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City Theatre Announces Updated 2020-21 Season

The Pittsburgh company will present a drive-in festival, virtual content, and live productions.

PITTSBURGH: City Theatre has announced its updated 2020-21 season, which will feature a drive-in experience, virtual content, and more.

“One of our very first steps this spring was to develop an internal safety committee representing every aspect of the City Theatre operation—from the public’s experience to backstage—and sought out the advice and counsel of experts from the medical field,” said managing director James McNeel in a statement. “The drive-in concept quickly became the most obvious and exciting path forward, as it provides a low-risk environment for the performers and for our patrons, who will be safely inside their vehicles. It’s a real testament to our team that we have found a way to perform again while also following the incredibly important health guidelines necessary to defeat this pandemic.”

City Theatre’s annual street party fundraiser THE BASH, originally scheduled for Sept. 12, has been canceled. In addition, Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau and the world premiere of James McManus’s community-based production, funded by a RADical Impact grant, will be rescheduled for the 2021-22 season.

The 2020-21 season will kick off with the Drive-In Community Arts Festival at Hazelwood Green, a riverfront development currently under construction. The festival will feature 12 nights of Pittsburgh-based programming with community partner organizations. The full lineup and tickets will be available on Aug. 17.

Next up will be Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein, originally slated to open the company’s 46th season, performed at the drive-in stage with a live score. The family-friendly adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tells the story using shadows and light.

Following will be the world premiere of Claws Out, by Monteze Freeland, Shua Potter, and composer Douglas Levine. The holiday drag musical comedy is interactive, and created specifically for the digital stage.

City Theatre is cautiously optimistic that its planned programming for 2021 will be presented in front of live audiences. The winter and spring lineup includes AmericUs from Universes, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen,  the world premiere of The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle, and The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp.

The company will also present the 21st annual Young Playwrights Festival in January, featuring three new plays by local students Elena Eiss, Amelia Kovach, and Rivers Leche.

Also part of the programming will be a concert version of F*ck7thGrade by Jill Sobule and Liza Birkenmeier. The production, which was set to be produced live this fall, will be distributed online as a concert.

“The arts have always had the ability to bring people together, and the Drive-In Arts Festival was designed to do just that,” said associate artistic director Clare Drobot in a statement. “The response from our partner organizations has been tremendous as we build a much-needed venue for live performances that’s safe for audiences and artists alike. It’s really thrilling to be able to work with so many different partners and support Pittsburgh’s vibrant performing arts community. We’ll also be collaborating with a number of Hazelwood-based organizations to celebrate the neighborhood as part of the festival.”

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