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Shantytown Program

Shantytown. The Ballad Of Fr. James Cox.

Book, music and lyrics by Ray Werner
Composer and Music Director: Dwayne Fulton
Composers/Arrangers: Mike Gallagher, Bruce Foley, Jerry F. McCarthy & Walter Woodward
Directed by Gregory Lehane**
March 17th – 26th, 2023 (New dates)
At Madison Arts Center, 3401 Milwaukee Street
Pittsburgh premiere!

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.

Father James CoxMichael Fuller
Emma and others, chorusMichele Bankole
Catherine (secretary)Dominique Briggs
Johnny and others, chorusChris Cattell
Young Blood and others, chorusSam Lothard
Stephen (reporter)Joseph McGranaghan*
Larry, Hoover, Judge EllenbogenJ. Alex Noble*
Lazarus and others, chorusCharles E. Timbers Jr.
*Members of Actors Equity Association

Setting: Shantytown circa 1930s, the Great Depression.

This production runs approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.


Put A Mark On Your LifeLazarus
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya (Irish Trad.)Catherine, Chorus
Let’s Move OnChorus
Broken ChildEmma
Cross That BridgeJames
The Haircut SongYoung Blood
HopeJames, Chorus
Salute This Flag, You JagChorus
The Crucifix SongJames
This Song Belongs To MeEmma
Happy Birthday, Herbert HooverChorus
Fr. Cox, Yes He CanChorus
The Cynic’s SongStephen
Keep On CastingCatherine, Chorus
Who Was He/OblivionStephen, Catherine, Chorus
Find Yourself A ParableStephen, Catherine, Chorus

The Audience is encouraged to be engaged and join in when invited by the actors. Or at your whim.


Welcome to our new and permanent home, the Madison Arts Center! We celebrate the opening of our 20th season with one of our most-produced playwrights, the iconic Pittsburgher Ray Werner. I’m super excited for you all to see this production. A lot of work has gone into Shantytown over the past several years to bring it to our stage.

We appreciate your support and hope you continue to come and see the rest of our season. Sit back and fasten your seat belts for this fun and exciting musical!

Mark Clayton Southers
Founder & Producing Artistic Director

Who Was He?

Who was this legendary Pastor of Old St. Patrick’s during the Great Depression? Who was this priest who printed the first free food script, fed more than 3 million meals to the homeless, saved thousands of lives, led the first major march on our national’s capital with 25,000 ragged, weary and jobless men, and was nominated to run for President? Who was he, this first preacher on national radio, who defended the Jews and went head to head against the anti-Semites?

Who was he, this forgotten Pastor of Old St. Patrick’s in the Strip?

Shantytown explores who he was and celebrates what he accomplished. Thank you for taking this journey back to a 1930s Strip District for the forgotten story of this amazing Pastor of the Poor, Fr. James Renshaw Cox.

We hope you’ll be awed by his courage, his ideas, his love for his people, his rise to near sainthood and his survival of a federal trial for a lottery scam. And come away with what made this man so beloved, a story that will stick with you, along with a few new songs to hum on the way home.

About the cast

Michele Bankole (Emma and others, chorus) is an African-American soprano of Creek descent raised in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Her soprano voice has been described as stunning and beautiful. Ms. Bankole has performed with Red River Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, as well as the Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She has also performed with Prime Stage Theatre in its production of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and its most recent production of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Her most recent endeavor is co-founding The Colour of Song: A Vocal Arts Company and writing her first libretto. She lives with her husband in Wilmerding.

Dominique Briggs (Catherine) has appeared in numerous productions including A Man of No Importance, The Green Book, Kalopsia the Musical, The Ballad of Emmett Till, King Hedley II and as Nellie in Mark Clayton Southers’ Savior Samuel in Pittsburgh, reprising her role on the National Black Theater Festival stage. Film appearances include Southpaw, House of Stones and Set Free. Dominique is also a children’s author, writing her first children’s book, Rhea the Great Detective and the Case of the Missing Mrs. Bearington, released March 2019, then later converted to a TV/film pilot in March 2021. Ms. Briggs was also the artist resident at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh where she featured another Rhea the Great Detective story using the museum’s exhibits as tools for immersive storytelling and play. When not acting or writing, Dominique loves performing as a voiceover artist and advocate for the arts.

