A look ahead to the upcoming Playhouse show season

Written By Rosalie Anthony, Staff Writer

Point Park’s new Pittsburgh Playhouse has an exciting 2019-2020 Conservatory season starting in October. For the fall season, both theatre and dance pieces have been cast. 

“I think it’s a really exciting, diverse season,” the Producing Director at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, Kim Martin said. “I’m excited about a lot of things… we have so many alums coming back.” 

Students can access the Playhouse through the front doors on Forbes Avenue or through the first floor of the University Center Library. Tickets for each show are only $1 with a student ID and can be purchased at the box office located in the Playhouse lobby.

The performance selections are brainstormed and decided months in advance by a group of people, including Garfield Lemonius, Chair and Associate professor of the Dance Department and Sheila McKenna, professor and associate artistic director of the Conservatory Theatre Company. 

The first show is presented by the No. 5 ranked Dance Department in the nation. “Contemporary Choreographers,” which runs October 10 through 13, will feature works from well-renowned choreographers in the dance field: Yin Yue, Martha Nichols, Amy Hall Garner and Pearlann Porter, presenting works in the contemporary ballet, modern and jazz genres. 

“For ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ we had to prepare a comedic one-minute classic monologue with a dramatic classical monologue just in case,” sophomore theatre arts performance and practices major Shannon Krise said. “For ‘Good Grief,’ we needed either a poem or dramatic contemporary monologue. For both of these auditions, we also could’ve sung a lullaby or spiritual. For ‘Adding Machine,’ a 16-bar cut of a song.”   

The next show, which runs October 18 through 27, written by Conservatory alumni Ngozi Anyanwu, is “Good Grief.” The show features the main character, Nkechi, experiencing the trauma associated with losing a close friend. 

“Much Ado About Nothing” is a classic William Shakespeare play running two weekends, from November 8 through 17, directed by Steven Wilson, who is another Conservatory alum. This show is known to be one of Shakespeare’s most endearing comedic works.

The next dance department show is the “Student Choreography Project,” which is often a sell-out. Running from November 15 through 17, this show includes a wide variety of dance genres, including jazz, ballet and modern and gives viewers the opportunity to see works from up and coming student choreographers. 

“Student Choreography project was super fun, because we did everything in one night so you were switching styles every hour,” freshman dance major Marie Dunlea said about the audition. “And all of the students, it was much more of a relaxed environment, but not unprofessional, you know?” 

The final dance and theatre department shows for 2019 are the “Winter Dance Concert” and “Adding Machine: A Musical,” respectfully, each being presented December 6 through 15. 

“Winter Dance Concert” is going to showcase full-time faculty member Kiesha Lalama’s original work. Not much information has been released about the work, but it will be one not to miss. 

“So Kiesha’s audition was straight out of the cannon, super-fast,” Dunlea said. “It was my like second or third day here, so it was very overwhelming, but everyone in the room was super talented and very supportive of each other, which is why I actually came to Point Park because of the supportive vibe from the dancers.”

“Adding Machine: A Musical” is an adaptation of Elmer Rice’s 1932 play. The main character, Mr. Zero, faces hardships in which he is replaced at his job, murders his boss and goes on a journey in the afterlife to redeem himself. 

With an array of shows this Conservatory season, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

“Go to any shows that are in the Playhouse from, acting shows, straight up plays to dance concerts because I have a feeling that you’re always going to leave the theatre inspired,” Dunlea said. “Even if you’re a psychology major.”