City Theatre open house and new season

A few weeks ago, City Theatre in Pittsburgh held an open house, including backstage tours and previews of plays in production. Theater is all about illusion, so it’s interesting to me that City Theatre is willing to show what goes on literally behind the scenes.

I have a little more information about the workings of City Theatre than the average theater-goer, partly because they invite me to cover their productions (just like a real journalist!), and partly because my sister Katy worked at City Theatre in the past as assistant stage manager and remains friends with a number of the people who work there.

City Theatre's set workshop


Some highlights:

The set construction workshop for the theatre, an amazingly small space but stocked with an impressive array of power tools. (In the photo, note the shelf full of power tool batteries being charged — a common theater sight.)


Tony Ferrieri, Scenic Design

My favorite scenic designer in Pittsburgh, Tony Ferrieri, showing the conceptual work and models for the sets of the first two productions this season, Mother Theresa Is Dead and Murderers.

Angie Vesco

Angie Vesco

The fabulously hip and talented Angela Vesco, who is the costumer for Mother Theresa Is Dead, describing the tradeoffs involved in created costumes that are authentic and appropriate to a play but also work in a stage setting.

Dramaturg Carlyn Aquiline talking about the collaborations City Theatre undertakes with playwrights. She also played a video clip of a one-woman show, Bust, which the theatre is bringing to town later this year — one which looks compelling and funny and painful, well worth seeing.

City Theatre's rehearsal space

Rehearsal space

Check out this rehearsal space, which overlooks North Carson Street in the South Side. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, funky industrial piping, and those windows!

City Theatre’s 2007-2008 season kicks off tonight with the U.S. premiere of Mother Theresa Is Dead.

From the promotional materials:

Mother Teresa Is Dead revolves around Jane (Rebecca Harris), who at a crisis point leaves her family in England and flees to India. When the play begins, Jane’s husband, Mark (Sean Meehan), has found her in a village near Madras. She has been taken in by a British artist (Kristen Griffith), and has been helping at a children’s shelter run by Srinivas (Nehal Joshi), an Oxford-educated Indian man. Why did Jane run away and what’s in the bag she won’t let anyone touch? These suspenseful questions drive the fast-paced action. Along the way, deeper inquiries are made into family dynamics, Western entitlement, and the obligations of rich countries to Third World nations. Ultimately, Mother Teresa Is Dead asks: Who will be responsible?

What: Mother Teresa Is Dead by Helen Edmundson
Dates: October 4 – 28, 2007
Times: Tue. at 7 pm; Wed. thru Fri. at 8 pm; Sat. at 5:30 & 9 pm. Sun., at 2 pm.
                 In addition, there will be a 1 pm matinee on Wed., Oct. 17.
Where: City Theatre, 1300 Bingham and 13th Streets, on Pittsburgh’s South Side
Tickets: $15 to $46, available at 412.431.CITY (2489) or

I won’t have the chance to see the show until next week; I look forward to it.

2 replies on “City Theatre open house and new season”

  1. That was a fun open house. Thanks for letting people know about the event and then writing this overview, Cindy.

    Jackie Vesci and I also went and really enjoyed it. My favorite part of the tour was the pop quiz/contest at the end. They asked surprisingly difficult questions about the City Theater and what we learned during the open house. Jackie was one of the contestants and I think she won some sort of prize. Good times, I wish more local arts organizations held events like this.

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