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Momentum Festival of New Plays features three works-in-progress


Last updated 5/9/2022 at 8:14pm

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, City Theatre has announced the return of the Momentum New Play Festival (Momentum '22). To be held in-person on its South Side campus from May 16 – 21, the festival features public readings of three new plays in progress as well as a playwright's "open mic."

The festival overlaps the final week of the mainstage production, The Garbologist by Lindsay Joelle, a co-world premiere production that was developed at the Momentum Festival in 2019.

"We are excited to share the line-up for the in-person return of City Theatre's Momentum Festival of new plays at different stages and restore this critical part of our mission and programming," said Co-Artistic Director Marc Masterson. 

"The festival has served as a beacon of new play development in Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years. Giving voice to local and national playwrights, the festival offers a glimpse into the bold process of playmaking," added Co-Artistic Director Monteze Freeland. "We are thrilled to invite live audiences to delve into an immersive theatrical experience, welcome back CMU graduate Ty Greenwood, and lift-up City Theatre's own Clare Drobot. And who doesn't love an open mic featuring a few of Pittsburgh's brightest writing talent?" 

Momentum '22 will feature playwright Ty Greenwood, the first artist to receive a commission from the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights. Made possible through the generous support of award-winning playwright Kemp Powers (author of One Night in Miami...; City Theatre, 2019), which has been adapted by Mr. Powers as a film distributed by Amazon Studios), the fund allows City Theatre to award a commission that gives a playwright the flexibility to work on a new play of their choosing and includes built-in developmental support as part of the process.

"Dependency is a raw story about two high school drug addicts and I feel it's important to shed light on this topic because kids are getting involved with drugs at a much younger age now," shared playwright Greenwood. "This is a play that isn't going to offer the typical journey of recovery and healing that we often see, in fact it's going to show the opposite, the bad the ugly but the payoff is the realization of needing HELP!" 

This year's festival also marks a first-time collaboration between City Theatre and Project-Y Theatre Company, an outside-the-box theatre company that supports the creation, development, and production of new works for the stage in New York City, to present an immersive play experience by Lia Romeo. 

"Project Y Theatre is excited to partner with City Theatre to develop our immersive comedy, Yoga With Jillian, in Pittsburgh," said Andrew W. Smith, co-artistic director of Project Y Theatre Company. "Our rehearsals have been full of laughter and mayhem, and we can't wait to share this experience with the exciting community of theatre lovers." 

Rounding out the festival, is a new play by City Theatre's co-artistic director, Clare Drobot, and the Playwright's Slam, hosted by the Dramatists Guild regional representative, TJ Young. This will be the first public reading of Keyword: Wander; the seeds for the play were created during a residency at the Hangar Theatre's AIRS program.

"Keyword: Wander is about searching through a family's past to understand the present," shared playwright Drobot. "It's rooted in a personal discovery for me; of uncovering a legacy of Jewish heritage and attempting to piece together that lineage and inherited history. I'm honored to have the opportunity to share it with audiences as part of the festival." 

All readings are free and open to the public. Registration is required as space is limited.

To register visit or call the Box Office at 412-431-CITY (2489).


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