Quentin Crisp's LAST WORD To Have World Premiere In Pittsburgh
Quentin Crisp: The Last Word, a new play adapted from the posthumously published autobiography of author and icon Quentin Crisp, will have its world premiere at Pittsburgh's Lester Hamburg Studio in February, 2020.
Quentin Crisp first rose to global notoriety with the publication of his 1974 autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant, detailing his years in London as a nude model, rent boy, and a flagrantly unapologetic homosexual during a time when it was forbidden by law. Living as a resident alien in New York City during the 1980s, he became a champion of outsider artists including the likes of Sting and Warhol, was frequently sought after for late-night talk show appearances, and empowered audiences with his one-man-show expounding his forthright views on current affairs, social manners, and personal style.
Shortly before his death in 1999, Crisp dictated his final autobiography to author and colleague Phillip Ward. Ward, who is also the executor of Quentin Crisp's estate, published the autobiography The Last Word in 2017. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Crisp's passing, Ward began work on extracting a new stage play from the autobiography, in which Crisp is at his most candid, sharing never-before-heard insights from his past and the revelation that at age 90 he was in fact not homosexual, but rather transgender.
Performer, playwright, and long-time Crisp aficionado Brian Edward has been selected by the estate of Quentin Crisp to collaborate on the development of the script and to portray Quentin Crisp in the stage premiere. Edward is the creator of the critically acclaimed musical comedy Amish Burlesque, and was named among the top leading actors of 2002 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He is also the host of 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's arts and culture talk program.
Makeup design for Quentin Crisp: The Last Word will be crafted by the award winning Tolin FX special effects studio. For over 20 years, Tolin FX has created numerous designs for film, television, and stage works, with clients including Sony Pictures, NBC, CBS, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Chicago's Northlight Theatre.
Within the last two decades, there have been several plays and cabarets staged with Quentin Crisp as the subject. However, The Last Word is the only stage work authorized by and produced in cooperation with the Quentin Crisp Estate. It is also the only such work comprised entirely of Crisp's own words. "The play itself allows Quentin's wisdom and wit to reach us much in the same way they did through his books and through his own award-winning one-man show," said Ward. "It's like a TED Talk on how to live; applicable, appealing, and important to all."
Ward, who resides in New York City where he serves as Director of The Quentin Crisp Archives, will be making a special appearance in Pittsburgh on Friday, November 15th at Arcade Comedy Theater for Crisp Comedy, a fundraising event with proceeds benefiting the world premiere production of Quentin Crisp: The Last Word. In addition to several comedy and improv acts inspired by Quentin Crisp's storied legacy, Mr. Ward will participate in an on-stage Q & A session, as well as a post-show book signing.
Following its February 2020 Pittsburgh debut, Quentin Crisp: The Last Word will have productions in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and locations throughout the United Kingdom.
Quentin Crisp: The Last Word will premiere in the Lester Hamburg Studio on the City Theatre campus, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, with performances running February 6 through 16, 2020. Select performance dates will include a post-show panel discussion, and a book signing meet and greet with Phillip Ward. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online by visiting www.quentincrisp.org or by calling the City Theatre Box Office at 412-431-2489.