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Pittsburgh Public Theater's New Play Contest Begins and Rob Zellers' REDUX Comes to PlayTime

The Public will also host Veterans' Story Night in conjunction with REDUX.

Pittsburgh Public Theater's New Play Contest Begins and Rob Zellers' REDUX Comes to PlayTime

The O'Reilly Theater doors may be temporarily closed, but Pittsburgh Public Theater has never been more alive with artistic activity. The Public's Inaugural New Play Contest has officially begun and is now welcoming submissions from writers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Complete details are below. The winning play will be presented as the finale of the Classics N'at benefit series on June 17, 2021.

The Public will also present Rob Zellers' original play, REDUX as part of the Public PlayTime Classics N'at benefit series November 19-22. Mr. Zellers returns to Pittsburgh Public Theater after successful runs of his previous plays, The Chief and Harry's Friendly Service. He also launched the Pittsburgh Public Theater Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest during his tenure as Pittsburgh Public Theater Education Director. Anyone may watch PlayTime benefit readings by making a donation to support Pittsburgh Public Theater. Donors will receive private access to the reading on Thursday, November 19 at 7pm ET as well as access to a recording of the reading through Sunday, November 22 at 10pm ET. Complete viewing information is available at PPT.ORG/PLAYTIME. Inspired by the themes in REDUX, Pittsburgh Public Theater will also host a Veterans' Story Night that will be open to the public on November 12, more details below.

"We are thrilled to give our audiences the chance to be the first to experience new work by critically acclaimed artists like Rob Zellers, and to begin to know emerging artists through initiatives such as our New Play Contest," stated Artistic Director, Marya Sea Kaminski. "Although we are all eager for the time we can gather in person again, we are committed to finding innovative ways to gather, to laugh, and to feel the kind of inspiration that comes from sharing great stories. Though we may need to stay distanced for now, we don't have to feel isolated. There are so many ways and so many reasons for us to come together."


The competition is open to all writers based in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia. The winning playwright will receive a $500 honorarium for their work, and their play will be staged as an online reading in June 2021 as the finale of the Public PlayTime Classics N'at benefit series. To enter the contest, prospective entrants should click HERE and complete the online submission form by January 4, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. All submitted plays should 1) comprise a running time between 60-120 minutes; 2) require a cast of no more than 10 actors; and 3) not have received a fully staged physical or digital production. All genres are welcome, but we will only accept one submission per writer, and no musicals please.

Plays will be adjudicated by a cohort of local readers over three rounds, on the bases of use of theme, effectiveness of plot structure, clarity of playwright's perspective and character development, as well as overall impact of the work. In Round 1, ten-page samples of each submitted play will be read and evaluated. Beginning in Round 2, the full text of the plays that advance will be read and evaluated by a smaller group of readers. Writers whose plays advance to the Round 3 will be notified, and additionally will receive feedback from the members of Pittsburgh Public Theater's Writers Workshop, who will comprise the final panel of readers. The winning script and writer will be announced on April 1, 2021. That play will be presented as the finale of the Classics N'at benefit series on June 17, 2021.

Any questions about the contest can be submitted to


Written by Rob Zellers
Directed by Kyle Haden

REDUX, a new play by Rob Zellers (The Chief, Harry's Friendly Service), sets the stage for the long-overdue reunion of Vietnam War veterans John and Chuck. Even after 45 years of not seeing one another, they fall right back into their old rhythms of bolstering and battering one another with memories and inside jokes. On this day though, they fight to figure out how to contend with formidable changes in their lives, as they share drinks over a weekend in Chuck's Mississippi homestead. Trauma and truce are triggered as they test the bond they formed in the jungles of Southeast Asia all those years ago.

The cast features Pittsburgh Public Theater "veterans" Eugene Lee, Cotter Smith, Alison Weisgall, and Rami Margron; and Tyler Layton in her Pittsburgh Public Theater debut.


Pittsburgh Public Theater, in partnership with Point Park University Community Engagement and What a Veteran Looks Like, will present Veterans' Story Night, an evening of virtual performances by nine local veterans, on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at 7:00 pm. The curators of this program are Point Park University PhD Candidate and Veterans' Community Liaison Olivia Hartle, and Director of the Office of Veterans Services at the University of Pittsburgh and co-founder of What a Veteran Looks Like, Aryanna Hunter. To register for the free event, click HERE.

Veterans' Story Night is the culmination of a free theatrical storytelling program which The Public offered to local veterans over six sessions in October and November. The goal of the program is to help bridge the military-civilian divide in Pittsburgh by bringing together local veterans, theater artists, and audience members to bear witness to the stories of their neighbors and work toward building a more compassionate and creative city for everyone.


Pittsburgh Public Theater offers learners of all ages the chance to enhance the PlayTime Classics N'at benefit series with engaging interactive workshops. Participants will enjoy a brief pre-show activity tailor-made to stimulate thought and movement, and more extensive workshops geared towards students in grades 6-12 which will explore the themes of each reading.

PlayTime Plus Pre-show Activity, November 13 via the Pittsburgh Public Theater Facebook page:
Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter INEZ will guide viewers through a songwriting exercise that will highlight key themes and words from REDUX.

PlayTime Plus Post-show Live Workshop, November 24, 4:00-4:30pm via Zoom:
Join local actor, Aaron Crutchfield, for a theater improv workshop that will focus on the meaning of home. Check the Pittsburgh Public Theater Facebook page for official event details.


Donations start at $10, which includes the live reading on November 19 at 7pm ET and recording through Sunday, November 22 at 10pm ET. Donations are now being accepted HERE. Subscribers should visit PPT.ORG/Subscribe for information on their PlayTime benefit and "Playwright" Donors will receive an email with their information.

Pittsburgh Public Theater gratefully acknowledges PNC for their generous support of Pittsburgh Public PlayTime's Classics N'at series.

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