The unofficial opening weekend for Pittsburgh theater's fall season includes a local institution's relocation to one of the area's newer performing-arts venues.
For its 19th season, the Pittsburgh New Works Festival sets the stage at the Father Ryan Arts Center, in McKees Rocks. City-centric audience members should know that the Center sits just three miles from Station Square, has plenty of free parking and is served by several bus lines.
While the Center already hosts performances and attractions, including a weekly farmers' market, the New Works Fest is a catch. It's a month-long showcase for brand-new one-act plays by writers from around the country, produced by a cross-section of Pittsburgh's smaller theater companies.
Week one includes "The Perfect Circle," Los Angeles-based Cody Goulder's vision of a young playwright plopped into a Hell reserved for writer's-blocked artists named Marlowe, Moliere and Brecht. It's directed by Carol Schafer for the Heritage Players. Also on the bill are "Senior Moment," by Michael Wolfson, set in an assisted-living facility (produced by the Baldwin Players), and "Two Great Falls," Alexandra Tanner's take on father-son mythologies, staged by Phase 3 Productions.
The festival returns with three new one-acts each week, through Oct. 4. Each program is performed five times.
The Pittsburgh New Works Festival, week one: Thu., Sept. 10-Sun., Sept. 13; festival continues through Oct. 4. Father Ryan Arts Center, 420 Chartiers Ave. (Route 51), McKees Rocks. $8-10 ($25 season ticket). 412-394-3353 or www.pittsburghnewworks.org
Admittedly, the pleasure of the classic Russian novel lies in one's immersion in a world of psychological nuance and painstakingly rendered detail. Yet there's something to be said for attempting to boil Crime and Punishment down to 80 minutes of stage time. At least, that's what Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus attempted with their adaptation of the Dostoevsky classic.
Pittsburgh Irish & Classical's new production boasts a small but distinguished cast, including: Joel Ripka as the tormented student and murderer Raskolnikov; PICT favorite Larry John Meyers as the seemingly slow-witted but relentless detective Porfiry; and Carnegie Mellon drama grad Susan Goodwillie as Sonia, the young prostitute. CMU assistant professor Matthew Gray makes his PICT directing debut.
Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre presents Crime and Punishment Thu., Sept. 10-Oct. 3. Henry Heymann Theater (in the Stephen Foster Memorial), Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $17-48. 412-394-3353 or www.picttheatre.org
The REP has chosen the chestnut That Championship Season to open its own campaign. Jason Miller's 1972 play finds four disillusioned former members of a high school hoops team reuniting, after 20 years, with their aging coach, in Scranton.
That Championship Season was a Broadway hit that scored a Pulitzer, a Tony and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award as best play. This production by Point Park's professional theater company stars Robert Haley, Jarrod DiGiorgi, Philip Winters, David Cabot and Daryll Heysham. It's directed by Robert A. Miller -- who's no relation to playwright Jason, but who did a great job directing his own father's Death of a Salesman at the REP last year.
The REP presents That Championship Season Thu., Sept. 10-Sun., Sept. 20. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $24-27. 412-621-4455 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com