Chris Cattell (Johnny and others, chorus) is grateful for the opportunity to perform with Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre for the first time. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Point Park University, and went on to work as Cecil in Amy Hartman’s world premiere of Disinfecting Edwin at the Open Stage Theatre. Other credits include the Thompson Kid in The Umbrella Man with the REP, Matthew in Wild with Quantum, the Messenger & numerous understudy roles in Hamlet with the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. Additionally, Chris shares with the community tools for accessing natural mindfulness, with or without traditional meditating.

Sam Lothard (Young Blood and others, chorus) was born in Youngstown Ohio and is now a proud Pittsburgher. Excited to again be performing in Shantytown. You may have seen Sam in Dr Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Monteze Freeland’s Kalopsia, or John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Sam also performed in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s A Raisin in The Sun. Other credits include: Shakespeare’s As You Like It with PICT and Project Amelia with Bricolage theater. No stranger to Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Sam also performed as David in Mark Southers’ award-winning film Cyril, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and King Hedley II, all with Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater. It’s a blessing to be a part of such a talented group of performers and having this opportunity to again work with Greg, Dwayne, and Ray. “Put God first. Shoot your shot. Chase your dreams.” Big Sam

Joseph McGranaghan* (Stephen) is thrilled to be back onstage with Pittsburgh Playwrights, having last appeared here more than a decade ago in F.J. Hartland’s Postcards From a Dead Dog. Recent Pittsburgh credits include The Cherry Orchard (Quantum) and Barefoot in the Park (Pittsburgh Public Theatre). New York credits include work with: LaMama ETC, Mabou Mines, SITI Company, Magis Theatre, Hudson Warehouse, Storm Theatre, Workshop Theatre Company and Fault Line Theatre. Regional: Asolo Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Clarence Brown Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Lantern Theatre, Centenary Stage Company and others. Film & TV: Mayor of Kingstown, American Rust, Liberte: A Call to Spy, Hack My Life, The Lucky 6. Training: FSU/Asolo Conservatory. “This one is for Mo, a true believer with a skeptic’s wit.”

Michael Fuller (Father James Cox) is excited to be back on stage, working with this wonderful crew of people. He was last seen at Point Park’s The Rep where he played Brad in A Devil Inside. Other Rep productions include Steve in Becky’s New Car, Potts in Mojo, Capt. Baines in Soldier’s Heart and Happy in Death of a Salesman. He’s appeared in several productions with Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theater: Mike Glavin in Sive, Barry in House and Garden and Charles in Mamet’s Race. In addition to working as an actor, Michael is the Chair of the Theater Dept. at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12. He’s also taught in Carnegie Mellon University’s Drama Pre-College Program and Point Park University.

J. Alex Noble* (Larry, Hoover, Judge Ellenbogen) is excited to be making his Pittsburgh Playwrights debut. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park grad, Alex has been seen onstage with Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret, Quantum Theater, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Westmoreland Performing Arts, and West Virginia Public Theater. Favorite roles include: Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls, Sam Weinberg in A Few Good Men for Pittsburgh Public Theater and Jameson in The Double Threat Trio at Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret. He would like to thank Greg, Monteze, and Mark for the opportunity to work on a new Pittsburgh story. AEA since 2012.

Charles E. Timbers Jr. (Lazarus and others, chours) is a member in good standing in the SAG-AFTRA union. He has been performing for more than 3 decades in many stage productions here in Pittsburgh and across the country. He was recently seen in Jitney with PPTCO (2022). He is best known for his role as Cutler in the August Wilson play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in which he received the Theater RoundTable Excellence in Acting award in Columbus Ohio (2016) and mentioned in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for best supporting actor. Charles has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera in The Summer King, the Josh Gibson story, and with the Mendelssohn Choir as Narrator in Let My People Go: A Spiritual Journey, the Harriet Tubman story. He has appeared in several movies including the made-for-TV movie ABC’s The Jacksons: An American Dream as Dr. Hayes. He has appeared in multiple short films and student films with Point Park University and CCAC. He is a voiceover artist and a producer and director with PCTV in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Demaskus Theater Collective and Arts Renaissance Collective.

