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City Theatre's 2016 season continues with Sex with Strangers


Last updated 2/29/2016 at 5:57pm

The 2015-16 season at City Theatre continues with one of the hottest plays in the country this year. Sex with Strangers, by Laura Eason (Netflix’s “House of Cards”), runs on the Mainstage, March 12 – April 3. It is directed by Christian Parker.

When 40(ish) Olivia, a talented but unrecognized novelist, gets snowbound at a writers’ retreat with 20-something Ethan, superstar sexcapade blogger and king of the Twitterverse, the chemistry is hot and the sex electric. But when each desires what the other has, and online and offline personas meet, how strong is the connection? This sensuous and provocative comedy about fame, cyber identity, and big ambitions asks: what would you do, and who would you become, to get what you want?

“Deceptively simple, Sex with Strangers reveals itself subtly and is a truly compelling study in character and ambition,” said director Christian Parker. “As they watch the two characters in this sly, smart play become entangled with one another, the audience will be stirred and challenged with questions about what lengths we will go to get what we want, and whether we can really trust what we see in other people.”

“I am thrilled to include the wildly talented Laura Eason in the roster of exceptional playwrights produced on City Theatre’s stages, and feel sure that the Pittsburgh audiences will go crazy for her riveting and funny play,” City Theatre Artistic Director, Tracy Brigden said. “Anyone speculating about the existence of strong plays by women need look no further than this season’s plays by Laura Eason, Dominique Morriseau and Anna Ziegler—or through the history of City’s productions by female writers including Theresa Rebeck, Charlayne Woodard, Madeleine George, Lynn Nottage, Eve Ensler, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Lisa Kron to name only a few.”

Sex with Strangers features Megan Byrne and Nick Ducassi as the contemporary couple Olivia and Ethan. Ms. Byrne previously appeared at City Theatre in Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley and directed by Tracy Brigden in 2014).

Mr. Ducassi is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University and previously appeared at City Theatre in Speak American by Eric Simonson in 2009

Of special note, Andrew David Ostrowski is the lighting designer for Sex with Strangers, which marks 70 production designs at City Theatre in his career, not including myriad variations of the Late Nite Catechism series or remounts of designs for South Side Stories, Mondo Mangia, and more.

Christian Parker is a director, dramaturg, and chair of the graduate theatre program at Columbia University, where he also heads the dramaturgy concentration. He recently directed Leslie Ayvazian’s new play Out of the City for the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts, and served as dramaturg for the Atlantic’s world premiere of the musical Found by Hunter Bell, Lee Overtree, and Eli Bolin at the Atlantic Theater Company. From 2001-2014 he was the associate artistic director of Atlantic Theater Company.

According to Theatre Communications Group, Laura Eason is among the most-produced playwrights, and Sex with Strangers one of the top ten most-produced plays, in the 2015-16 American regional theatre season. Ms. Eason is the author of 20 plays, original works, and adaptations, a musical book writer and screenwriter.

Selected productions include The Undeniable Sound of Right Now, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Around the World in 80 Days. As a screenwriter, she wrote on seasons two and three of the Emmy-winning Netflix show “House Of Cards.” She is an ensemble member and former artistic director of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre with a 2011 Regional Tony Award. In New York, she is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, New Georges, and a Women’s Project Playwright’s Lab alumna.

More information about Ms. Eason is available at

City Theatre special events connected with Sex With Strangers include discussions and Greenroom, connecting the cast and creative team with the young professional crowd following the performance on Friday, April 1. Tickets to Greenroom are $25 and include a ticket to the 8:00 p.m. performance, free house wine and Penn Brewery beer, and catered snacks from Thai Me Up post-show.

All discussions are open to the public and immediately follow the performances listed. Sex with Strangers is expected to run approximately two hours:

Talkback will take place on Sunday, March 20. Join the cast and creative team in the theatre following the 2:00 p.m. performance to learn about the process behind this production of Sex with Strangers.

The Female Perspective: A Conversation with Local Women Writers is slated for Tuesday, March 22. Join a panel of Pittsburgh-based, female authors for an exciting discussion surrounding the influence of gender on their careers, the literary field, and our world. Following the 7:00 p.m. performance.

Writing in the 21st Century: E-books, New Media, and the Digital Revolution will take place on Tuesday, March 29. Join a panel of internet-based writers as we explore how blogging, social media, and self-publishing have transformed the creation and consumption of literature. Following the 7:00 p.m. performance.

Tickets are available at the City Theatre box office, 1300 Bingham Street, or by calling 412-431-CITY (2489). For more information, visit


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