Staged reading Sunday to benefit New Works Festival


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A desire to help the Pittsburgh New Works Festival has brought Pittsburgh theater icons Barbara Russell and Bingo O'Malley together for the first time on stage.

They will perform a benefit staged reading of the play “What’ll We Do With Sue?” at 3 p.m. Sunday in Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie.

Pittsburgh New Works, now in its 24th season, stages new, one-act plays each year in a festival that runs from late August through September. Last year, the festival moved to a new location at Off the Wall Theater in Carnegie.

“I always wanted to do this play. It will be staged reading, so it will be like an audio radio show with props,” Ms. Russell said.

She said she had a chance to become friends with the playwright Harry Cauley, when they worked together at Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont.

Mr. Cauley went on to write for Carol Burnett and won a Writers Guild of America award for his film, “There Were Times, Dear,” starring Shirley Jones and Len Cariou.

“He sent me copy of the play and said I could do anything with it. I like to think that he had me in mind when he wrote the play, Ms. Russell said, who is delighted to have the opportunity to finally perform it.

“I would love to have people hear this show. It’s a very funny play. It’s another glamour role for me. I play a bag lady,” Ms. Russell said.

Ms. Russell added she was happy to help Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

“The festival promotes playwriting, and is a wonderful unique opportunity for actors, writers, and directors,” she said.

As an added inducement, there was the opportunity to work with Bingo O’Malley.

“This is the first time we are working together,” she said.

Mr. O’Malley, who grew up in Oakland but now lives in Bethel Park, is noted primarily for his dramatic roles in theater and film, but he has a soft spot for comedy.

“I love dramatic acting, but I am very pleased to do a comedic role. I always look for good comedic programs,” he said.

Although rehearsing and preparing for the play involves a lot of work, he said he was glad to help when the festival asked him to read the play. 

“I am for any endeavor that energizes theater and brings new life and excitement to the theater,” he said.

Tickets are $30. Admission includes a reception with wine, beer and light refreshments.

“We will have a good time, and benefit the Pittsburgh New Works. At the reception afterward, there will an opportunity to schmooze with the audience,” Ms. Russell said.

Tickets: www.pittsburghnewworks.org.


Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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