Creative Team

PlaywrightRay Werner
Composer and Music DirectorDwayne Fulton
DirectorGregory Lehane**
Stage ManagerJess Levine
Assistant Stage ManagerJamaica Johnson
Scenic DesignerTony Ferrieri
Lighting DesignerNicole White
Costume DesignerKim Brown
Shadow PuppetryNick Lehane
Composers/ArrangersMike Gallagher, Bruce Foley, Jerry F. McCarthy, Walter Woodward
** Gregory Lehane is a member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) 

About the Creative Team

Ray Werner (Playwright) graduated from Duquesne University in 1964 and studied playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. But advertising grabbed him, and he worked as a copywriter/producer and then Creative Director at a major Pittsburgh ad agency. Later, he started his own company, and after a good run, sold it to pursue other writing. A member of the Pittsburgh Ad Federation Hall of Fame, his business card reads, “Writer, Baker, Music Maker.”

Ray’s music and lyrics have found their way into numerous TV commercials including H. J. Heinz, Mellon Bank, Anheuser-Busch and his campaign for PA Tourism, “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.”

Most of his 15 productions have been with Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater. He is thrilled that Shantytown is having its Pittsburgh premiere at Madison Arts Center.

He is grateful to his loving wife Susan of 56 years, their 4 children, Larkin, Brian, Brendan and Katie, and their 7 grandchildren.

Ray credits all he has to growing up in a home filled with the music, stories, songs, characters, and cronies his parents welcomed in Freedom PA. Including hoboes. It put a a mark on his life, and it’s where Shantytown got its spark.

Dwayne Fulton (Composer and Music Director) With over 30 years of Theatre and Musical Performance, Dwayne Fulton fully understands the power of music and arts and its influence in the earth. He is the founder and Chief Executive of Kingdom People Productions, Inc. (1999) and The SouLyfe Cafe (2003). He has produced and co-produced over 7 musical projects moving well over 10,000 units to date: Kingdom People, The Journey (2000), Mt. Ararat Church, Called To Relationship (2008) & Only Jesus (2010), Anita Levels, Heal The Soul (2006), Anthony ‘Pops” Mitchell and Friends, Because of My Faith (2012), The Brydge, Livin Lyfe Volume 1 (2014). Other artists include Carrie R. Wood (Country Artist), Jamal Peek (Hip Hop Artist), Scribe (Hip Hop Artist), Margo B. (Pop, also stars in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and LoRen Knight (Pop). Dwayne is an accomplished pianist. His music career stems back from the eighth grade to the present. He’s had the honor of accompanying such great musicians as Grover Washington, Jr., Roger Humphries, Sean Jones, and Nathan Davis. He’s shared the stage with other greats such as Keith Sweat, Guy, Fred Hammond, Bobby Jones, Kirk Franklin, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Michael Bublé. In 2011 he was hired as the Musical Director for the opera Gospel at Colonus with the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, and in 2012 he composed his first opera short for the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh’s Summer Festival, Bridal Suite. In 2013 he composed his 2nd opera short, The Mayoral Suite, also for the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh. In 2010 he was the Musical Director for a production of Raisin (a musical adaptation of A Raisin In The Sun) by Kuntu Repertory Theatre, and in 2012 was hired as the Musical Director for the stage play Who Do You Love by New York playwright Shaunda Miles of DeMaskus Productions.

