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City Theatre will present world premiere of Hollinger's Opus


Erika Cuenca and Patrick McNulty in Opus. Photo credit: Mark Garvin.

City Theatre in association with Philadelphia's Arden Theatre presents the world premiere of Opus, by Michael Hollinger (Incorruptible and Red Herring at City Theatre).

Directed by Arden Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen (Cafe Puttanesca at City Theatre), Opus will run on City Theatre's 272-seat mainstage from March 17 through April 9. Opus was workshopped last year at City Theatre during MOMENTUM 05: new plays at different stages.

In Opus, the fictional Lazara String Quartet blends seamlessly to sound like a single instrument. Off-stage, however, tempers flare among the four passionate individuals: violist Dorian (David Whalen), first violinist Elliot (Patrick McNulty), second violinist Alan (Greg Wood), and cellist Carl (Douglas Rees).

When the group fires the visionary but unpredictable Dorian shortly before a televised performance at the White House, they decide to take a chance on Grace (Erika Cuenca), a gifted young musician who has little performance experience. Set in New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C., Opus is rich with elegant writing, wry humor, and suspense. Hollinger's rehearsal room lingo and backstage bickering are right on key.

But what the playwright mainly shares with the musicians he has created is a thirst for artistic perfection, or as he says in Opus, “Never perfect. Just closer. That's all we can hope for.”

Nolen and cast come directly to Pittsburgh from their Arden run (Jan. 12 – March 5), about which Philadelphia radio station WRTI said, “It's hard to imagine any chamber music lover or theatergoer disputing how well the playwright handles his material – or the excellence of this production.”

 The design team for Opus includes James Kronzer (scenic), Michael McAleer (costumes), Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting), and Jorge Cousineau (sound). Carlyn Aquiline is the dramaturg and Georgia Schlessman is the assistant director.

In addition to his work as a playwright, Michael Hollinger is also a musician. He received a Bachelor of Music in viola performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Arts in theatre from Villanova University, where he is now an assistant professor of theatre.

City Theatre's production of Opus is sponsored by PNC Advisors.

To buy tickets call the box office at 412-431-CITY or


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