"Sunset Baby" in final week at Pittsburgh's City Theatre | Blogh
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Sunset Baby" in final week at Pittsburgh's City Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 2:50 PM

There are plenty of reasons to see this strong three-character drama before it closes on Sunday.

Joneice Abbot-Pratt and J. Alphonse Nicholson in "Sunset Baby," at City Theatre - PHOTO COURTESY OF KRISTI JAN HOOVER
  • Photo courtesy of Kristi Jan Hoover
  • Joneice Abbot-Pratt and J. Alphonse Nicholson in "Sunset Baby," at City Theatre
It's not only the 2013 play's Pittsburgh-debut production; it's also (I'm pretty sure) the first local staging of a play by emerging national talent Dominique Morrisseau (who's also story editor on the Showtime series Shameless).

As Ted Hoover notes in his review for CP, Morriseau writes wonderful dialogue. And City's production, staged in its intimate blackbox-style Hamburg Studio Theatre, is a powerfully acted piece.

Fans of August Wilson might also find Morrisseau's play an intriguing twist and contemporization of Wilson's The Piano Lesson (so recently staged here by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company).

Sunset Baby
, too, is a play about a contested legacy in an African-American family — a legacy that certainly has implications beyond that family. Only here, instead of an heirloom piano that a woman wants to keep while her brother wants to sell it to buy some land, the disputed keepsake is a packet of letters written by a recently deceased black revolutionary to her then-jailed husband: The husband wants the decades-old missives for himself, while his long-estranged daughter (a street hustler to whom they were willed) means to hold onto them.

There are more complications, including the letters' potential dollar value to scholars. Suffice it to say the complexity of the letters' symbolism and significance would do Wilson himself proud.

Six performances remain, including tonight's.

Tickets are $36 and are available here.

City Theatre is located at 1300 Bingham St., on the South Side.


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