The contemporary play company also boasts a musical collaboration with Pittsburgh CLO, plus an Andy Warhol trip, the post-Pride Benets and more
By SHARON EBERSON
Fat Ham, the 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winner that is days away from a Broadway opening, leads the lineup of City Theatre’s just-announced 49th season, which features collaborations with theatrical partners including Pittsburgh CLO.
The five-play 2023-24 subscription series kicks off with the new musical Somewhere Over the Border, book, lyrics and music by Brian Quijada (the music-infused Where Did We Sit on the Bus at City).
Quijada returns to City in a co-production with Pittsburgh CLO and People’s Light in Malvern, PA. City and CLO last joined forces for the Matt Schatz musical comedy An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake. Somewhere Over the Border was workshopped as part of the CLO’s SPARK festival in 2019.
Brian Quijada performed his one-man show Where Did We Sit on the Bus?
at City Theatre in 2019. (Image courtesy of City Theatre)
“I’m not from Pittsburgh, but weirdly I consider it an artistic home,” said Quijada. “There’s something — maybe something about the support of the artistic community, or the city’s work ethic, or Pamela’s pancakes, but it feels like a city of my people. Can’t wait to return!”
The season includes Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, South Side Stories Revisited by Tami Dixon
Fat Ham by James Ijames and Andy Warhol in Iran by Brent Askari. The latter premiered last year and is based loosely on the Pittsburgh-born artist’s 1976 visit to Tehran, as the guest of the late dictator, Shah Reza Pahlavi.
Special events are the annual street-party fundraiser, The BASH, and Sister’s Summer School Catechism: God Never Takes a Vacation! by Maripat Donovan.
“We are thrilled to bring these vibrant stories to our historic South Side home,” co-artistic director Monteze Freeland said in a statement. “In doing so, we uplift some of the nation’s brightest contemporary playwrights and artists. Each production in our season is a reinvestigation of a familiar story, ranging from The Wizard of Oz to Hamlet; with fresh faces, music, and culture that reflects the many diverse communities of Pittsburgh and beyond.”
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley arrives during the holiday season and spins off Jane Austen characters in what is described as “a family-friendly holiday celebration perfect for Bridgerton fans.’
Dixon, star of City’s recent What the Constitution Means to Me production, premiered her South Side Stories, at City Theatre 10 years ago. In 2024, she “reinvestigates her one-woman show, building upon the original text [to explore] how both she and the neighborhood have changed in the intervening years.”
The 49th season continues with the Fat Ham by James Ijames, in a co-production with TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, AR. The play, which makes its Broadway debut this month, was described by the Pulitzer committee as, “A funny, poignant play that deftly transposes Hamlet to a family barbecue in the American South, to grapple with questions of identity, kinship, responsibility and honesty.”
City completes its season with Brent Askari’s Andy Warhol in Iran, a drama about “art, revolution and discovering a world beyond yourself.”
“I’m thrilled that City Theatre will be producing Andy Warhol In Iran in the artist’s hometown — the great city of Pittsburgh!,” said playwright Askari.
CITY THEATRE’S 2023-24 SEASON SCHEDULE
September 23-October 15, 2023: Somewhere Over the Border by Brian Quijada, director TBA. A co-production with Pittsburgh CLO and People’s Light (Malvern, PA)
Inspired by the true story of the playwright’s mother’s journey from El Salvador to the United States, following “a different yellow brick road.” Said Quijada, “I’ve been waiting to see a brown, Central-American Dorothy, and soon, the American theater will be introduced to her.”
November 25-December 17, 2023: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, directed by Kyle Haden.
Billed as “a charming celebration of beloved characters, Miss Bennet takes place two years after the end of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, when an unexpected guest’s appearance sparks dreams of love
January 13-February 18, 2024: South Side Stories Revisited by Tami Dixon, directed by Matt M. Morrow
In 2012, Tami Dixon sat on the sidewalks of the South Side of Pittsburgh asking residents to tell her their stories. The resulting one-woman play delighted audiences then, and now, 10 years later, Dixon returns to the streets of the South Side to revisit her vivid set of tales and explore how the community where City Theatre resides has changed.
March 2-24, 2024: Fat Ham by James Ijames, directed by Monteze Freeland. A co-production with TheatreSquared of Fayetteville, Arkansas,
A modern revamp of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Fat Ham follows Juicy, a queer, pensive young Black man finding his way in the world when the ghost of his father demands Juicy avenge his murder. Set at the family cookout, this “hilarious yet profound tragedy smothered in comedy” (The New York Times) examines love, loss, and a particular set of daddy issues.
April 20-May 12, 2024: Andy Warhol in Iran by Brent Askari, directed by Marc Masterson.
In 1976, celebrity artist Andy Warhol traveled to Iran to take Polaroid pictures of the Shah’s wife. This imagined experience of an encounter with a young Iranian radical is “a fiery, thought-provoking drama about art, revolution, and discovering a world beyond yourself.”
September 9, 2023: The BASH. City’s signature fundraiser, when Bingham Street will be filled with local food, live performances and more.
June 2024: Sister’s Summer School Catechism: God Never Takes a Vacation! Star Kimberly Richards recently celebrated her 820th performance in the titular role of “Sister” at City Theatre, dating back to 2005.
Subscription packages go on sale March 11 and will be available in person, over the phone, and online. Single tickets will be on sale in August. For more information, call 412-431-CITY (2489) or email BoxOffice@CityTheatreCompany.org.