New Works Fest goes Off the Wall

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The Pittsburgh New Works Festival enters its 23rd year with changes in venue and format. The showcase for never-before-seen plays -- 18 of them, produced by 18 regional companies -- is now at the Off the Wall Theater in Carnegie, where the plays will be grouped into four programs.

Programs A and B will be performed during the first two weeks, Sept. 5-15, and Programs C and D are Sept. 19-29. Passes for all programs to be seen on specific days and Weekend Warrior passes -- all four programs on two Saturdays -- are $40. Single tickets are $15, or $17 at the door, students, $12/$14, at or 1-888-71-TICKETS. More at

Program A (8 p.m. Sept. 5, 13-14; 5 p.m. Sept. 7; and 2 p.m. Sept. 8)

• "All Things to All People" by Kyle Zielinsky of Bethel Park; produced by The Baldwin Players. A young writer holds hostage a critic who panned his most recent production.

• "Suddenly, Last Supper" by David Katzin of Pittsburgh, produced by The Summer Company. A Last Supper spoof, as seen through the lens of Tennessee Williams

• "Moon Over Gomorrah" by Byron Wilmot of Rochester, N.Y.; produced by The Red Masquers. Mark's parents have concluded their son is gay and have gone to great lengths to prepare themselves and their small town in anticipation of his coming out. But Mark has a surprise for them.

Program B (8 p.m. Sept. 6-7, 12; 5 p.m. Sept. 14; and 2 p.m. Sept. 15)

• "Unveiled" by J. Thalia Cunningham of Delmar, N.Y.; produced by CCAC South. Through a series of cultural gaffes, a well-intentioned representative from an American NGO discovers the unexpected truth about what Afghan women really want.

• "The Perhaps" by F.J. Hartland of South Park; produced by Stage Right: When a boy is sent to live with his grandmother, he discovers an imaginary friend -- film legend Bette Davis.

• "The Test" by Paulina Shur of Latham, N.Y.; produced by Cup-A-Jo. Two wealthy brothers, Rick and Bob, are engaged: Rick to Alice and Bob to Alice's friend Marge. The men and women each decide to put their love to a test.

Program C (8 p.m. Sept. 19, 27-28; 5 p.m. Sept. 21; and 2 p.m. Sept. 22)

• "Bored of Education!" by Georgina Marsh of Mayville, N.Y.; produced by The Theatre Factory. A sneak peak at what goes on behind the closed doors of America's educational system.

• "Even" by Karen Lewis of Saranac Lake, N.Y.; produced by Phase 3 Productions. Ten years ago Barb's officer son was killed with a fragmentary grenade in Vietnam by an enlisted man. On the day of his release from prison, Barb arrives for his "welcome home" party.

• "One 2nd" by Sara Baines-Miller of Pittsburgh; produced by Greensburg Civic Theatre. Two mothers struggle to find answers during an unthinkable tragedy.

Program D (8 p.m. Sept. 20-21, 26; 5 p.m. Sept. 28; and 2 p.m. Sept. 29)

• "Dinner Theatre of the Absurd" by Mike Melczak of Oakmont; produced by McKeesport Little Theatre. The description reads: "Three couples present for a dinner theater production of absurd proportions, although they were told there would be no math."

• "Whistleblower" by Carolyn Kras of La Grange, Ill.; produced by The Heritage Players. A law clerk enters a wacky office that manifests itself as a gym, with a coach-like boss who encourages her to "push the boundaries" of legality, while her conscience (which voices itself through office machines) nags her.

• "Hotline" by Cheryl Navo, American Armed Forces, Europe; produced by Thoreau, NM. Operator 72 is training to be a counselor for the SILT (Socially Inappropriate Language Therapy) Hotline, a method of coping therapy that allows subjects to release negative energy, but one caller has a unique problem that she is unable to "swear" away.


Sharon Eberson: or 412-263-1960.


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