He produced, co-wrote, and starred in an Easter presentation called King of Every Nation (2006). He also produced and co-wrote Christmas at The Mount (a Christmas Carol adaptation) in 2013. Must Be Love is his most recent work, producing both songs and script. In 2017, Fulton composed his first full-length opera with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, A Gathering of Sons. This production met with such success that the last performance was filmed and produced to be aired nationally on PPS 4 times in 2018. This production also won a Bronze medal in the 2019 New York Festivals and International T.V. & Film Awards presented at the NAB show in Las Vegas, NV. In December of 2018 Dwayne composed his 2nd full length opera with the Trilogy Opera Company of Newark, NJ, entitled Scott, Garner, Gray, Says Jimmy Baldwin, which performed to a full house at the beautiful NJPAC theatre in New Jersey. In March 2019, he completed composing scene and background music for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre’s production of Savior Samuel. In 2021, Fulton composed the music score for The Martinsville 7 with Trilogy Opera Company, which was submitted for a Pulitzer Prize. Currently he is composing and arranging music for two musicals, Shantytown, The Ballad of Father James Cox and Our Song (a DEMASKUS production) and an opera, BUMPY, The Ballad Of Bumpy Johnson. All three productions will premiere in the spring and fall of 2023. Dwayne is entering into movie scoring and soundtracks by scoring the music for a local movie in Pittsburgh, House of Stones, a Redwood Media production (to be released in 2023). Dwayne Fulton is a native of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. He has worked in various business and social structures, from counseling troubled youth and families, academic institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh (Program Coordinator) and St. Vincent College (Director of Pathways to Success). He currently serves as the Minister of Music/Director of Fine Arts at The Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, the largest church in the Pittsburgh area. Serving over 8000 members. Fulton continues to mentor young musicians, songwriters, and actors in the Pittsburgh area. He says the world is longing for music and creative arts that speak to the total man; body, soul, and spirit. Music that matters! He and his wife of 30 years are the proud parents of Brennon (33), Zachary (19), and Zoé (16).

Gregory Lehane (Director) has acted, directed, and taught in a career spanning over 50 years. His work has been seen in Los Angeles, in several regional theaters, and in New York where he was a founding member of the Primary Stages Company and directed three world premieres. His international career includes work in Canada, London, Paris, Moscow, and Cairo. He has been nominated for an Emmy for outstanding direction twice. He has directed Ringo Starr and Big Bird. He holds the rank of Professor Emeritus in the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University where he had appointments in the Schools of Drama and Music, taught acting and directing, and staged plays, musicals, and operas. During his tenure he served as head of the graduate and undergraduate directing programs and as Associate Head of the Drama School.

Jess Levine (Stage Manager) is excited to help bring you this inspiring story! Favorite credits include: Elf the Musical National Tour (PSM) as well as Plano (ASM) and The Cherry Orchard (ASM) with Quantum Theatre. Many thanks to friends and family for their continued support!

Nicole White (Lighting Designer) graduated from Point Park University with a degree in stage management and a focus in lighting design. She has gone on to design lights for musicals, concerts, and events across the tri-state area. Currently, she is the resident lighting designer at Alumni Theater Company and Little Lake Theater as well as a resident electrician at City Theater. Some of her recent designs include Young Playwrights Festival at City Theatre, Seussical at Little Lake, Trapped 2 at Alumni Theater Company, The Duquesne Club Immersive through Bricolage, The Glass Menagerie at Gateway High School, and The Inseparables at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Kim Brown (Costume Designer) holds Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Kim’s previous design work for Pittsburgh Playwrights includes Savior Samuel, Gem of the Ocean, and The Double V. An award-winning costume designer and president of Spotlight Costumes LLC located in Pittsburgh’s historic West End, Kim has provided wardrobe for movies and television shows shot locally and has designed makeup for local high school productions and television commercials. Recent projects include Moana Jr for Buffalo Elementary, Anything Goes for Peters High School, The Wizard of Oz for Western Beaver H.S. and Legally Blonde for Middlesex School (Concord MA). In addition to designing year-round for national amateur and professional theaters, theme parks and touring companies, Kim is a proud Resident Artist on the faculty of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School teaching theatrical makeup and costume design. Thank you for your support of live performance and this cast/crew for Shantytown.

Nick Lehane (Shadow Puppetry) Original work: Fly Away, a co-creation with Derek Fordjour (Petzel Gallery, Art Basel 2021, “The 10 Best Theater Moments of 2020”, New York Magazine); Chimpanzee (HERE Arts Center, The Barbican Centre). With PigPen Theatre Company: puppet design for The Tale of Despereaux (The Old Globe, Berkeley Rep) and The Phantom Folktales (Virgin Voyages); performer in The Old Man and The Old Moon. Select acting credits: This is Our Youth (Broadway); Fidelis (The Public); The Wanderers (City Theatre); The Cherry Orchard (Quantum Theatre); The Electric Baby (Quantum and Two River). Select puppeteering: 9,000 Paper Balloons (HERE Arts Center, The Japan Society); Robin Frohardt’s The Plastic Bag Store and The Pigeoning (Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, HERE); Petrushka (Giants are Small, New York Philharmonic, Barbican Centre); Doug Fitch’s El retablo de Maese Pedro (American Symphony Orchestra, Bard SummerScape); Madama Butterfly (The Metropolitan Opera); “Lore” (Amazon). Select Puppet Design: Wolf Play (Trinity Rep); Three Sisters (Two Rivers); Hood (Asolo Rep); The Current War (Quantum). Lehane was the lead puppeteer and puppet director for Alex D Corte’s ROY G BIV at Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept.

