City Theatre Announces 45th Season!

City Theatre Announces 45th Season!

City Theatre Company, Pittsburgh's home for contemporary plays, has announced the details of the theatre's 45th season of new works. This line-up of plays is the first curated by Artistic Director Marc Masterson upon his return to City Theatre in 2018.

"These six plays are created by some of the most compelling talent working in the American Theatre today," commented returning Artistic Director Marc Masterson. "They celebrate a wide range of styles and stories that deserve to be seen. We can't wait to introduce our friends to City Theatre audiences."

"After first putting City Theatre on the national theater map, Marc Masterson left Pittsburgh in 2000," said Managing Director James McNeel. "While gone, Marc ran two of the largest and most significant theaters in the country - Actors Theatre of Louisville and South Coast Rep in California - and has commissioned and produced more new plays (including two on Broadway last season) than perhaps any other artistic director working today. The 2019/20 season marks his triumphant return and his first BACK in the artistic director chair with six plays chosen just for our Pittsburgh audiences."

In addition to a six-play subscription series, the 2019/20 season will also feature the EQT Young Playwrights Festival, the Momentum Festival, and the Momentum Reading Series, along with numerous special events and partnership activities through its innovating community engagement initiative, City Connects.


The season begins with an epic tale that is part thrilling new play, part electrifying rock concert:

"Cambodian Rock Band tackles why we make art, why it's important to who we are as human beings," said playwright Lauren Yee. "It's also a family story about the need for dialogue across the generations. It also showcases an incredible music scene that was almost lost thanks to the efforts of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge."

The season will continue with an imagining of a true night in Kemp Powers's One Night in Miami..., an ominous, darkly intriguing new play; Downstairs, from Broadway's most produced female playwright, Theresa Rebeck; and a comedy about being a new parent, Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler.

"Marc Masterson jumpstarted my career and changed my life forever when he programmed Elemeno Pea [produced at City Theatre in 2015] at The Humana Festival/Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2011," said playwright Molly Smith Metzler. "Honestly, I wrote Cry It Out because I had to. I was cracked-open by the experience of having a child and felt like I was going to die of loneliness if I didn't write about it. Marc actually commissioned me to write Cry It Out while he was in tenure at Actors Theatre and his support and faith has been unwavering all these years. I'm proud and thrilled and grateful. I can't wait to share this play with the awesome people of Pittsburgh."

Back-to-back world premieres end the line-up, PerkUp PerKup by Isaac Gomez and F*ck7thGrade with music and story by singer/songwriter Jill Sobule and text by Liza Birkenmeier.

"After bringing PerkUp PerKup to Pittsburgh audiences last year for the Momentum Reading Series, I am honored and anxious to bring this story back to City Theatre, fully realized," said playwright Isaac Gomez.

Both world premiere productions were workshopped during Momentum, which highlights City's dedication to supporting new plays at all stages of development, as well as sharing the work of America's hottest writers with the community.

"I've always felt a connection to Pittsburgh," said singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, "and I'm so excited City is giving me the chance to sing my story and collaborate with Liza and Lisa."


Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee

Directed by Marti Lyons

Featuring songs by Dengue Fever

September 14 - October 6, 2019

Main Stage

Part thrilling new play, part electrifying rock concert, it's an epic tale of family, love, and heritage featuring the Cambodian surf rock music of Dengue Fever.

Cambodian Rock Band is presented as a co-production with Victory Gardens Theater and Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Lauren Yee is the author of The Great Leap (Atlantic Theatre), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre), and a writer on the Netflix series Mixtape. She is the winner of the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, and the Francesca Primus Prize.

Marti Lyons most recently directed Shakespeare in Love for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Botticelli in the Fire for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe at Studio Theatre and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for the Court Theatre in Chicago. Marti is an ensemble member with the Gift Theatre Company, an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre Company, and a proud member of SDC.

One Night in Miami... by Kemp Powers

Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

November 9 - December 1, 2019

Main Stage

It's 1964. Cassius Clay has rocked the nation by winning the World Heavyweight Boxing Title; however, it's what happens next that changes the soon-to-be Muhammed Ali's life even more. Filled with music, hope, and the sense that A Change is Gonna Come, this theatrical event re-imagines the true story of Clay's friendships with civil rights activisit Malcolm X, legendary singer Sam Cooke, and football star Jim Brown on one life-altering night.

