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A Must See

Pittsburgh’s City Theatre Presents Morisseau’s Sunset Baby

Photo by Kristi Jan Hoover

Dominique Morisseau is considered one of the most exciting young voices in American theatre. Believing wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community has only demonstrated the influence she yields. The community empowered by City Theatre in Pittsburgh has Morisseau’s Sunset Baby to provide a look at revolution and freedom.

Directed by Jade King Carroll, Sunset Baby features Joniece Abbott-Pratt, J. Alphonse Nicholson and Keith Randolph Smith.  The play, which opened Nov. 7, runs through Dec. 13, in the Hamburg Studio Theatre.

About fathers and daughters, the play is described as searing with wit and wisdom and the brutal politics of freedom. It follows the smart and sexy hustler Nina. She has rejected everything her parents fought for in the Black Liberation Movement. When her estranged father wants to reconcile – but then tries to run a hustle of his own – negotiating her past and present becomes a revolutionary act.

Hailed by The New York Times as “Pittsburgh’s most innovative theater company,” City Theatre specializes in new work, commissioning and producing plays by writers at the forefront of the industry. Currently under the leadership of artistic director Tracy Brigden and managing director James McNeel, City Theatre is in its 41st season. City Theatre offers special ticket pricing for persons under 30, seniors 62 and older, groups, and military families. Select shows offer pay-what-you-want pricing. For more information on tickets and the play, click HERE.

Sunset Baby – which has been produced by New York’s Labyrinth Theater Co., London’s Gate Theater and Los Angeles’s Odyssey Theatre – premiered in Morisseau’s hometown during October, the first of any of her plays to be fully produced in Detroit.

In a Facebook post Morisseau noted: “The real truth is that I write and try to find the people who give a damn about what I’ve written, and that certainly ain’t everyone. I do not wait. I repeat, I do not wait for someone to give me permission or tell me I’m good enough. Who the hell has time for that? I’ve got stories to tell.”

Her stories have appeared and appealed nationally and internationally, giving voice to brown girls as well as Black bodies. Of her Detroit Projects cycle, Detroit ’67 (originally at Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem) was nominated for eight Audelco Theatre Awards including Best Playwright, while Paradise Blue was the winner of the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and received development at several theaters. Atlantic Theater will produce Morisseau’s The Skeleton Crew – the final installment of her Detroit trilogy – in January.

With a BFA in acting from the University of Michigan and a foundation as a performance poet in the Detroit community of Harmonie Park, Morisseau has evolved into an award-winning playwright and among the Top 20 most-produced U.S. playwrights for the 2015-2016 season. The Playwright of New York (PoNY) fellow has several honors to her credit: Jane Chambers Playwriting Award; two NAACP Image Awards; the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association; Stavis Playwriting Award; and Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama. She starred in a 2013 production of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop as part of Actors Theatre of Louisville and wrapped her stint as a story editor on Showtime’s “Shameless” this fall.

Morisseau, one of two recipients of the prestigious biennial Steinberg Playwright Awards, will be awarded a $50,000 grant Nov. 16, at Lincoln Center Theater.

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