There's a notable Pittsburgh theme to the newly announced season for Point Park's professional theater company. Two Pittsburgh-set plays get their world premieres, not to mention the local premiere of a work by bad-boy Irish dramatist Martin McDonagh.
The season opens Sept. 9 with The Umbrella Man. Edward J. Delaney's play, set in Pittsburgh in the late 1980s, concerns a man obsessed with JFK conspiracy theories. The director is Robert A. Miller (last seen at the REP directing his father's Death of a Salesman).
The Umbrella Man script is based on an eponymous screenplay Delaney co-wrote, which in turn is based on a short story of the same title Delaney published in The Atlantic, in 1996. Delaney, who lives in Massachusetts, is assistant editor of The Nieman Journalism Lab, at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism; the film version of The Umbrella Man, directed by Michael Grasso, is set to be shot in Pittsburgh later this year.
Also brand-new to the stage is Mercy and the Firefly. It's yet another from the keyboard of Pittsburgh-based playwright Amy Hartman -- in fact, it'll be her second world premiere here this year, after Unseam'd Shakespeare stages Mad Honey in June. Mercy is about a high school student brought to Homestead after witnessing the murder of a classmate in East L.A. It'll close the REP's season next April; Melissa Martin, who directed Glengarry Glen Ross for barebones last fall, is slated to direct.
The McDonagh is The Lonesome West, part of his Connemara trilogy also including The Beauty Queen of Leenane. The 1997 play, running next February, will be eagerly anticipated by those who appreciated the playwright's violent but darkly comic vision in works like The Pillowman and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (both done by Pittsburgh Irish & Classical a few years back). Kim Martin will direct.
And this October, the REP stages La Ronde. Arthur Schnitzler's classic is a study of sex and class set in 1890s Vienna, structured as a series of 10 scenes, each featuring a pair of lovers. It's directed, notably, by Robin Walsh: She's best known as a top-flight Pittsburgh-based actress, but in fact it'll be her second directing gig of 2010 ... after Hartman's Mad Honey.