City Theatre Announces In-Person 2021-2022 Season

The season includes: Live from the Edge by Universes, An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake by Matt Schatz (World Premiere Musical) and more.

By: Jul. 02, 2021
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City Theatre Announces In-Person 2021-2022 Season

City Theatre Company, Pittsburgh's home for contemporary plays, has announced the details of the theatre's 47th season of new works, taking place in-person beginning in September 2021. Reopening to audiences after 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, City Theatre will fully produce six plays, live and in-person. The season features collaborations with local and national theater companies, community partners, and first-time and returning artists.

"We return to live performance with joy and pride in the artists and theatre-makers that represent the best of our community," said Marc Masterson, Artistic Director. "This season doubles down on the values that make and shape us. From deep local roots, to internationally acclaimed artists, the upcoming season is a celebration of our art form. Throughout the pandemic, we have partnered with countless organizations - from our Drive-In Arts Festival to digital presentations - and we are excited to continue this collaborative spirit by working with Pittsburgh CLO, Cornerstone Theater Company, Siti Company, and the Pittsburgh Playhouse this upcoming season."

In addition to a five-play subscription series that begins in October, the 2021/22 season will also feature plays by middle and high school students as part of the Young Playwrights Festival as well as the return of the Momentum Festival of New Plays and numerous special events and partnership activities through the community engagement initiative, City Connects.

In September, City Theatre will kick-off the year in collaboration with Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse and Los Angeles-based Cornerstone Theater Company for the world premiere of The Rivers Don't Know, a play about immigration in Pittsburgh by Donora, PA native James Mcmanus.

Funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District and a 2019 "RADical ImPAct" grant, this world premiere play will take place September 10 - 19 and is free to the public. It is not part of the subscription season and will take place downtown at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, coinciding with "Welcoming Week," a nationwide immigrant inclusion initiative. The Rivers Don't Know was created in collaboration with community partners ARYSE, The All for All Coalition powered by the Global Switchboard, Global Minds, Literary Pittsburgh, JFCS Refugee & Immigrant Services, and World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Full details and information about reserving tickets to be announced in August.

Then, on October 9, City Theatre will begin a five-play subscription season on its Main Stage, marking its return after the company's 45th season was halted by the pandemic on March 12, 2020.

"When we were forced to cancel performances on Bingham Street due to Covid-19, none of us could have guessed how long it would be before we returned," remarked Managing Director James McNeel. "But the staff and board have worked tirelessly in uncertain and trying times to prepare for this moment and we are so very excited to bring folks back through our Big Red Doors on the South Side. It is all because of the extraordinary generosity of our donors, subscribers, and funders that we are here. This year is for them."


After partnering with Pittsburgh Playhouse for The Rivers Don't Know in September, City Theatre returns to the South Side for the first time since March 2020 to launch the 2021-2022 subscription season with the electrifying Live from the Edge by Universes, a performance collective that has been described as "exuberant (and) insightful" by The New York Times.

For the holidays, City Theatre welcomes back Matt Schatz (The Burdens, City Theatre 2019) and the world premiere of An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake, a hilarious new musical comedy about serious drama. This will be the first-ever co-production between City Theatre and Pittsburgh CLO, which first developed the piece as part of its SPARK Festival.

The Medium by Siti Company first presented at City Theatre in 1996 and will return for a reimagined production in January 2022. As Siti Company prepares to sunset at the end of 2022, after 30 years as an ensemble, they are re-examining this seminal work about the impact of technology while launching a national tour with this revival and updated production built in Pittsburgh.

The 47th season continues with the return of a City Theatre favorite Dominique Morisseau (Sunset Baby, Pipeline) and her play Paradise Blue, part of the acclaimed "Detroit Trilogy." This jazz-infused, period drama premiered Off-Broadway in New York in 2018; it will feature a locally-inspired original musical score.

City Theatre closes out its post-pandemic season with the world premiere of Lindsay Joelle's The Garbologists, a comedy which was featured in the 2019 Momentum Festival and originally slated to be part of the interrupted 2020-2021 season.


