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Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company presents three bold and powerful plays for our 2017-2018 season, and celebrates the return of our Theatre Festival in Black and White.

East Texas Hot Links by actor/playwright Eugene Lee (PPTCO’s Two Trains Running, Pittsburgh Public’s Between Riverside and Crazy) takes us to a 1955 backwoods cafe where a celebration can’t conceal the lurking danger.

In The Heat of the Night is Matt Pelfrey’s stage adaptation of John Ball’s novel that introduced the world to Virgil Tibbs and inspired the well-loved films and TV series.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is August Wilson’s masterpiece, set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911, which we will present outdoors at the historic August Wilson House.

We finish our season with the return of our signature Theatre Festival in Black and White.

Subscriptions are now available for our 2017-2018 Season. Save with one low price for admission to all three great plays! (The Theatre Festival in Black and White coming in Summer 2018 will be ticketed separately, and is not included in subscriptions.)

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East Texas Hot Links

The cast of East Texas Hot Links

By Eugene Lee
Directed by Montae Russell

September 29th – November 5th, 2017

It’s summer, 1955, in the piney woods of East Texas where local men wander into Charlesetta’s Top o’ the Hill Cafe almost every night for comfort, solace and companionship. Times are changing, the Klan is active and young black men have been disappearing or turning up dead. This night, Delmus wants to celebrate getting a new job but the other regulars are skeptical. They try to warn him as they joke, feed the jukebox and play cards until betrayal catches all of them and life at Top o’ the Hill is changed forever.


Kevin Brown
Sam Lothard
Cheryl El-Walker
Jonathan Berry
Monteze Freeland
Chuck Timbers
Les Howard
Taylor Moss

Stage Manager: Tashia Scott-Terri

Tickets Now Available

In The Heat of the Night

Adapted by Matt Pelfrey
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers

February 16th – March 25th, 2018

Acclaimed playwright Matt Pelfrey’s adaptation of John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night based on the award-winning book that inspired the Oscar-winning film and the Emmy-winning television series.

It’s 1962. A hot August night lies heavy over the small town of Argo, Alabama. A dead white man is discovered and the local police arrest a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs. The police learn that their prime suspect is in fact a homicide detective from California. As it happens, Tibbs becomes the racially-tense community’s single hope in solving a brutal murder that is turning up no witnesses, no motives, and no clues.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

By August Wilson
Directed by Monteze Freeland

On location, outdoors at the August Wilson Home, 1727 Bedford Avenue

April 27th – June 3rd, 2018

Set in a black boarding house in Pittsburgh in 1911, this drama by the author of The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, and Fences is an installment in the author’s series chronicling black life in each decade of this century. Each denizen of the boarding house has a different relationship to a past of slavery, as well as to the urban present. They include the proprietors, an eccentric clairvoyant with a penchant for old country voodoo, a young homeboy up from the South, and a mysterious stranger who is searching for his wife.

13th Theatre Festival in Black and White

Theme: Energy!
Cheryl El-Walker, Festival Coordinator

May 31st – June 10th 2018

Our signature one-act theatre festival returns for its thirteenth year with another selection of entertaining short plays.

Photo credits:
East Texas Hot Links cast photo by Gail Manker
In the Heat of the Night, produced by Shattered Globe Theatre, Photo by Michael Brosilow.
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, produced by Mark Taper Forum, Photo by Craig Schwartz.

The Battle of Homestead Foundation presents a play by PPTCO’s founding artistic director Mark Clayton Southers

The Homestead Strike of 1892

An original play in one act by Mark Clayton Southers

September 15, 16, 22 and 23: Fridays & Saturdays, 7:00 PM
Matinees: September 22 1:00 PM, September 23 2:00 PM
The Pump House, 880 East Waterfront Drive, Munhall, PA

The dramatic battle of Homestead comes to life as former steelworker and Pittsburgh playwright Mark Clayton Southers stages his original one-act play at the historic Pump House in Munhall, the scene of the battle’s fiercest conflict. Six public performances run September 15-23.

Mark Southers is no stranger to the heat and hard labor demanded of Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, having worked in the Edgar Thompson and Irvin works during his early career before becoming a playwright and stage director. He was profoundly moved by the stories surrounding the Homestead strike of 1892 when the Battle of Homestead Foundation commissioned him to write a play commemorating the 125th anniversary of this clash between steelworkers and mill owners. Southers’ The Homestead Strike of 1892 relives the moments before, during, and after that brutal conflict.

“I was in the steelworkers’ union 18-plus years, and it wasn’t until I began to research the Battle of Homestead that I really understood the sacrifices those workers and their neighbors made for the cause of labor and fair wages,” says Southers. “They may have lost that battle in 1892, but they set the precedent for working people, including African Americans, to demand their piece of prosperity!”

Cast to play the real-life characters in this American tragedy are favorite local actors Wali Jamal, Michael Sullivan, David Crawford, Mel Packer, Ken Champion, Marcus Muzapoppa, Sara Fisher-Ventura, Arjun Kumar, and Susan McGregor-Laine.

Limited seating: Get your tickets now.
Presented by The Battle of Homestead Foundation with support from these sponsors:


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Keepin’ up with Playwrights

Pittsburgh and St. Louis casts of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John meet in St. Louis

Playwright Mark Clayton Southers and Miss Julie's St. Louis cast, with Ron Himes, founder of St. Louis Black Rep
Playwright Mark Clayton Southers and Miss Julie’s St. Louis cast, with Ron Himes, founder of St. Louis Black Rep

September 2016: The Black Rep in St. Louis, the largest professional African-American theatre company in the nation, opened its 40th season with Pittsburgh playwright Mark Clayton Southers’ Miss Julie, Clarissa and John. The production was picked up after its world premiere at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre in March 2016. Miss Julie received rave reviews both in Pittsburgh and St. Louis!

St. Louis cast, Playwrights managing director Joy Southers, actors Kevin Brown and Chrystal Bates, production team member Ashley Southers
St. Louis cast, Playwrights managing director Joy Southers, actors Kevin Brown and Chrystal Bates, production team member Ashley Southers

Veteran actors Crystal Bates (Clarissa) and Kevin Brown (John) from the first production of Miss Julie traveled to the Midwest to give support to the sophomore production and had an opportunity to see their characters played by different actors.

Playwrights hopes to keep the momentum going and see more productions of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John on national and international stages in the future.

PPTCO World Premiere Miss Julie, Clarissa and John heads to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, National Black Theatre Festival

Tami Dixon, Kevin Brown and Chrystal Bates (l-r) in PPTCO’s Pittsburgh production of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John (2016)

March 2017: Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company will travel this summer to the prestigious Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem NC, with last season’s hit play Miss Julie, Clarissa and John by Mark Clayton Southers. The production will feature its original cast, pictured here: Chrystal Bates, Kevin Brown and Tami Dixon.

We have received a generous matching grant of $10,000 for this production. You can double the impact of your donation by donating today.

Our productions are also supported by: