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City Theatre to open upcoming season with Durang comedy

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jessica Dickey
Katori Hall
Nina Raine
George Brant
Michael Hollinger

Christopher Durang's 2013 Tony-nominated play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will open the 2013-14 City Theatre season Oct. 12-Nov. 3.

A comedic parody of Chekov's characters and themes, it's about a middle-age brother and sister living in Bucks County who have their lives disrupted by the return of their movie-star sister and her young boyfriend.

“This wacky comedy about a family reunion gone awry marks the return of one of my all-time favorite comic writers to City Theatre,” says City Theatre artistic director Tracy Brigden, who will direct the production.

It's one of six subscription season productions and two special presentations planned for the company's 39th season. Also planned:

• “Charles Ives Take Me Home” (Nov. 9-Dec 15) follows. Written by Jessica Dickey, who wrote and performed “The Amish Project,” at City Theatre in 2011, the music-filled drama follows a father whose career as a musician clashes with his daughter who would rather play basketball than a violin.

• Katori Hall's drama “The Mountain Top” (Jan. 18-Feb. 19) re-imagines history with a journey back to April 3, 1968, and the Lorraine Motel room in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent the final night of his life.

• “Tribes” by Nina Raine (March 8-30) uses spoken dialogue, sign language and surtitles in this story of a 20-something man who has honed his lip-reading skills while keeping up with free-flowing discussions at his family's dinner table. When he introduces his girlfriend, who's losing her hearing, everyone learns about the art of listening. It's being done as a co-production with Philadelphia Theatre Company.

• “Grounded” (March 29-May 4) is an intense one-woman drama written by George Brant. It's the story of a female fighter pilot whose career was interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. When she returns to work, she finds she's no longer flying missions but operating remote-controlled drones in Afghanistan from a trailer near Las Vegas.

• “Hope and Gravity” (May 3-25, 2014) marks the return of playwright Michael Hollinger, whose plays “Opus,” “Red Herring” and “Incorruptible” have previously been produced at City Theatre. Brigden will direct this nonlinear comedy about 10 characters whose lives overlap while living in the same nine-story apartment building.

City Theatre will offer two nonsubscriber presentations:

• “2 Pianos 4 Hands” by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt (Nov. 30-Dec. 22) is a family-friendly tale of two childhood friends who spent years chasing the dream of becoming concert piano stars. Two actors, two pianos and dozens of characters appear in this story of pushy parents, eccentric teachers and the triumphs and tortures of being a musician.

• “South Side Stories” (Jan. 8-26) brings back playwright, performer and South Side resident Tami Dixon for a revival of her tales of steel-mill workers, teenage mischief and parking-chair wars.

Season tickets and flex subscriptions are on sale for $157.50 to $247.50; six-voucher flex packages range from $210-$270. Single tickets will range from $35-$55 when they go on sale May 15 for the two nonsubscriber shows and Sept. 3 for the six subscription productions. Details: 412-431-2489 or

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or

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