City Theatre Company
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Posted in News on May 31, 2012
City Theatre announces four exciting, original plays set for MOMENTUM, the theatre’s annual festival of new plays at different stages, beginning May 31. Whether the theme is growing old or simply growing up, this selection of works in development engages with universal topics—familial obligation and love; the pursuit of fame; race and relationships; coming of age; and the ever-raging debate between science and religion.
MOMENTUM is a celebration of new theatrical works featuring readings, workshops, panels, and conversation. The festival is a chance for audiences to not only see four new works in their earliest incarnations, but also to get to know the process of creating new plays and to glimpse inside the minds of the playwrights.
My Mother Has Four Noses
A musical play written and performed by Jonatha Brooke
Directed by Tracy Brigden
Nancy Lee Stone is a cancer survivor. She has four prosthetic noses and six names. She is a published poet and a Christian Scientist. She is Boolie’s mother, and she has Alzheimer ’s disease. In this moving, one-woman show, filled with music, wit, and emotion, acclaimed singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke tells the story of her journey as she guides her mother through the last months of life.
The Shadow Sparrow
By Anton Dudley (book), Charlie Sohne (lyrics), and Keith Gordon (music)
Directed by Matt M. Morrow
Musical Direction by Douglas Levine
Featuring Candy Buckley and Vince Gatton
Edith abandons her only son to chase a pipe-dream singing career in post-war Europe. With one earring still hanging loosely in her ear, she follows a man who promises fame and fortune into low-down brothels and basements. This lively, new musical envisions the viewpoint of Michel, the son who grew up in a classless Cleveland hotel only to discover a clue that will take the audience on a whirlwind pursuit.
A Swell in the Ground
By Janine Nabers
Directed by Carolyn Cantor
Featuring Daina Griffith, Scotland Newton, Skyler Sullivan, and Bria Walker
Four friends struggle to keep it together in this coming-of-age play about the Millennial Generation. Olivia is coping with her dad’s death in the 9/11 attacks. Nate has to choose between an acting career and a law degree. Charles lives the shallow life of a corporate jetsetter. Abby is a teacher underwhelmed by her students. All is just okay until a marriage dissolves, words are exchanged, paths cross, and life…happens.
Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution
By Stephen Massicotte
Directed by Dina Epshteyn
Featuring Robin Abramson, Dan Krell, Sheila McKenna, and Noah Plomgren
How do you teach evolution in a divided America? Raymond has religious tattoos, listens to Christian bands, and has ten questions about evolutionary theory that his Biology teacher Kelly won’t answer. Kelly is an atheist urbanite who is up for review after her first year on the job at a small town high school. As the student and teacher navigate their roles and religious beliefs, both learn an unexpected lesson.
All readings and workshops take place at City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203.
Thursday, May 31
8:00 pm My Mother Has Four Noses
Friday, June 1
6:30 pm Playwrights Panel
8:00 pm The Shadow Sparrow
Saturday, June 2
12:00 pm Songwriting Workshop with Jonatha Brooke
3:00 pm My Mother Has Four Noses
5:30 pm Ten Questions to Ask your Biology Teacher about Evolution
8:00 pm A Swell in the Ground
Sunday, June 3
12:00 pm How a City Theatre Season Gets Made:
A Conversation with Tracy Brigden, Artistic Director, and Carlyn Aquiline, Literary Manager & Dramaturg
2:00 pm The Shadow Sparrow
$20 four-day pass; $5 per show
Available by phone at 412.431.CITY (2489) or online at CityTheatreCompany.org
Get an exclusive behind the scenes look at POP!
Superstars, Brian Charles Rooney (Candy Darling), Courtney Bassett (Edie), Jesse Carrey-Beaver (Gerard), Alyse Alan Louis (Valerie), Paul Victor (Ondine) and Bria Walker (Viva), rehearse “Big Gun”.
Special $20 Mothers Day Ticket. CLICK HERE and use Promo Code WARHOLA to redeem your $20 Mothers Day Ticket.
Anthony Rapp returns to Pittsburgh this May to play the iconic pop artist, Andy Warhol, in City Theatre’s season finale POP! Anthony took an hour out of his busy rehearsal schedule to paint a picture, no pun intended, of what audiences can expect from POP!. Check out the videos below and stay tuned for more from City Theatre.
