to share with folks my honest and frank stories about the reality of recovery, and the things that I witness, from a first-hand account. Some folks may feel uncomfortable reading some of these. But the reason why I’m able to express myself in such an engaging way is because of my bold attempt to be truthful in my recollections.

A few people have voiced to me their disdain about some of these chronicles, some without even reading them thoroughly. Hey, I’m well aware that I’m not going to please everyone, but the truth of the matter is, I’m not out to please anyone. These chronicles have personally been very therapeutic for me.

I should mention however that I’ve also been told from friends and strangers via Facebook replies, in boxed messages, text, emails, phone calls and in person that they have been inspired, uplifted and freed of guilt about expressing themselves. So I invite you to join me as I continue my journey through LIFE.

I must say that some of my chronicles can be considered rated R. But I think that they are tactful in my approach to tell a truthful story.

Thank you for joining me here. Enjoy your read.

Mark Clayton Southers


Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Announces Grants to Local Playwrights

[Note on March 23, 2020: Due to the current pandemic, various readings and productions listed below have been postponed. Please check with the individual presenters for details.]

Pittsburgh (February 17, 2020) — The Executive Board of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company and its Founder and Producing Artistic Director Mark Clayton Southers are proud to announce that they are presenting $10,000 in grants to nine local playwrights to assist them in their current playwriting projects, as well as to support one new production of an existing work.

PPTCO’s performance space is currently being remodeled, and delays in this process have led us to postpone our planned Spring 2020 production, which would have closed our sixteenth season. Instead, PPTCO has decided to offer these grants to encourage and support local playwrights.

After very successful productions of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and LeLand Gantt’s Rhapsody in Black, Mr. Southers made the decision to move our 2019-2020 season’s third and final play, Dr. Kyle Bostian’s world premiere Pyramid Builders, to open our 2020-2021 season this fall.

Board President Dr. Michael Ramsay said, “It is our hope that these grants to local playwrights help them in honing their scripts through readings and productions.”

These are the nine playwrights who have received $1000 grants:

1. Ty Greenwood, for his play “Death Dream”.

To be performed at Kelly-Strayhorn’s Alloy Studios on April 3rd, 2020. “Jabari has two voices inside his head, Ebony & Ivory. These voices are his conscience, so he says. We journey through various depths of Jabari’s mind as he recounts traumatic experiences in his life.” More info.

2. Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D., for her play “AfroRoma: A Love Story”.

Work in progress. “A Pan-African love and travel narrative and romantic, musical comedy about an African-American woman who travels to Europe to explore the African Diaspora and finds both romance and a sisterhood of goddesses.”

3. Lissa Brennan, for part 2 of her “Grist From The Mill” trilogy, “1943”.

Premieres at Carnegie Stage on April 24th and 25th. A storytelling work in which in the steel mills of Southwestern Pennsylvania play a pivotal role, inspired by the murder ballads of Irish folk tradition and informed by regional history. Tickets and info.

4. Sharon Flake, for her play “The Skin I’m In”.

To be performed May 1st-10th 2020 at Alumni Theater Company. Sharon G. Flake adapts her acclaimed first novel “The Skin I’m In”, published in 2000 by Hyperion Books. It depicts the story of seventh-grader Maleeka Madison who has low self-esteem because of her dark skin color. More info.

5. Jamaica Johnson, for her play “Untitled”.

Work in progress. “The endeavor to survive is a constant battle between black youth and society. The everyday life of black teens in America almost seems like a drama itself. Death, broken homes, pressure of society, stereotypes, racism, colorism and much and the everyday lives of black teens are painted through dance, spoken word, song and theatre.”

6. Kyle Bostian, for his play “Pyramid Builders”.

To be produced in Fall 2020 by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. “Ancient myths. Modern agriculture. Tribalism. War. Climate change. White supremacy. In 2012 and 2032, two diverse sets of characters experience the impact of these things on their lives in an exploration of the rise — and fall? — of civilization.”

7. Alumni Theater Company, for the ATC New Works Showcase.

To be performed March 6-7, 2020 at Alumni Theater Company. Excerpts of new works created by the ATC Professional Ensemble. More info.

8. Judy Meiksin, for her play “Seeking Transparency”.

Work in progress. “A gifted young woman who believes she has no chances in life reinvents herself as she is professionally groomed for the field of science by an unscrupulous professor.”

9. Deonna Dykes for her play “Black History Month: A Homage to our Ancestors”.

To be performed February 29 and March 1 2020. “Four teens explore the nature of their ancestry through a series of poems and monologues. They grow to appreciate their history and pay homage to their fallen ancestors.” Tickets and info.

10. In addition, the August Wilson Society received $1000 to support its production of August Wilson’s “How I Learned What I Learned” at the August Wilson Center on March 13, 2020 at 8 PM.

Written and originally performed by August Wilson himself in 2003, “How I Learned What I Learned” is the autobiographical story of a young black artist’s journey through the hardships of growing up in the Hill District, ultimately leading to his success as a writer. Tickets and info.

 

 

Help Us Grow

miss-julie-boysPittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company is committed to developing and showcasing the works of local playwrights; from accomplished masters like August Wilson and George S. Kaufman to promising new talents.

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Our productions are also supported by:

Opportunity Fund, Heinz Endowments, Advancing Black Arts, Pittsburgh Foundation, RK Mellon, RAD logos

Vie Boheme photo by Bill Cameron Photography