Live from the Edge

Created and performed by Universes

October 9 - 31, 2021

Redefining what theater is and who it speaks to, Live from the Edge is a unique performance event that tracks the evolution of language from childhood rhymes and community rituals to poetry and theater, hip-hop, gospel, latin jazz and down home blues.

Celebrating its 25th year, UNIVERSES is a National Theater Company of Color dedicated to the creation, development, production, touring, community engagement, and educational dissemination of new theatrical and performance works for stage and screen. It supports artists within and outside of its core company to foster artistic excellence in the American Theater. Its core company consists of a revolving and evolving set of multi-disciplined writers and performers who fuse Poetry, Theater, Music, and Dance to bring American voices to life through moving, challenging and entertaining theatrical works. Led by its Founders/Artistic Directors, Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, the core group of writers breaks the bounds of traditional theatre; building on UNIVERSES' aesthetic and unique brand to invite/challenge old and new generations of theater crafters as well as theatergoers and newcomers to envision a new American Theater.

Founded in The Bronx, New York in 1995, the original members of UNIVERSES came together in the urban poetry and music scene of the late 1990s; moving through the "downtown" performance scene to build a home for themselves nationally. They have taken their original pieces around the world, electrifying crowds and sparking conversation about just what it means to be an 'American', right here and right now.

An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Matt Schatz

Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

Music Directed by Douglas Levine

A World Premiere Co-Production with Pittsburgh CLO

November 27 - December 19, 2021

Meet Beth, an idealistic literary manager at a non-profit theater who wants to change the world by discovering unsung writers and plays that matter, but her tone-deaf boss instead chooses a "pop superstar" to write the "hit" that will keep the theater from going out of business. In a co-production with Pittsburgh CLO, Matt Schatz returns to City Theatre (The Burdens, City Theatre 2019) with a hilarious new musical about the battle of art versus commerce.

Matt Schatz (Book, Music, Lyrics) won the ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Award for An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake, the Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre for Love Trapezoid, the NYMF Outstanding Lyrics Award for Georama, and The Reva Shiner Comedy Award for The Burdens. Matt has received six commissions from the EST/Sloan Project as well as from Seattle Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Jill Furman Productions. Others include A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill, Where Ever It May Be, Dunkfest '88, I Battled Lenny Ross (with Anna Ziegler), and The Tallest Building in the World. Matt's work has been produced and/or developed all over the country, including City Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, The O'Neill, EST, Ars Nova, Page73, St. Louis Rep, Luna Stage, and many others. Upcoming productions: Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Cave Theatre (NYC), and The Geffen Playhouse. MFA: Carnegie Mellon. Matt lives in Los Angeles, where he is currently a writer for Netflix Animation.

The Medium

Created and performed by Siti Company

Conceived and directed by Anne Bogart

January 22 - February 13, 2022

Based on the writings and theories of Marshall McLuhan, The Medium explores the effect of media and emerging technologies on our perceptions, our psyches, and our personal lives.

"We are thrilled and delighted to bring our production of The Medium back home to City Theatre," said Anne Bogart, Co-Artistic Director of Siti Company. "Our long association with Pittsburgh, Marc Masterson, and City Theatre conspire to make this a meaningful event indeed. The production was originally created in 1993 and conceived to explore the then-burgeoning field of technology through the lens of Marshall McLuhan. We follow the famous Canadian philosopher of media studies on an Alice in Wonderland-like journey through the landscape of his profound insights about the effects of media upon the human experience. Now, nearly thirty years later, the play seems even more relevant to the world that we inhabit today than it did when we first created it."

Siti Company is an ensemble-based theater company whose three ongoing components are the creation of new work, the training of theater artists, and a commitment to crossing boundaries. SITI was founded in 1992 by Anne Bogart, Tadashi Suzuki and a group of like-minded artists to redefine and revitalize contemporary theater in the United States through an emphasis on international cultural exchange and collaboration.

