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2018 Productions

February – March 2018

In The Heat of the Night

Adapted by Matt Pelfrey
Directed by Monteze Freeland

“Extremely well-written, well-acted, well-directed. It’s an important piece of theater.”
– Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

“Unwavering in confronting the racism and violence that permeates the story.”
– Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“The tension created by the townsfolk’s inveterate racism coupled with the intriguing mystery narrative doubles the play’s theatrical clout and emotional impact.”
– David Zuchowski, Pittsburgh Owl Scribe

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.

Reviews: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ‘Burgh VivantPittsburgh Owl ScribeCity Paper

May – June 2018

King Hedley II

By August Wilson
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers, Monteze Freeland, and Dennis Robinson Jr.
Outdoors at the August Wilson House, 1727 Bedford Avenue

“A tense and moving depiction of lives caught in a quicksand of desperation and violence.” – Sharon Eberson, Post-Gazette

“Break-out, awesome performances….This show has power, a loving power that ties you to itself.” – Jason Clearfield, Pittsburgh in the Round

Peddling stolen refrigerators in the feeble hope of making enough money to open a video store, King Hedley, a man whose self-worth is built on self-delusion, is scraping in the dirt of an urban backyard trying to plant seeds where nothing will grow. Getting, spending, killing and dying in a world where getting is hard and killing is commonplace are threads woven into this 1980’s installment in the author’s renowned cycle of plays about the black experience in America. Drawing on characters established in Seven GuitarsKing Hedley II shows the shadows of the past reaching into the present as King seeks retribution for a lie perpetrated by his mother regarding the identity of his father. (Samuel French)

Reviews: Post-GazettePittsburgh in the RoundPittsburgh Tatler

Previews: Post-GazetteCity Paper

September – October 2018

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

By August Wilson
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers
Part of the August Wilson Center’s Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival

“It’s extraordinary watching the exchange of energies and talent between them in exceptionally powerful performances.”
–  Ted Hoover, Pittsburgh Current

“The city’s premier interpreter of August Wilson’s work … yet another searing and soulful production.”
– Brian Pope, Pittsburgh in the Round

“Wonderful performances and powerful scenes”
– Chris Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Set during a single afternoon in the recording studio of the famous blues singer Ma Rainey, this classic is the first of Wilson’s ten-play American Century Cycle, now considered a staple of American theater. A collaboration between the August Wilson Center and Mark Clayton Southers of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company.

Reviews: Pittsburgh in the RoundPittsburgh CurrentPost-GazetteBurgh Vivant

Previews: City PaperNew Pittsburgh CourierPittsburgh CurrentPittsburgh in the RoundKDKA video feature

November – December 2018

The Ray Werner Play Festival

Five plays, five stories, five chances to see each one.

Festival Coordinator: Monteze Freeland

The festival featured five world premiere plays from Pittsburgh’s own Ray Werner:

A love story that tears at the heart of celibacy for two Capuchin priests in primitive Papua New Guinea. More details.

Raphael’s Angels
A teenager with Tourette Syndrome brings chaos, along with redemption, to a troubled Catholic High School. More details.

Our Lady of Drubbleduffy
In the far West of Ireland, a miracle of the Blessed Mother backfires. More details.

An Evening of One Acts
In The Stuttering Pig, a scheme to cheat a deaf and dumb tinker fiddler goes awry. And in Christmas Tassel Bell, a child’s Christmas story prepares a family for some unexpected guests. More details.

Playwright profile: Pittsburgh In The Round

Photos by Candace Michelle Perdue, Christopher Chapman Sr.
Illustration by Brandon Jennings, Graphic design by Larkin Werner.