POP! MUSIC AND STORY
BEING ANDY WARHOL
Tigers Be Still is a comedy from writer Kim Rosenstock, currently writing for the Fox TV series New Girl, and runs from March 31st – May 6th at City Theatre. Variety commends Rosenstock’s “clever comic dialogue in a voice that is too smart to be cute.”
Sherry’s art therapy degree didn’t launch her dream career, so she moved back into her childhood bedroom. Her mom won’t come downstairs. Her sister won’t leave the couch. Her very first patient won’t stick around for a session. Her boss brings a rifle to work. And an escaped tiger roams the streets … but Sherry’s life is looking up.
City Theatre held auditions January 23rd for the rock musical POP!, by Maggie Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs. POP! is a classic “who done it” about a Pittsburgh icon. Who shot Andy Warhol?
This May 5-27, City Theatre takes you back to Warhol’s legendary Factory, where every artist has talent, ego, and a motive to pull the trigger.
As the Pittsburgh pop icon’s life flashes before his eyes, he confronts an unforgettable cast of outrageous suspects and wrestles with the meaning of his own legacy. Variety calls this wild musical collage “vibrant, hip, fresh, and a hell of a lot of fun.”
See the auditions here. Can you guess who made the cut?
Jen Childs stars in her hilarious and heartwarming one-woman comedy, Why I’m Scared of Dance.
Help us welcome Jen!
We thought it appropriate to extend her a heartfelt welcome by sharing our own horror stories of dance. Maybe you have an embarrassing photo or anecdote that you would be willing to share on our Facebook wall? Just click below to post your photos and stories.
“What does it mean to be a man?”
“What gets you through the night?”
City Theatre’s latest play, Through The Night, features Daniel Beaty, one of the most audacious and poetic voices in today’s American theatre. Beaty transforms into many different characters in this inspiring, joyous, and unforgettable one-man-show. The New York Times calls Through the Night “a thing of beauty.”
Six characters … three generations … one extraordinary performer!
Beaty’s kinetic one-man show tells six intersecting tales about what it means to be a black man in America today. Equal parts poetry and soul, this virtuosic feat of acting presents a range of eclectic characters — a precocious 10-year-old boy, an overweight bishop, a college student escaping the projects, and more.
To get at the heart of the play we asked the good people at Bat’s Barbershop to share their opinion on two questions. What does it mean to be a man? What gets you through the night?
This is what they had to say…
What do you think it means to be a man? What gets you through the night?
Eisenhower was president, Elvis joined the Army, a gallon of gas was a quarter, and Sam Bendrix took the stage at the Bon Soir for his last performance.
City Theatre transformed the Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre to take you back to the legendary 1958 Greenwich Village nightclub, The Bon Soir. Luke Macfarlane, star of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, channels his inner crooner in an unforgettable performance.
Let’s honor that golden year with a streaming archive of the people, places, and culture of ’58. Every Thursday during Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir, City Theatre will ask Facebook fans to help us create ’58 on our Facebook wall.
We will post a theme to our wall and our blog. For example: “Create ’58 theme: The Cars” — our Facebook fans will post iconic images and videos to our wall with that theme in mind. So let’s start creating!
Posted in News on November 11, 2011
Posted by Isabel Smith-Bernstein, Dramaturgy Assistant
Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir , written by Keith Bunin, directed by Mark Rucker and starring Luke Mcfarlane, begins previews this weekend at City Theatre. We’ll be posting some information and interviews over the next several weeks in order to provide some background and context to help open windows into Sam Bendrix.
Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir is set in Greenwich Village in the 1950s. During this time, the Village was alive with modernist art movements. The energy in New York City in this period was influenced by the Beat Generation, the New York School and other artists. These artists operated out of Greenwich Village so the village acted as the pulsing heart for 1950s creative movements in New York City. In Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir, Sam Bendrix lives and works in Greenwich village– so he lives his life fully immersed in the art world of his era.
Art Movements of the 1950s
At the close of World War II, The United States emerged as one of the most powerful nations in the world. America’s new elevated stature was reflected in the arts, as American artists began to lead art movements which became recognized across Europe– even in Paris. World War II had shocked the world with its devastation and scale, leaving traditional values and systems shaken and exposed. The emerging generation of writers, artists and musicians reacted to what they had experienced either serving in the military or watching their friends and family serve. Many of these artists lived in New York City. As a result, New York City artists became leaders in the cutting edge and avant-guard, forging paths for modernist artists.