They are leaders in the Suzuki and Viewpoints Methods of actor training and each year welcome over 100 artists into their NYC studio and meet many more as they travel domestically and internationally to teach workshops in these methods. Siti Company is committed to providing a space where the interaction of art, artists, audiences, and ideas inspire the possibility of change, optimism, and hope. Build on the bedrock of ensemble, they believe that through the practice of collaboration, a group of artists working together over time can have a significant impact on both contemporary theater and the world at large.

Paradise Blue by Dominque Morisseau

Directed by Kent Gash

March 12 - April 3, 2022

Returning to City Theatre for a third time, Dominque Morisseau (Pipeline, Sunset Baby) takes us to a gentrifying Detroit for a haunting drama laced with jazz and intrigue. It's 1949 and club-owner and trumpeter Blue must choose between escaping his demons and the human cost of leaving the only home he's ever known.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). She is also the book writer on the new musical Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group, Women's Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O'Neil Playwrights Conference. Her work has been commissioned by Steppenwolf Theater, Women's Project, South Coast Rep, People's Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series "Shameless". Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award, Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, and being named one of Variety's Women of Impact for 2017-18.

The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle

Directed by Monteze Freeland

A World Premiere

April 30 - May 22, 2022

An unconventional buddy comedy follows first-time sanitation worker Marlowe and lifer Danny in the cab of a nineteen-ton garbage truck In New York City. Tasked with picking up what the world has discarded, they learn that some things are easier to toss than others.

Lindsay Joelle is a New York-based playwright and librettist. Plays include The Messengers, Trayf (Theater J, Penguin Rep, New Rep), The Garbologists (EST/Sloan Commission), The Princess of Riverside Drive (libretto, Vital Theater), and A Small History of Amal, Age 7 (Forward Flux & Pratidhwani). She has received an Audible Emerging Playwright Commission, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Commission, National New Play Network grant, Irving Zarkower Award, Rita Goldberg MFA Playwriting Prize, two Kilroys List honorable mentions, and has presented work with PlayPenn New Play Conference, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre, City Theatre, TADA! Youth Theater, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, Playwrights Foundation, New Georges, and The Lark. Two-time finalist for the Eugene O'Neill NPC and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, finalist for American Blues Theatre's Blue Ink Award, The Leah Ryan Prize, JAW Festival, Jewish Plays Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, BRIClab Residency, UMass New Play Lab, Soho Rep Lab, among others. NNPN 2018/19 Writer-in-Residence at Curious Theatre. Alumna of Nashville Rep's Ingram New Works Lab, the New Georges Jam, the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Columbia University (BA), and CUNY/Hunter (MFA).


As City Theatre restores operations and staffing following the pandemic, tickets and subscriptions are not yet on sale. Subscription packages go on sale in August and single tickets to all Main Stage shows will be available for purchase on September 7, 2021.

Current subscribers with money on account should look for written communication in the coming weeks. Please monitor City Theatre's website and social media channels for updates or contact the box office at 412-431-CITY (2489) or email with any season questions.


Throughout the pandemic, City Theatre has followed the recommendations of scientists and the regulations determined by local and national health authorities. It continues to work closely with the theatrical unions around their reopening guidelines for artists. Additionally, the organization has surveyed its patrons, held focus groups, and consulted with medical professionals to advise on the safest environment possible. City Theatre has participated in a cohort of over 25 local venues who are developing a shared "compact" to help guide a healthy return to indoor performances and will continue to work with other organizations to ensure a unified and consistent experience for audiences across Pittsburgh. As practices and measures continue to change, City Theatre will maintain a page on its website,, with up-to-date information on policies for audiences, artists, and staff.

Finally, City Theatre is undergoing facility improvements to ensure the safety and comfort of the public. This includes professional assessment and upgrades to the venue's HVAC system and a lobby expansion project that will allow for greater physical space for guests while attending shows on Bingham Street, along with sanitizer stations, PPE, and other best practices.

City Theatre is committed to full transparency around its operations and will always meet or exceed the standards set by the CDC and health experts. Patrons who have questions or suggestions regarding safety procedures at City Theatre are encouraged to email


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