Pittsburgh Playwrights Premieres ‘Shantytown’ Musical

‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’ added as the season’s August Wilson play

The new musical Shantytown. The Ballad of Fr. James Cox by Ray Werner marks a new era for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company in its new home in the Hill District.

Father James Cox (Courtesy of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.)

Founder and producing artistic and executive director Mark Clayton Southers has been busy readying the Madison Arts Center, the former Madison Elementary School in the Upper Hill.

Just this week, Southers announced that the next August Wilson play in Pittsburgh Playwrights’ second time around the American Century Cycle will be Joe Turners Come and Gone. Last week, Southers’ own play, Nine Days in the Sun, was given a production by the Theater-by-the-Grove, in association with PPTC, at ,Indiana University of PA.

All this, while his company prepares the Pittsburgh premiere of Shantytown.

Directed by Greg Lehane, Shantytown features music and lyrics by Werner, with composer and music director Dwayne Fulton and arrangements by Mike Gallagher, Bruce Foley, Jerry McCarthy and Walter Woodward. Scenic design is by Tony Ferrieri.

Michael Fuller, who plays Father Cox, was last seen onstage at Point Park’s The Rep, where he played Brad in A Devil Inside. Last year, he was appointed Theater Department chair at Pittsburgh CAPA.

The cast also includes Michele Bankole, Dominique Briggs, Chris Cattell, Sam Lothard, Joseph McGranaghan, J. Alex Noble and Chuck TImbers.

The show is based on the life of the pastor of Old St. Patrick’s in the Strip District, who fed more than 3 million meals to the homeless during The Great Depression.

At Madison Arts Center, 3401 Milwaukee St., March 11-26. Tickets and information: https://www.pghplaywrights.org/shantytown/

Categories: Arts and Ideas, Feature Stories, Show Previews

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