Tony Ferrieri (Scenic Designer) Awards and milestones include: 43 years with City Theatre, the Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award for Established Artist, New Works Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, “Designer of the Year” by Pittsburgh City Paper and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Frankel Award,” “Fred Kelly Award for Outstanding Achievement,” “Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts Award,” features in Live Design and Stage Directions, and nearly 550 designs. Recent designs include: Native Gardens, Clyde’s, Downstairs, The Santaland Diaries, One Night in Miami, The Roommate, Pipeline, and Citizens Market. Feeding the Dragon for Hartford Stage in CT and Primary Stages at The Cherry Lane in NYC; Clue, Miracle on 34th Street, Sweeney Todd, Big Fish, Mary Poppins, and The Little Mermaid for Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center; The Book of Merman, Double Threat Trio, Perfect Wedding for CLO Cabaret; The Current War, King Lear, Looking for Violetta, The Master Builder, The Winter’s Tale for Quantum Theatre; True West, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Streetcar Named Desire for barebones; Scared of Sarah and A Feminine Ending for Off the Wall; and You Say Tomato I Say Shut Up! for Dana Phil Playhouse Productions. Other credits include designs for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Bricolage, Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh, Carrnivale Theatrics, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, Emelin Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Madison Rep, TheatreWorks, 1812 Productions, Playhouse Rep, Tuesday Musical Club, and Unseam’d.

Cheryl El-Walker (Hair & Makeup Designer) is an award-winning costume designer and makeup artist who is also a veteran stage actor from Pittsburgh. She is the resident costume/makeup artist for the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. Her creative work in various venues has earned her several Onyx awards from the African American Council of the Arts (AACTA): Best Make-up Artist (2007); Best Costume for a Musical for Christmas Is Coming Uptown (2008); Best Leading Actress for Freeman (New Horizon Theatre, 2008); Best Costume Design for a Play (Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and the PPTCO 2012 Legacy Award. In 2013, Cheryl debuted another one of her skills and received PPTCO’s Theater Festival in Black and White Award for Best Director. Most recently, Cheryl was seen in PPTCO’s Savior Samuel as Virginia. Cheryl is an alumna of Point Park University and is pleased to announce that she has done costume, makeup and special effects for all ten August Wilson plays.

Bruce Foley (Composer/Arranger) was born in Buffalo, NY. One of twelve children, he showed interest in music at an early age through singing and also playing the guitar, whistle and uilleann pipes. Bruce has performed with Andy M. Stewart, Cherish The Ladies, and Tommy Sands (most notably at Madison Square Garden for Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday). He has also composed and performed music for The Irish Repertory Theatre in NYC.

Mike Gallagher (Composer/Arranger) is a native Pittsburgher and comes from a large, musical family. He has served as a cantor for the Diocese of Pittsburgh for many years and has also performed in local pubs for half a century. He has co-written several songs with Ray Werner and Dennis Driscoll. Mike owns the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pittsburgh Irish Festival. He is married to Marlea, the love of his life, and is a grandfather of 17 children, last count.

Jerry F. McCarthy (Composer/Arranger) is an American folk singer, songwriter, and musician. McCarthy grew up in Lowell Massachusetts and now resides on Oak Island in North Carolina. McCarthy has penned many a song and won an Akademia Music award for Lion Fish in 2017. His style encompasses folk, Irish traditional, folk rock and pop. His influences come from the songs and artists of the 60s and 70s. “Always good music and good craic. Raise a pint, sing along.”