One Night in Miami... is produced by special arranagement with ABKCO.

Kemp Powers's work has been developed at Denver Center Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem. In television and film, he was most recently a writer for "Star Trek: Discovery" (CBS All Access) and is currently adapting his play One Night in Miami... into a feature film.

Reginald L. Douglas has been the Artistic Producer at City Theatre since March 2015. At City, his past directing credits include: Wild With Happy, Citizens Market, Pipeline, and The Roommate.

Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck

Directed by Marc Masterson

January 11 - February 2, 2020

Main Stage

"Theresa's intelligence and rapier wit energize ever word she writes." - Jeff Goldblum

An ominous, darkly intriguing new play from Broadway's most produced female playwright confronts family secrets, regrets, and the threat of madness in the search for the good life.

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and abroad. This fall, her fourth Broadway play, Bernhardt/Hamlet, premiered at the Roundabout Theatre Company making Rebeck the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. In television, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama "Smash," and has written for "Canterbury's Law," "LA Law," "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and many more.

Director Marc Masterson is City Theatre's Artistic Director. Marc has previously directed or produced five other plays by Theresa Rebeck and will direct the world premiere of The Burdens by Matt Schatz this spring.

Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler

Directed by TBA

February 29 - March 22, 2020

Main Stage

When it comes to being a new parent, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Brilliantly funny and painfully true, Cry It Out confronts the pressure to have it all when having it all is a giant lie.

Molly Smith Metzler is a New York-based playwright and screenwriter. Her plays - which include CRY IT OUT, ELEMENO PEA, THE MAY QUEEN, CARVE, TRAINING WISTERIA and CLOSE UP SPACE - have been produced Off-Broadway and across the country In television, Metzler has written for "Casual" (Hulu), "Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix), "Codes of Conduct" (HBO), and "Shameless" (Showtime).

The director for Cry It Out will soon be announced.

PerkUp PerKup by Isaac Gomez

Directed by Marc Masterson

April 4 - May 10, 2020

Lester Hamburg Studio

Welcome to the best coffee shop in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where the biggest challenge is pushing the new cold brew - until someone new arrives... Isaac Gomez delivers a pulsating and searing new play about an America divided and on the brink.

Isaac Gomez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta is received its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company in 2018. Isaac is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Denver Center Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, The Theatre School at DePaul University (Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater), Steep Theatre, and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. He is a Professional Lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University.


Music, Lyrics, and Concept by Jill Sobule

Book by Liza Birkenmeier

Directed by Lisa Peterson

May 9 - 31, 2020

Main Stage

In this world premiere production, award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Sobule-whose 1990's hits include "Supermodel" and the original "I Kissed a Girl"-takes audiences through a Rock'n'Roll celebration of coming of age and coming out.

Jill Sobule has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg, Cyndi Lauper and Warren Zevon, and has written music for TV and theater. She's also been active in numerous social and political causes, performing at prisons as part of Wayne Kramer's Jail Guitar Doors project, playing dates with Lady Parts Justice's "Vagical Mystery Tour," and curating Monster Protest Jams Vol. 1. Her newest album, Nostalgia Kills, was released on September 14.

Liza Birkenmeier is a current Audrey Resident at New Georges. Her play Radio Island was produced at NY Stage & Film in 2018 and was a finalist for the Relentless Award, on the Kilroys List, and was part of City Theatre's Momentum 2016. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lisa Peterson is a two-time OBIO Award winning writer and director. Lisa has directed regularly at Berkeley Rep (where she is currently Associate Director), the Mark Taper Forum (where she was Resident Director for 10 years), La Jolla Playhouse (Associate Director for three years), and many others. She has developed new plays at the Sundance Theatre Lab, the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference.


Three ways to subscribe:

On-site: City Theatre Box Office, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203

By phone: 412-431-CITY (2489)

Online: Beginning June 1. Visit

Subscriptions start at $150 and are currently available at the box office.

Special subscription series include: Opening Night ($288), Greenroom: Art & Afterparty ($150), Preview Week ($150) and more.

Single Tickets go on sale July 29, 2019.

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