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City Theatre Opens 2016-2017 Season with the Heretical & Hilarious Broadway Hit Comedy HAND TO GOD

 


Kicking the 2016-17 season off with a bang, City Theatre presents Hand to God by Robert Askins, through October 16, on the Main Stage.

Directed by Artistic Director Tracy Brigden, the Pittsburgh premiere of the hit Broadway comedy features a cast of five local and national performers and several devious puppets.

In a church basement in a little town in Texas in Hand to God, something evil is afoot. Or, well — at hand. The youth group has a monster in its ranks: a rogue puppet named Tyrone. He’s hijacked the hand of timid teen Jason and there’s nothing his classmates, his mother, or the pastor can do to exorcise this foul-mouthed demon.

Hand to God is a thrill ride of a comedy about good and evil, sex and sin, faith, and the filthy mind of one twisted sock puppet. It is the Pittsburgh premiere of the uproarious Tony Award® Nominated Broadway hit The New York Times called “Flat out hilarious.”

“Bringing the blasphemous new comedy Hand to God to City Theatre is a thrill for me! Where else in Pittsburgh can you see a cadre of puppets committing more than half of the seven deadly sins live on stage each night?” said Director Tracy Brigden. “It isn’t all heresy and dark humor, though.

“Robert Askins is a fantastic new voice in the American theater. He draws on his own experiences growing up in a tight-knit Lutheran community in Texas in this cock-eyed coming-of-age story that swings from slapstick comedy to tragic reality. It’s a raucous exploration of the human (and puppet) condition, where nothing is sacred.”

Robert Askins was born in Cypress, Texas. His Tony Award®-nominated and Obie Award-winning play Hand to God ran on London’s West End (Olivier Award-nominated for Best New Comedy) after it opened on Broadway in April 2015, following two critically-acclaimed runs at Ensemble Studio Theatre and MCC Theater, where it was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick and called “the most entertaining show of 2014.”

His newest play Permission made its world premiere off-Broadway in spring 2015 at MCC Theater. His play Fish Display was part of the 2012 Ojai Playwrights Conference and Permission was part of the 2014 conference. Mr. Askins has received two EST/Sloan grants, the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and an Arch and Bruce Davis Award for Playwriting. He is an I-73 and Youngblood alum and a graduate of Baylor University and currently at work on two feature film projects and an original comedy series for HBO.

Hand to God is directed by Tracy Brigden. Performing the role of Jason/Tyrone is Nick LaMedica in his City Theatre debut. The cast includes Pittsburgh favorites Maggie Carr as Jessica/Jolene, Michael Greer as Timmy, Tim McGeever as Pastor Greg, and Lisa Velten Smith as Margery.

New this season, beginning with Hand to God, City Theatre is introducing Saturday matinee performances. There will be both 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. performances on October 8 and 15.

For a complete listing of show times, visit CityTheatreCompany.org or call 412-431-2489.

A Happy Hour kick-off for Hand to God is planned for Wednesday, Sept.r 28 at 5:30 p.m.

Swing by City Theatre for a pre-show happy hour with wickedly good Wigle Whiskey cocktails and samples, Penn Brewery beer specials, and a preview performance of Hand to God. Join in in the lobby after the show for a live recording of Drinking Partners Podcast with comedians Ed Dailey and Day Bracey and the cast of Hand to God.

Felt Up!, a Puppet-making workshop and brunch will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 11:30 a.m. Join City Theatre and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse at the theatre in South Side to make your very own Tyrone.

Enjoy a complimentary Bloody Mary or Mimosa, grab some snacks, and make a one-of-a-kind hand puppet using recycled and repurposed materials from the PCCR. There are only 20 spaces available for the puppet-making workshop and it includes a ticket to the 1 p.m. performance of Hand to God. Tickets are $50.

Additional events include: Sunday Talkbacks – Oct. 2 and 9 immediately following the 2 p.m. performances; Greenroom Young Professionals Night Friday, Oct. 7 at 8:00 p.m .; and, Pay-What-You-Want Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.

Tickets are available at the City Theatre Box Office, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, by calling 412-431-CITY (2489) or at citytheatrecompany.org.

 

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