Public’s Immersive ‘A Tell-Tale Heart’ Descends to O’Reilly Depths

Pittsburgh Public Theater Announces Blood Drive in Partnership with American Red Cross

Pittsburgh Public Theater first gave us a peek at Alec Silberblatt’s spooky adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe stories during the pandemic. Those scares were virtual only. Today, they are part of an immersive experience that takes patrons to the depths of the “Trap Room,” beneath the O’Reilly Theater stage.

A Tell-Tale Heart, originally a 2020 commission for the Public’s monthly virtual series Classics N’at, is billed as “Poe meets Pittsburgh,” based on works by the American scare master.

“With Alec’s thrilling take on Poe’s classic, we have the perfect opportunity to invite audiences deeper inside The Public. Ticket-holders will be the first to explore what’s hidden under our stage -a dark, intimate corner that we’re transforming into a tiny black-box performance space called the Trap,” artistic director Marya Sea Kaminski, who directs A Tell-Tale Heart, said in a statement. “Audiences will experience an exhilarating new work from an outstanding Pittsburgh theater artist, developed right there at The Public. Moving forward, we expect the Trap will continue to be a lab space for adventurous work and unexpected stagings – a place to experiment and invite audiences to the edge with us.”

The Trap seats 45, and 17 performances are already sold out. Those who purchase “the Poe Experience” gain intimate VIP access to the Trap’s environment, an exclusive pre-show experience, and more.

“You’ll enter The O’Reilly, a space Pittsburgh theatergoers know well, and then descend into the stage and be transported to your uncle’s, or friend’s, or grandpa’s basement – a basement you grew up in, a basement you watched the Steelers in,” said playwright and star Silberblatt. “And that’s only the first of many twists and surprises.”

The set is designed by Seattle-based Jennifer J. Zeyl, artistic director of Intiman Theater, with Annmarie Duggan, head of Design/Tech and Management at University of Pittsburgh, making her Pittsburgh Public Theater debut as lighting designer.  

Apropos to the show and the season, on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Public Theater announced a blood-drive partnership with the American Red Cross. The Public offers discounts to several productions to all presenting donors at nine American Red Cross blood drives (listed below) between October 19 and November 19. The company will also enter all presenting donors through November 10 for a chance to win a VIP experience for two to a performance of A Tell-Tale Heart.

Interested donors can schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 


A Tell-Tale Heart runs through November 19 at the O’Reilly Theater, Downtown. Tickets start at $29.25 and are available at  PPT.org/HEART or by calling 412-316-1600. Guests enter through the main entrance on Penn Avenue and will be escorted to the performance location. NOTE: A Tell-Tale Heart contains mature language and a 5-second strobe light that may affect people who experience photosensitivity. Due to the performance location and immersive setting, late seating and reentry are not permitted.

American Red Cross Blood Drive Schedule

Tuesday, October 24, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: Northway Robinson, 1050 Campbells Run Road, Carnegie, PA 15106.

Friday, October 27, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: South Hills Church of the Nazarene, 5601 Library Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102.

Monday, October 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive C, Oakland, PA 15240.

Tuesday, October 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Keystone Summit Park, 3000 Ericcson Drive, Warrendale, PA 15086.

Thursday, November 2, 11a.m.-4:30 p.m.: University of Pittsburgh – O’Hara Student Center Ballroom, 4024 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Friday, November 3, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: McCormick Dorman VFW #694, 3014 West Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

Thursday, November 9, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Penn Center West, Two Penn Center West, Pittsburgh, PA 15276.

Friday, November 10, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: St. Margaret Mary Church – Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Paris, 1 Parish Pl, Coraopolis, PA 15108.

Friday, November 17, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter, 2801 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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