Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Theatre Narrows Search for New Director

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Theatre Narrows Search for New Director

Article excerpt

City Theatre has been running full steam ahead without an artistic director, but that will change in the coming months. The search to replace Tracy Brigden, who left in June, is being whittled down at the same time the South Side company announces its upcoming season of two world premieres and four regional premieres.

City typically releases three titles early on, then finishes its announcement later in the year, but nothing has been typical about the months since Ms. Brigden left after 16 seasons.

Managing director James McNeel has been running the operation, in close partnership with artistic producer Reginald L. Douglas and director of new play development Clare Drobot.

The team had the "amazing" 2016-17 season planned by Ms. Brigden to work with, and "a baseline that we always start with onstage excellence," Mr. McNeel said.

The team also brought in a consultant "to crystallize where we see the organization at our 50th anniversary, seven years from now. . What is our role in the American theater at large, and more importantly, what is our role in Pittsburgh?"

They came up with certain key points to define City's present and future ideals: artistic innovation, inclusion, community and integrity, "both in how we operate the organization as a public trust and who we are to the public. So we drilled into those four areas," Mr. McNeel said.

The new season continues the 44-year-old company's mission of presenting exclusively new works and new play development, including the world premieres of Matt Schatz's "The Burdens" and Stephen Belber's "We Are Among Us." Mr. Schatz also has a reading coming up at Pittsburgh CLO's Spark small-musical festival; Mr. Belber is the writer of "Match," which made it to Broadway and the big screen.

The season marks the return of writer Dominique Morisseau, who follows up "Sunset Baby" with "Pipeline," and kicks off with "The Revolutionists," a raucous comedy about female iconoclasts during France's Reign of Terror. The play is by Lauren Gunderson, the most produced playwright (excluding Shakespeare) in the United States during the current season. She finished far ahead of August Wilson, who edged her out as No. 1 the previous year, yet her work is just now making its Pittsburgh debut via City Theatre.

While producing the current season, readings and events and planning for the next season, along with the search for an artistic director, "we are also getting ready to start the second phase of our capital campaign renovation," Mr. McNeel said. "Our new production center [across Bingham Street and more than quadruple the current space] has the funding secure, and we've got the architects working. . So, the day after the season ends, we will start work on that, which will overhaul our entire production operation."

City Theatre's 2018-19 season

Sept. …

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