City Theatre announces the first three titles of its 40th anniversary season—all compelling new works by returning playwrights: Holliday with Mulligan, a music-filled portrait of actress Judy Holliday by Willy Holtzman, Midsummer, an adventure-filled romp by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre, and Mr. Joy, a poignant exploration of a Harlem community by Daniel Beaty.
Holliday with Mulligan, by Willy Holtzman, author of The Morini Strad and a world premiere commissioned by City Theatre, takes place in 1964 in New York City. The tape is rolling when Born Yesterday star Judy Holliday lays down a series of impressionistic tracks about her rise to fame amidst the politics of the 1950s. Memory and song converge as the “dumb blonde” with a genius IQ charts her experiences from Greenwich Village to Broadway and beyond with notable show business alums, including Leonard Bernstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Gerry Mulligan.
Midsummer (a play with songs), by David Greig, author of The Monster in the Hall and composed by Gordon McIntyre takes place in midsummer in Edinburgh and turns into a weekend of wild abandon when divorce lawyer Helena meets small-time crook Bob in a cellar wine bar. With a wad of ill-gotten cash in hand and a local gangster on their heels, the unlikely pair goes on an alcohol- and adventure-filled romp, discovering that there are second chances at life—and love.
Mr. Joy is a world premiere by Daniel Beaty, author of Through the Night and Breath & Imagination. What happened to Mr. Joy? A Harlem community is disrupted when the Chinese-American’s shoe repair shop, a neighborhood staple for decades, does not open its doors. Nine customers ranging from 11-year-old Clarissa, a budding shoe designer, to Bessie, a “gangsta granny,” reflect on the shop owner’s impact in this moving exploration of one community’s efforts to heal in order to dream again.
“City Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary season by welcoming back three extraordinary playwrights who are at the peak of their powers,” says Tracy Brigden, artistic director of City Theatre. “Two of the titles are world premieres, and all are unique and compelling stories of love, loss, and the power of the human spirit.
“Holliday with Mulligan, a City Theatre commission by Willy Holtzman, is a warm and often surprising portrayal of a Hollywood actress whose public persona as a “dumb blonde” starkly contrasted her true intelligence and upbringing. The play, set in a Manhattan recording studio, vividly captures the zeitgeist of ’50s and ’60s New York and Hollywood.
“Next up is Midsummer by David Greig, the Scottish playwright who gave us 2012’s very special The Monster in the Hall. This gritty comedy, interspersed with song, is the rare rom-com that appeals to both sexes with its bawdy humor, crazy plot twists, and unsentimental love story.
“Finally, we’re announcing Mr. Joy, a funny and moving world premiere about how a community comes together in crisis. The script features playwright Daniel Beaty’s unique blend of comedy, poetry, music, and multi-character storytelling—a style that City Theatre audiences have really come to embrace. Stay tuned for more big news to come!”
City Theatre will announce the full six-play season, including three more new works and the complete performance calendar, shortly.
City Theatre will also have a limited engagement special presentation of The Pajama Men, created and performed by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez from August 27 – September 7.
The critically-acclaimed comedy duo The Pajama Men bring their trademark style of blink-of-an-eye character switches and plot twists to Pittsburgh. Originally from Albuquerque, NM, the sketch comedians and masters of improv have become stars of the international comedy circuit, earning five stars from the London Times and comparisons to comic luminaries including Abbott and Costello, Monty Python, and “South Park.”
Season tickets are now available.
Season tickets are available three ways: On-site at the City Theatre Box Office, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203; By calling 412-431-CITY (2489); or, Mail-in order form available at CityTheatreCompany.org.