Walt Woodward (Composer/Arranger) is State Historian Emeritus of Connecticut, retired UCONN professor, author of four books, and leader of The Band of Steady Habits, an acoustic history band.  He has composed two hit country music songs, and his ad music company won 8 Clios, 2 Emmys, and two SESAC awards.  


Technical Director/Head CarpenterDiane Melchitzky
Master ElectricianPiper Clement
Special EffectsSteve Tolin
Scenic PaintingDiane Melchitzky
Scenic ConstructionDiane Melchitzky
Lighting programmerMax Lasky
PropsFrank Dowling, Austin Sills, Ashley Southers
CrewMarcus Carl Southers, James Howard, Momar Milliones, Zach Biden, Gaj Walker, Kaleb Deloubvpre, Melverse Colbert, Frank Dowling, VJ Schatzman, Charlie Gray, Andre Southers, Neicy Readie Southers, Mark Clayton Southers

Some facts about Fr. James Renshaw Cox

The youngest pastor of the smallest and poorest parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Pastor of the Poor and Mayor of Shantytown.
Fed 2 1/2 million people in about 3 years. Raised 3 million dollars.
Invented food stamps (food script, he called it).
Was the first preacher on national radio, station WJAS.
First priest to run for President of the United States.
Led 40,000 jobless on the first jobless march on Washington, about 20,000 made it.
First priest to get a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Volunteered for the First World War (called The Great War back then).
Fought antisemitism and railed against antisemites Fr. Charles Coughlin and Henry Ford.
Went on trial for conspiring to fix a lottery and federal mail fraud; saved by Henry Ellenbogen and a hung jury.
He died in 1951 at the age of 65. There were 4 simultaneous funeral masses, and 10,000 mourners poured out onto 17th and Liberty.

About The Red Door

On Saturday, March 11, before Shantytown’s opening night (as originally scheduled), playwright Ray Werner will serve as Grand Marshal in Pittsburgh’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade ends downtown at The Red Door on the Boulevard of the Allies.

The Red Door at St. Mary’s Church, Downtown, operated by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, continues the work of Father Cox. It first began its service to feed the homeless in 1929, and continues this important work today. In recognition of and thanks to all who serve the homeless at the Red Door, there will be an auction after every performance of Shantytown to win a gift certificate from various merchants in The Strip, and with all proceeds from the auction donated to The Red Door Learn more about the Red Door and support them here.

We applaud these merchants in the Strip District and Lawrenceville who donated auction items to raise money to feed the homeless. Please stop by and thank them for their generosity. Special thanks to Chuck Hammel for his generosity.

Bar Marco
Mon Ami Chocolate
Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar
PaPa J’s Twin Plaza
Colangelo’s Bakery & Cafe
Piccolo Forno
Conn-Greb Boxing Club
Penn Avenue Fish
Harp & Fiddle
Pennsylvania Macaroni Company
La Prima Espresso
Wigle Whiskey

A Thank You from Poppa Ray

Approaching your mid-80’s, you can get that title whether you earned it or not.

I’m thankful for the enormous talent of my relationships that made this musical happen. First, to old friends and great musicians and composers, Mike Gallagher, Bruce Foley, Jerry McCarthy and Walter Woodward.

To Mark Clayton Southers and Monteze Freeland for all they do to make great theater happen.

To Gregory Lehane who staged this with his disciplined and talented touches and great sense of humor.

To Nick Lehane, whose brilliant shadow puppetry brought an extra, unexpected lift.

To our marketing designer, our son Larkin, for the Shantytown “look” and marketing advice and smart thinking. To Bob Butter for his PR savvy and skill to get the word out.

My Irish cap is off to a new friend for life, Dwayne Fulton. We collaborated on several new songs and Dwayne collected all the songs and music under his enormous umbrella, and performed to perfection. What a gift.

To our entire crew, it was a joy and honor to work with each of you.

– Ray Werner

PPTCO Staff and Board

See our staff and board members here.


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

We also thank our donors! Click for a complete list, and learn how to become a PPTCO donor.

Printed program design and editing by Michelle Belan.
Online program design and editing by Steven Doerfler.
Shantytown artwork by Larkin Werner.

Father Cox photo: Father Cox Papers, University of Pittsburgh.