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Theatre in Pittsburgh

Theatre in Pittsburgh has existed professionally since the early 1800s and has continued to expand, having emerged as an important cultural force in the city over the past several decades.[1][2][3]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Theatres 2
  • Prominent Pittsburgh theatre professionals 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

History

The heritage of theatre in Pittsburgh stretches back to at least 1765, when it was recorded that "balls, plays, concerts, and comedies" were being performed at the British military installation at Presley Neville; and future U.S. Congressman and Senator William Wilkins. This club was frequently mentioned by travelers commenting on the early culture of Pittsburgh,[7] however it was disbanded by university faculty in 1833 because, according to Agnes Starrett's 1937 history of the university, "instead of Shakespeare, the members had begun to produce vulgar modern comedies".[7] Throughout the 1800s, Pittsburgh was home to various stock companies, beginning with the Theatre on Third Street, Pittsburgh's first free-standing playhouse, in 1813.[8] These companies were composed of eight to ten local actors, a stage manager and prompter, a stage carpenter, a properties master, and occasionally an orchestra leader; the local actors would perform with touring "stars" such as William Macready, Edwin Forrest, Junius and Edwin Booth, Charles Kean, Charlotte Cushman, James Hackett, and Edwin Adams.[9] An important milestone in the creation of indigenous Pittsburgh theatre occurred when William Henderson took over the lease of the Old Drury in 1859 and produced plays by Pittsburgh playwrights in the theatre's season. Other theatres followed Henderson's lead, including the Pittsburgh Opera House, which held the first productions of nationally regarded playwright Bartley Campbell.[10]

In the early 1900s, Pittsburgh became a key location for productions handled by the Pittsburgh Playhouse, established in 1934, is the most enduring theatre of this movement.[12]

Theatres

Of the theatre companies in Pittsburgh currently in existence, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera was one of the first to be established; staging primarily musicals, it held its first production in 1946 at the Pitt Stadium. Over the years, the company has moved to various locations throughout the city and currently holds productions in the Benedum Center.[1] University of Pittsburgh Stages emerged from various performance troupes at the school in the early 20th century to become the formal company of the school's theatre arts performance training program of the university in the 1960s. The university company became professionally oriented in 1981,[13] and continues to stage several productions throughout the year in their primary facility, the historic Stephen Foster Memorial. Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, another major fixture of the Pittsburgh area, began in Latrobe in 1969.[14] The theatre has staged many different kinds of productions over the years, and now produces mostly light farces for a summer theatre audience.[15] Mountain Playhouse, one of the oldest professional theatres in the Pittsburgh area, made its debut in nearby Jennerstown in 1939.[16] Similar to St. Vincent, Mountain Playhouse also stages light summer stock fare, including comedies and musicals.[17] Pittsburgh Playhouse, currently home to Point Park University's conservatory students and resident professional theatre company Playhouse Rep, opened its doors in 1934 as a community theater.[18] Stage Right was established in the mid-1960s and continues to produced theatre in the Fox Chapel area of Pittsburgh.[19] Other important theatre companies of the mid-twentieth century include Black Horizon Theater, an African-American theatre troupe that evolved out of a writers' workshop; and peer support group called the Centre Avenue Poets' Theater Workshop; this theatre company held some of the first productions of August Wilson's work.[20] Pittsburgh Public Theater was chartered in 1974 by Joan Apt, Margaret Rieck and Ben Shaktman and held its first production in 1975. Staging a wide variety of plays and musicals, from classical to contemporary, the theatre has become a major regional theatre and is currently housed in the O'Reilly Theater.[21] City Theatre also staged its first production in 1975 as the City Players, a group of recent college graduates that gave free performances in schools, parks, and housing projects. The company has since evolved to become a major regional theatre that has staged premieres of new works by Christopher Durang, Adam Rapp, Jeffrey Hatcher, Eric Simonson, and Leslie Ayvazian.[22][23] In 1980, Attilio Favorini founded the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, a professional theatre company in residence at the University of Pittsburgh which produced Shakespeare at the Stephen Foster Memorial and was successful for many years.[24]

In the 1990s and early 2000s, a new generation of theatre companies emerged and contributed to Pittsburgh's expanding and lively theatre scene. Phase 3 Productions, Theatre Sans Serif, Carrnivale Theatrics, and Bald Theatre Company were all established in the late 2000s and early 2010s and have continued the expansion of Pittsburgh's thriving theatre community.[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53] Pittsburgh theatre draws from a rich and diverse community of actors, many of whom received training at well-respected theatre programs at local universities including Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Point Park University, and Seton Hill University.[54][55][56] The theatre community of Pittsburgh provides many opportunities to local performers, to such a degree that actors from elsewhere find the city a desirable place to make a living.[57]

Prominent Pittsburgh theatre professionals

These are theatre professionals who were born in Pittsburgh or have worked and lived there for an extended period of time.

