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Palo Alto Players Presents Original Solo Play AREN'T YOU…?


AREN’T YOU…?, written and performed by Pitts with direction by ShawnJ West and developed in collaboration with David Ford, runs for 6 in-person performances.

Palo Alto Players Presents Original Solo Play AREN'T YOU…?

Palo Alto Players for the first time in its recent history will premiere an original one-man show by Bay Area actor Fred Pitts. AREN'T YOU...? recounts Pitts' hilarious journey to visit all 21 California Mission churches, where he discovers being black makes him an instant celebrity - the question is which one? AREN'T YOU...?, written and performed by Pitts with direction by ShawnJ West and developed in collaboration with David Ford, runs for 6 in-person performances August 20-29, 2021 at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, with a recording of the performance available to stream on-demand August 27-September 5. Current season subscribers have priority access through Monday, July 19. In-person tickets ($40) and on-demand access ($20) will go on sale to the general public Tuesday, July 20 at or by phone at 650.329.0891.

In the Summer of 2012, San Francisco-based actor Fred Pitts finds himself on a mission to explore every California Mission. What started as a simple tourist road trip became an examination of his fellow tourists and Mission docents. Some are experts on the Catholic Church, a few are experts on Native American history, others are experts on...everything else. Yet, they have one thing in common: they are all experts on which famous Black person he resembles. Full of Pitts' personal experiences and love of history, AREN'T YOU...? perfectly blends delightful insights into the Missions, cogent thoughts on early California settlers' interactions with Native Americans, and the experience of walking in the shoes of an African American male.

In December 2018, AREN'T YOU...? (under an earlier title) had its debut at PlayGround Solo Performance Festival. It went on to be featured at The Marsh as part of its Marsh Rising Series (May 2019), Dragon Productions Theatre's Inaugural Singular Stories (August 2019), and PianoFight (August 2019). AREN'T YOU...? was slated to return to The Marsh San Francisco for a full run in April 2020, but was cancelled prior to opening due to the pandemic.

"AREN'T YOU...? is a comedy wrapped in a history lesson wrapped in a study of bias wrapped in a unique piece of theatre," said Palo Alto Players Artistic Director Patrick Klein. "We already knew Fred Pitts has major talent from his previous performances at Players, and now he is sharing this engaging true story of his adventure. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to premiere the first full run of his one-man show and share it all with our audiences!"

Fred Pitts (Actor/Writer) has been performing in the Bay Area for 20 years. He has recently appeared on the Palo Alto Players' stage in Clybourne Park, All The Way, and One Man, Two Guvnors. He is a company member of African-American Shakespeare Company and Custom Made Theatre Company, and has worked with numerous theatres throughout the Bay. Other Regional credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, Jitney, Julius Caesar, Middletown, The Heidi Chronicles, Eurydice (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominee for Best Supporting Actor), Sweat and Feel the Spirit. He is a member of SAG and has numerous film and commercial credits.. After a 30 year career as an Emergency Physician and working in Occupational Medicine, Pitts now works for a Biopharmaceutical company in Silicon Valley.

ShawnJ West (Director) California based director/actor by way of Seattle, WA where he directed the cult hit Sex In Seattle: Episodes 15, 16, 17 & 18 with SIS Productions; ReAct's production of WELL ; Redwood Theatre's The SevenYear Itch and the West Coast premiere of Illyria . Bay Area credits, Playwright Center San Francisco' s shorts and showcase; African American Shakespeare Company's production of Cinderella and assistant director on Macbeth ; Lorraine Hansberry Theatre's A Soulful Christmas. Most recently he directed the audio play, Interlude by Harrison David Rivers with New Conservatory Theatre Center which will have its world premiere onstage this fall. You can find him on YouTube by way of West Place Media where he puts on his own talk show, Underneath the Shade Tree.

AREN'T YOU...? was originally developed for The Marsh in collaboration with David Ford. Ford has been collaborating on new and unusual theatre for three decades and has been an artist-in-residence at The Marsh for most of that time. His award-winning solo shows have been seen all over the English-speaking world. The San Francisco press has variously called him the solo performer maven, the monologue maestro, the dean of solo performance, and the solo performer's best friend and a week rarely goes by when residents of the Bay Area can not enjoy one of his productions. Collaborators include Geoff Hoyle, Brian Copeland, Lorri Holt, Charlie Varon, Echo Brown, Tom Ammiano, Firoozeh Dumas, Marilyn Pittman, Rebecca Fisher, Wayne Harris, Irma Herrera, Bill Talen, and Marga Gomez.

Tickets for AREN'T YOU...? can be purchased online at, by phone at 650.329.0891, or by visiting the Box Office (Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm) at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. In-person performances at the Lucie Stern Theater begin on August 20 and continue through August 29, with on-demand streaming available August 27-September 5. In-person performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Current season subscribers have priority access through July 19. Single ticket sales for in-person tickets ($40) and on-demand streaming access ($20) open online Tuesday, July 20.

Photo credit: David Allen

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