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2019 Productions

February – March 2019

Savior Samuel

By Mark Clayton Southers
Directed by Monteze Freeland
Dramaturgy by Dr. Kyle Bostian

“A new play with the potential to fill a void of despair with uplift and hope.”
– Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“The writing in Savior Samuel is so meritorious and captivating, I feel the play has an off-Broadway and pan-national theater future. See it now before it becomes famous.”
– David Zuchowski, Pittsburgh Owl Scribe

“A sprawling, extravagant play”
– Ted Hoover, Pittsburgh Current

In Savior Samuel, an African-American family is trying to survive in the Midwest circa 1877 when an unexplained event changes their lives as well as those who interact with them.

Savior Samuel is the second of Mark Clayton Southers’ 19th Century series of plays exploring lives and themes of African-American life in the 19th century, following 2016’s smash hit Miss Julie, Clarissa and John.

Reviews: Pittsburgh Owl ScribeCity PaperPost-GazettePittsburgh CurrentPittsburgh in the RoundPittsburgh TatlerBurgh Vivant

Previews: WESA FM (with audio)Post-Gazette (with video)KDKA radio interviewPittsburgh MagazineTrib LiveTrib video interview

August – September 2019

Gem of the Ocean

By August Wilson
Directed by Andrea Frye
In association with August Wilson House 
Presented outdoors at 1839 Wylie Ave. in Pittsburgh’s Hill District

“Aunt Ester has come home….a searing, solid production”
– Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“It feels that Ester could, if she wanted, snap her fingers and detach the room from its soil and send it sailing into the sky…fantastic, unbelievable, and affecting.”
– Alex Gordon, City Paper

“Compelling and dramatically rewarding”
– Ted Hoover, Pittsburgh Current

“There is something otherworldly and enchanting in seeing Wilson’s fictional house, with its historically-rich characters and conflicts, conjured into existence on the very site he dreamed it.”
– W. Arons, Pittsburgh Tatler

“Vivid and memorable”
– Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh in the Round

August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean features the potent power of Aunt Ester, Wilson’s gatekeeper to spiritual matters, and the hearts of the Hill residents she loves. When Aunt Ester opens her home at 1839 Wylie Avenue to the troubled Citizen Barlow, a recent migrant from the rural South, a battle ensues not only within Citizen, who begs Aunt Ester to “wash his soul,” but also between Citizen and Caesar Wilks, a stern man of the law, threatened by Citizen’s independence and defiance of his authority. As Solly Two Kings becomes a mentor for Citizen and a model of a man, bound by nothing but freedom, Citizen must choose a past steeped in fear, or a future made glorious with destiny and purpose.

We performed August Wilson’s masterwork outdoors at the actual location given in the play for 285-year-old Aunt Ester’s home, 1839 Wylie Avenue.

Reviews: Pittsburgh Post-GazetteCity PaperPittsburgh CurrentPittsburgh in the RoundPittsburgh TatlerMoundsville blogBurgh Vivant (video)

November 2022

Rhapsody in Black

Written and Performed
By LeLand Gantt*
Directorial Consultant Estelle Parsons

One night only: November 15th 2019
Presented at the August Wilson Center

On November 15th 2019 we presented McKeesport native LeLand Gantt’s acclaimed solo show Rhapsody in Black at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue. Developed at New York’s famed Actors Studio, the show has toured the US and Canada to rave reviews, and PPTCO was proud to host its Pittsburgh premiere.