See also

Culture of Pittsburgh

Lists of Pittsburgh Performing Arts Companies and Venues

References

  1. ^ a b "History". Pittsburgh CLO. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ Rawson, Christopher (January 6, 2010). "2009 Pittsburgh's Performer of the Year: Robin Abramson". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ Rawson, Christopher (January 6, 2010). "Past Post-Gazette Performers of the Year". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 4. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  5. ^ The Owl. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. 1961. p. 107. Retrieved June 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 9–10.  
  7. ^ a b c Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 40. Retrieved June 10, 2010. 
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  9. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
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  11. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 70–77. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011
  12. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 92–133. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011
  13. ^ Uricchio, Marylynn (October 21, 1986). "The stage is set". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Saint Vincent Summer Theatre – Timeline". Svst.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Saint Vincent Summer Theatre – Shows". Svst.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Mountain Playhouse, Green Gables Restaurant, and Huddleson Court". Mountainplayhouse.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Mountain Playhouse, Green Gables Restaurant, and Huddleson Court". Mountainplayhouse.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Pennsylvania Haunts & History: Phantoms of the Pittsburgh Playhouse". Hauntsandhistory.blogspot.com. October 17, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ http://www.stagerightboyd.org/Past%20Prod.htm
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  22. ^ "City Theatre: About City Theatre: City Theatre History". Citytheatrecompany.org. November 30, 1991. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
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  24. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011
  25. ^ "About Us – History". Quantum Theatre. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Pittsburgh New Works Festival » About PNWF". Pittsburghnewworks.org. April 12, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Pittsburgh Musical Theater / History and Support". Pittsburghmusicals.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  28. ^ "History". Squonk Opera. November 6, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Unseamd Shakespeare Company". Unseamd.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
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  33. ^ "Stage Right! – School for the Performing Arts and Theatre – Great Places In Westmoreland County PA". Inwestmoreland.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  34. ^ Eberson, Sharon (July 3, 2012). "Stage preview: Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh returns to Rodef Shalom - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
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  40. ^ "The Players". No Name Players. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  41. ^ "About Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company | Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company". Pghplaywrights.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Off The Wall Productions » About Us – Changing The World One Play At A Time!". Insideoffthewall.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  43. ^ http://pittnews.com/newsstory/future-ten-festival-features-pint-sized-plays-2/
  44. ^ Eberson, Sharon (September 13, 2012). "Preview: Caravan Theatre makes its comeback exploring the life of Philip K. Dick - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  45. ^ "HOME". Organictheaterpgh.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
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  47. ^ "About". Hiawatha Project. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  48. ^ "Welcome to www.threeriverstheatre.com". Threeriverstheatre.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  49. ^ "theatre, Throughline Theatre Company Pittsburgh, PA About Us". Throughlinetheatre.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  50. ^ December 9, 2010 2:26 pm (December 9, 2010). "Poets Corner welcomes Theatre Sans Serif for Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL - The Indiana Gazette Online: Community Connection". Indianagazette.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  51. ^ Isenberg, Robert. "Roberto Zucco | Theater Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh City Paper". Pittsburghcitypaper.ws. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  52. ^ Eberson, Sharon (September 23, 2011). Wicked' is a must but small local companies are no-brainers, too"'". Communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  53. ^ "Carnivale Theatrics showcases famed storybook musical | TribLIVE". Pittsburghlive.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  54. ^ "Google". Yoursewickley.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  55. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5VgzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=c3ADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6596,4394788&hl=en
  56. ^ Writer:  gaitlady (April 26, 2010). "Bricolage's Speech and Debate gets people talking 26 April, 2010 | Bricolage Production Company". Webbricolage.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  57. ^ Erik Schark (March 29, 2006). "New York actor auditions Pittsburgh". Popcitymedia.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
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