City Theatre has received an $118,500 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to fund arts education outreach in West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania schools, the South Side company said in a press release today. This grant, along with a partnership with West Liberty University’s Center for Arts and Education, will facilitate City's Young Playwrights Program, which features professional development workshops, in-class playwriting workshops and field trips to City Theatre.
“An integral part of Young Playwrights’ mission is to provide middle and high school students with a new outlet in which to establish their voices and express themselves creatively,” says Kristen Link, director of education and accessibility. “Through our playwriting program, young people not only learn a new craft, but also discover different ways to think critically and connect to their fellow peers.”
The workshops are hands-on and stress the idea of an ensemble environment as the students engage in writing and revising activities while learning performance techniques.
The mission of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is to encourage human development in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania through strategically placed charitable resources.
Casting news: The "Little Miss Sunshine" musical will open off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre’s season with a couple of local connections: Carnegie Mellon grad Rory O'Malley and Logan Rowland, the 14-year-old from Pine who was the understudy Pugsley in Broadway's "The Addams Family." The starry cast also includes Will Chase and Stephanie J. Block.
CMU at FringeNYC: Current students and alumni from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will present "Gertrude Stein SAINTS!" at the 17th annual New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), Aug. 9-25, in New York City. The announcement from CMU notes that FringeNYC is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with more than 200 companies from around the world performing more than 1,200 shows in 16 days at more than 20 venues.
The CMU presentation builds on the original production of "Four Saints in Three Acts" that CMU presented in spring 2013, which emphasized language and rhythm, plus the fusion of hip-hop, rap, spoken word and gospel music. The updated "SAINTS!" features an original score developed by 15 of the CMU troupe members and adds a sermon, a New Orleans parade, bluegrass and jazz, among other musical genres.
"The response to the original production here at CMU was overwhelmingly positive and became an invitation for more," said director Michelle Sutherland, a John Wells Directing Fellow at the School of Drama. "We have since added an all-female 'Saints and Singing,' featuring an original musical score inspired by American music created by insanely talented performers. The two works are combined to create 'Gertrude Stein SAINTS!' - a powerhouse that explores gender, a theater that replaces conflict with joy, and America." The musical will be presented at La MaMa on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
CMU students and alumni participating in "SAINTS!" include Taylor Harrison Speegle, Chante Adams, Daniel Bellomy, Deneé Benton, Veladya Chapman, Molly Griggs, Amanda Leigh Jerry, Johari Mackey, Mitch Marois, Jimmy Nicholas, Jordan Phillips, Carter Redwood, Cara Ronzetti, Kelsey Tarantino, Joe Ventricelli and Jacob Vine.