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2023 Productions

March 2023

Shantytown. The Ballad Of Fr. James Cox.

Book, music and lyrics by Ray Werner
Composer and Music Director: Dwayne Fulton
With arrangements by Mike Gallagher, Bruce Foley, Jerry McCarthy & Walter Woodward
Directed by Gregory Lehane

“Shantytown: The Ballad of Father James Cox, with a book and lyrics by Ray Werner, is a premiere musical history lesson that would seem to be a must for Pittsburghers of any age. It’s all there and more, brimming with sincerity and healthy skepticism.’’
– Sharon Eberson, onStage Pittsburgh

Reviews: Pittsburgh OwlscribeOnStage Pittsburgh

A new musical about the amazing Pastor of Old St. Patrick’s in The Strip who fed over 3 million meals to the homeless during The Great Depression.

April 2023

Pyramid Builders

By Karuna Das
Directed by Bianca LaVerne Jones
World premiere!

“A fascinating dystopia. The cast is terrific!” – Michael Buzzelli, Burgh Vivant

Reviews: Burgh Vivant

In the summer of 2012, a chance encounter with homeless teenager Maya propels corporate executive Farrah on a journey into the depths of her soul. For them to help each other heal from parallel childhood traumas, the older woman will need to recognize what lies beneath her compulsion to rescue the youth.

Twenty-four years later, in the midst of a civil war and food and water shortages, orphaned teenager Satya reluctantly takes refuge with Black Lives activist Octavia and her ally Cassie. As white nationalists close in, can the women build bridges that will lead to freedom?

June 2023

12:52 The Mike Webster Story

By Dr. Randall Benson and Ross Howard
Directed by Marcus Muzopappa

“Sanchez and Kumar…are electric in their scenes together…. Director Marcus Muzopappa gets at the humor… but, more importantly, he gets at the heart of it.”
– Michael Buzzelli, Burgh Vivant

Reviews: Burgh VivantonStage PittsburghEntertainment Central PittsburghPittsburgh Owlscribe

The story of “Iron Mike” Webster (1952-2002), the first NFL player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disorder linked to repeated head impacts, and a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers for a record-breaking fifteen seasons.

This production was also presented as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival earlier in June.

August–September 2023

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

By August Wilson
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers
An outdoor production at August Wilson House, 1727 Bedford Avenue in the Lower Hill
A coproduction with August Wilson House

“Brown is sensational as the beleaguered Holly…. Watts is charismatic. He commands the stage every time he steps into a scene…. Mark Clayton Southers does a magnificent job with the material…. An emotional experience.”
– Michael Buzzelli, Burgh Vivant

Reviews: OnStage Pittsburgh, Burgh Vivant, WESA, Pittsburgh Owl Scribe

August Wilson’s Tony-nominated drama set in a boarding house in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1911. The play explores the lives of African Americans at the start of the Great Migration to the North as they seek their own identities and contend with racism and discrimination.

October 2023

The Bluegrass Mile

Written and directed by Mark Clayton Southers
World premiere!

“A delight to watch and uncomfortable to witness…. It’s wonderful when entertainment can also provide a venue for introspection.”
– Mac Hoover, onStage Pittsburgh

This world premiere drama about Black horse jockeys in the late 1800’s is the latest installment in Mark Clayton Southers’ 19th Century Collection of plays.

Reviews: onStage PittsburghBurgh VivantEntertainment CentralPittsburgh Owlscribe

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company thanks the following for supporting our season of plays and special projects:

Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Fund
Hillman Foundation
Allegheny Regional Asset District
Bloomberg Philanthropies
The Heinz Endowments
Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh
The Opportunity Fund
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
The Pittsburgh Foundation
Richard King Mellon Foundation
Eden Hall Foundation