Playwrights Continue 15th Season With The Ray Werner Festival

What do you get when Pittsburgh Playwrights collaborates with a prolific playwright to present a world premiere festival of his plays? You get The Ray Werner Play Festival (fondly known as RayFest)! Five plays, five stories, and five chances to see each one.

A Capuchin missionary drives a stake into the heart of celibacy. A teenager with Tourette Syndrome brings chaos, along with redemption, to a troubled Catholic High School. In the far West of Ireland, a miracle of the Blessed Mother backfires. So does a scheme to cheat a deaf and dumb tinker fiddler. And a child's Christmas story prepares a family for some unexpected guests.

Rita Gregory directs "Raphael's Angels," John Amplas directs "SumiSami," Melissa Martin brings "Our Lady of Dubbledruffy" to life, and Ranney Lawrence directs an evening of two one-acts: "The Stuttering Pig" & "Christmas Tassel Bell."

"What has helped our company survive artistically over the years has been our ability to tap into our treasure trove of well-versed Pittsburgh playwrights," says Mark Clayton Southers, founder and producing artistic director. "Ray Werner is one such playwright. August Wilson often said 'Write what you know' and boy, does Ray know how to tap into his rich life experiences as well as

his creative and very funny imagination. We're lucky to have this Pittsburgh Icon amongst our ranks."

"To dedicate a festival to the work of Ray Werner is bold!" says Festival coordinator Monteze Freeland. "But to know Ray is to know that he always rises to the challenges ahead of him. There are a few facts that come with a Ray Werner play: diversity, heart and insight into cultures that are familiar yet foreign."

"How blessed I am to have a festival of my plays, it is simply extraordinary. But to have Pittsburgh Playwrights bringing them to life is over the top," says playwright Ray Werner. "The work ethic, the amazing talent and the vision of Monteze Freeland and Mark Clayton Southers, their confidence in my work, is indeed humbling. And all this, of course, for the audience to go home smiling. Or thinking. Or feeling a little better about life. And the people around them."

The Ray Werner Festival runs November 8 through December 2, 2018 at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, 937 Liberty Avenue, Third Floor in the Cultural District. Individual tickets are just $15 in honor of PPTCO's 15th anniversary. A $50 festival pass include all five! To purchase tickets, go to www.pghplaywrights.org/rayfest.

Support for our 2018-2019 season is provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative, Regional Asset District, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Richard King Mellon Foundation, August Wilson Center-African American Cultural Center, The Opportunity Fund, and Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund.

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