Saturday, November 14, 2009

PITT and PICT Spring Collaboration

Media Contacts:

F.J. Hartland – 412.624.0933 or

Melissa Hill Grande – 412.561.6000 x203 or


PITT and PICT announce theatrical initiative

Collaboration brings new plays to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA -- November 13, 2009. A new theatrical collaboration will soon be bringing new plays to light in Pittsburgh. “New Classics,” a co-venture of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (PICT), will present readings of new plays throughout 2009-2010.

The reading series will be free and open to the public, and will be followed by a talk-back moderated by F.J. Hartland, Director of Marketing and Communication for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts, and Melissa Hill Grande, Marketing Director and Artistic Associate for PICT.

Persons who are unable to attend the reading in person will be able to view it online via LIPLO™ (Live and in Person, Live and Online), a new internet technology pioneered by PICT Operations Director Stephanie Riso and Alex Geis. Geis of 21 Productions and videographer Randy Griffith of RLG Creations will live-broadcast the readings, and viewers will be able to respond via live chat as they watch the performances on the LIPLO™ website,

According to Dr. Bruce McConachie, Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, “We are looking forward to this collaboration with PICT and the opportunities it will offer our students.”

Operations Director Stephanie Riso echoes the sentiment, states “PICT is pleased to be able to open up new ways to engage Pitt students with the greater theatre community through this new initiative,” and hopes it will strengthen Pittsburgh’s place on the map for building bridges and new pathways to experience live work.

Utilizing the talents of directors and actors from both organizations, “New Classics” launches on Nov. 22 with Carapace by David Robinson of Athens, Ohio. The play will be directed by Melissa Hill Grande and presented at 7 p.m. in the Henry Heymann Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Carapace explores the complicated relationship between Jeff, an alcoholic sportscaster, and his grown daughter Margo. Jeff attempts make amends with Margo on her twenty-third birthday by bringing her a very special gift.

Robinson is a current MFA Playwrighting candidate at Ohio University. A native Minnesotan, he received his BA in Literature/Theater from the New College of Florida. In addition to Carapace, Robinson has spent his first two years at Ohio University developing Terminal Condition, Gestalt and Family Matters, which was selected as a semifinalist for this year's WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory. Outside of the realm of dramatic writing, David has written theater and film criticism for The Bradenton Herald and the film journal CineACTION. He is also the recipient of Ohio University's 2009 Scott McPherson Playwriting Award.

“New Classics” continues on Sunday, January 24, 2010 with The Small of Her Back by Dana Lynn Formby, directed by Martin Giles.

In The Small of Her Back, Danielle Fitzman believes the glass ceiling has been shattered allowing her to climb her way up the corporate ladder of the NP Power Company. When an opportunity opens on the board, Danielle must battle tit for tat—learning tit works more than tat. She finds defining the difference between sexual harassment and harmless flirting akin to drawing a line in sand during a windstorm.

Formby is a Chicago resident and a member of Chicago Dramatists.

A third reading is planned for Sunday, March 28th at 7 p.m.

The series is free of charge and open to the public.

For more information about “New Classics,” contact F. J. Hartland at 412.624.0933 or, or Melissa Grande at 412.561.6000 x203 or

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New Classics

Fact Sheet

All performances in the Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Avenue in Oakland, on the University of Pittsburgh campus

Sunday, November 22nd – 7 p.m.

Carapace by David Robinson

Directed by Melissa Hill Grande

The Henry Heymann Theatre

Sunday, January 24th – 7 p.m.

The Small of Her Back by Dana Lynn Formby

Directed by Martin Giles

The Charity Randall Theatre

Sunday, March 28th – 7 p.m.

Programming TBA

The Charity Randall Theatre

Online viewing:

Free of charge and open to the public

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