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New Classics series to begin second season

December 9, 2010
From staff reports

PITTSBURGH - The New Classics series begins its second season at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Henry Heymann Theatre, located in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland with Jason Hall's play "The Tulip Brothers," directed by Melissa Hill Grande.

New Classics is a cooperative program presented by the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Theatre Arts and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

The series is intended to highlight new works and showcase up-and-coming early-career playwrights.

The reading is free and open to the public and will be followed by a talk-back with the cast and audience.

The moderators will be series coordinators Grande and David Peterson, a graduate student in the doctorate program of the Department of Theatre Arts.

The reading will feature actors from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts, including Aric Hudson, Brendan Schatzki, Andrew Sours, Joanna Getting, Erin Collopy and John Michnya.

"The Tulip Brothers" is about a family in conflict in 17th century Holland. The tulip bulb market is on the rise, and Nils DeGroot believes this is his opportunity to make his fortune and gain independence from the stench of the bleaching mill.

He needs help, but brother Pieter knows that life offers up no assurances beyond the sin of mankind. With one brother betting on the future and another cynical of the past, Nils wagers more than he can afford while Pieter must pay a price he did not expect.

Jason Hall is a third-year master's degree student in Ohio University's playwriting program and the recipient of the 2010 Scott McPherson Playwriting Award. He recently received the Anthony Trisolini Fellowship to write a play about active mountain-top removal coal mining occurring near a West Virginia elementary school.

Hall's short plays have been performed at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Chicago's n.u.f.a.n. Ensemble, and presented at the Mid-America Theater Conference.

In 2009, a feature film Hall wrote and directed, "The Ballad of Faith Divine," won the Best Feature award at Ohio's Colony Film Festival. He is preparing "Kate and Comet," a dark comedy about women fighting to hold their own in the workplace of 1950s live television, for production in this spring's Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival.

Melissa Hill Grande is the associate artistic director and director of marketing for Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

A three-time graduate of Ohio University, she holds a bachelor's degree in production design and technology with an emphasis on costume design, a master's degree in theater history and criticism, and a master's degree in directing. Local directing credits include productions for P.I.C.T., Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Phase 3 Productions, Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks, No Name Players' SWAN Day and Pittsburgh Pride Theatre Festival.

Those who are unable to attend the reading in person will be able to view it online via "Live and in Person, Live and Online," a new Internet technology pioneered by P.I.C.T. Operations Director Stephanie Riso and Alex Geis of 21 Productions. Geis and videographer Randy Griffith of RLG Creations will live-broadcast the readings, and viewers will be able to respond via live chat as they watch the performances on the LIPLO website,

For information about "New Classics," contact Grande at (412) 561.6000, extension 203, or go to mgrande

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