The "annual festival of new plays at different stages" previously tested the Andy Warhol-inspired musical POP!, which later graduated to the recent full production at City Theatre.
"Momentum is a celebration of new theatrical works featuring readings, workshops, panels, and conversation," according to City Theatre, the primary Off-Broadway-style company in Pittsburgh. "The festival is a chance for audiences to not only see four new works in their earliest incarnations, but also to get to know the process of creating new plays and to glimpse inside the minds of the playwrights."
Here are the Momentum titles at a glance:
My Mother Has Four Noses
A musical play written and performed by Jonatha Brooke
Directed by Tracy Brigden
"Nancy Lee Stone is a cancer survivor. She has four prosthetic noses and six names. She is a published poet, a Christian Scientist, and a dumpster diver. She is Boolie's mother, and she has Alzheimer's disease. In this moving, one-woman show, filled with music, wit, and emotion, acclaimed singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke tells the story of her journey as she guides her mother through the last months of life."
The Shadow Sparrow
By Anton Dudley (book), Charlie Sohne (lyrics) and Keith Gordon (music)
Directed by Matt M. Morrow
Musical Direction by Douglas Levine
Featuring Candy Buckley and Vince Gatton
"Edith abandons her only son to chase a pipe-dream singing career in post-war Europe. With one earring still hanging loosely in her ear, she follows a man who promises fame and fortune into low-down brothels and basements. This lively, new musical envisions the viewpoint of Michel, the son who grew up in a classless Cleveland hotel only to discover a clue that will take the audience on a whirlwind pursuit." A Swell in the Ground
By Janine Nabers
Directed by Carolyn Cantor
Featuring Daina Griffith, Scotland Newton, Skyler Sullivan and Bria Walker
"Four friends struggle to keep it together in this coming-of-age play about the Millennial Generation. Olivia is coping with her dad's death in the 9/11 attacks. Nate has to choose between an acting career and a law degree. Charles lives the shallow life of a corporate jetsetter. Abby is a teacher underwhelmed by her students. All is just okay until a marriage dissolves, words are exchanged, paths cross, and life…happens."
Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution
By Stephen Massicotte
Directed by Dina Epshteyn
Featuring Robin Abramson, Dan Krell, Sheila McKenna and Noah Plomgren
"How do you teach evolution in a divided America? Raymond has religious tattoos, listens to Christian bands, and has ten questions about evolutionary theory that his Biology teacher Kelly won't answer. Kelly is an atheist urbanite who is up for review after her first year on the job at a small town high school. As the student and teacher navigate their roles and religious beliefs, both learn an unexpected lesson."
All readings and workshops take place at City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA. For more about the Momentum schedule, visit citytheatrecompany.org.
City Theatre is under the leadership of artistic director Tracy Brigden.