The Beat Generation
“I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down.” — Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac first introduced the phrase “Beat Generation” in 1948 in order to characterize and draw awareness to a perceived underground, anti-conformist youth movement in New York. Colloquially “beat” could mean “tired” or “beaten down”, but Kerouac expanded the meaning to include the connotations “upbeat,” “beatific,” and the musical association of being “on the beat”.
The Beat Generation were a social and literary movement of the 1950s and 1960s characterized by a rejection of society, experimenting with taboo sexuality, use of drugs, rejection of materialism, nonconformity and spontaneous creativity. The Beat Generation became notorious for their bohemian hedonism. Jack Kerouac was a founding member and a spokes person of the Beat Generation; one of his most notable works is On the Road first published in 1957 and still in print today. Other famous beat writers included Allen Ginsberg (Howl, 1956), William S. Burrough (Naked Lunch, 1959), Gary Snyder (Myths and Texts, 1960).
The New York School
The New York was an informal group of American poets, dancers, musicians, composers, artists and painters active in the Post-War period in New York city. The group included the individual movements and artists mentioned throughout as well as many others.Within the “School” the artists from all fields influenced and fed off of what others were doing. The painters were firmly rooted in the 1950s while the poets reached their zenith about a decade later. For this reason, the poets were more influenced by the artists than the other way around. However, the New York School artists all worked within a similar socio-political atmosphere: Greenwich Village. In The Village, the artists were able to meet in such locations as the Cedar Tavern to discuss and debate similar social and political ideas.
Why I Am Not a Painter
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.
The New York School of Painting
The New York School of Painting or “Abstract Expressionism’ was the first art movement that began exclusively in the United States. As a result, it elevated New York’s importance in the world art community. Abstract expressionism combines the lessons taught by Picasso and Matisse, Surrealism, Cubism and Fauvism.
Jackson Pollock was a leader in the abstract expressionist movement and revolutionized how paintings could be painted and approached– he was one of the first to recognize that the artist’s journey is as important as the final product. Abstract Expressionism has an image of being rebellious, anarchistic, idiosyncratic and nihilistic. However, these are sweeping generalizations applied to many different artists painting in New York City around the same time. The art movements of the 1960s built upon the foundation of abstract expressionism: Fluxus, Neo-Dada, Anti-Formalist Movement.
The abstract expressionists of this era commenced in 1951 for the 9th Street Art Exhibition. This massive exhibition was the stepping-out for the avant-guard artists. The exhibit was a big success and radicalized art forever.
The New York School Poets
“I don’t … like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’”- Frank O’Hara on formal poetic structure
These poets were classified by their light, violent or observational subject matter. The poets wrote in a direct, immediate, spontaneous manner of writing that was directly influenced by paintings. New York School Poets wrote many stream of consciousness works which used vivid and highly visual imagery– also reminiscent of an abstract expressionist painting. Many of these poets shared certain life experiences in common as most of them attended Harvard, served in the military, were homosexual, were art critics and lived in New York as they were developing their poetic voce.
Frank O’Hara was the lynchpin of this group, holding them all together until his death in 1966. O’Hara wrote autobiographical poems based on his observations of New York City. Other poets include John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Bernadette Mayer, Ron Padgett, Kenneth Knoch and many others.
Like most other art movements, jazz changed in the 1940s-1950s. Bebop and cool jazz became the favored styles. Bebop is a style of jazz which focuses on tempo and improvisation based on the harmonic structure and melody. Bebop is now what we associated with modern jazz. Some famous bebop musicians include: Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.
Charlie Parker performing “All the Things That you Are”:
Cool jazz is characterized by its relaxed tempos and lighter tone. It contrasts with the bebop style and often includes formal arrangements and incorporates elements of classical music.
Duke Ellington performing “Reflections in D”:
Jazz performers such as Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis created sounds for painters, minimal artists, pop artists and other artists of the 1960s.
New York’s Legacy
The Post-War period in New York helped to solidify New York City as a world trend-setter and leader in the arts, stealing the title away from Paris with its avant-gaurd, modernist artists.