Momentum Festival: New Plays at Different Stages

City Theatre closes each season with the Momentum Festival: New Plays at Different Stages, which brings some of the most exciting playwrights in the country to Pittsburgh for a weekend of workshops, readings, and artist panels.

Launched in 2003 by Artistic Director Tracy Brigden, Momentum is at the heart of City’s mission to lead the new play development conversation on both a national and local level. Since its inception, the program has provided developmental support to more than fifty writers including Adam Rapp, Steven Dietz, Daniel Beatty, Anna Ziegler, Keith Bunin, Michelle Lowe, Keith Reddin, Michael Hollinger, Sharon Washington, and many more.

Momentum offers uniquely designed workshops and readings that focus on preparing scripts for production. Many scripts developed through the festival have continued on to premiere on City’s stages. The festival affords audiences and industry professionals the opportunity to not only see new works in progress, but to actively participate in the page to stage process.

All events are free and open to the public, but a reservation is required. 

Reserve your tickets here!





By a.k. payne
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas
Lester Hamburg Studio

A tale of two Skys, this intergenerational epic explores the bonds of family history between Sky and her granddaughter Sky II. Set in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, former Young Playwrights Festival Winner a.k. payne, crafts a poetic tale of two women bound by legacy, history, and a search for their own voice.

a.k. payne is a playwright and artist-theorist whose people are rooted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has served as artistic director of Yale’s undergraduate, Black theatre ensemble and has directed shows like The Colored Museum and Topdog/Underdog. She is a recipient of the Floyd Gaffney Playwriting award at UC San Diego and in 2017 she was a playwright in the 24-Hour Plays: Nationals. She is a 2017 semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a 2016 YoungArts Winner in Playwriting. She is a graduate of Pittsburgh CAPA, a member of Alumni Theater Company and a two-time winner of City Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. She will begin the MFA playwriting program at Yale School of Drama in the Fall of 2019. She owes all to God, her parents and her many mentors.




Artist Happy Hour

Join us in the City Theatre lobby for a special chance to engage with the Momentum Festival artists. This informal gathering will include snacks, drink specials, and the opportunity to meet playwrights and casts from all the Momentum projects.



By Catherine Trieschmann
Directed by Marc Masterson

Lester Hamburg Studio

Johanna is a woman of the land, farming the same plot that’s been in her family for generations. When a young, idealistic couple with big ideas about sustainable energy and wind farms buys the farm next door, she’s convinced they and their ambitious eco-friendly plans won’t last. Their rural community is thrown into chaos by a murder, forcing every resident to reckon with the winds of change.

Catherine Trieschmann’s plays include Crooked, How the World Began, Hot Georgia Sunday, The Most Deserving, Holy Holy Laughter, and One House Over. They have been produced Off-Broadway at the Women’s Project Theater, in London at the Bush Theater and with Out-of-Joint at the Arcola Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Denver Theater Center for Performing Arts, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Geva Theater Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Penguin Repertory Theater, Florida Stage, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, among others. She has received commissions from South Coast Repertory, Manhattan Theater Club, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Geva Theater Center. She’s the recipient of the Weissberger Award, the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the Willian Inge Theatre Festival, and a two-time awardee of the Edgerton New Play Prize. Her plays are published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing in the U.S .and Methuen in the U.K. She lives in a small town in Western Kansas.







By Lindsay Joelle
Directed by Tome’ Cousins

Lester Hamburg Studio

An unconventional buddy comedy on a garbage truck, The Garbologists follows rookie Marlowe and lifer Danny, two polar opposite New York City sanitation workers. Thrown together by the job, they pass their shifts bickering and searching for mongo—the treasure hidden in the city’s trash. As their lives become increasingly entwined, they learn that some things are easier to toss than others.

Lindsay Joelle is a playwright, lyricist, and librettist. Plays include Trayf (Theater J, Penguin Rep), The Garbologists, A Small History of Amal, Age 7 (Forward Flux/Pratidhwani) and The Princess of Riverside Drive (libretto, Vital Theater). She has received an Audible Playwright Commission, EST/Sloan Commission, NNPN collaboration grant with Curious Theatre, Rita Goldberg Award for Graduate Playwriting, Irving Zarkower Award, and has developed work with PlayPenn, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, and the Lark. Member of Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Lab and the New Georges Jam, alumna of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Columbia University (BA), and Hunter (MFA).

9:00 p.m.

In Their Own Voices

Excerpted Readings, Lester Hamburg Studio

Join us Saturday night for a window into a playwright’s mind! This evening of works in progress is a celebration of Pittsburgh based writers sharing excerpts of their work out loud. Artists include Rob Zellers, Molly Rice, Ty Greenwood, Dominique Briggs, and a special sneak peek at a new rock’n’roll piece by David Conrad and Joe Grushecky.

SUNDAY, JUNE 2 – 10:00am

By Isaac Gomez

Lester Hamburg Studio

As Hurricane Harvey rages, this powerful play explores the intersecting lives of six Houstonians riding out the storm in the city’s downtown convention center. Written Isaac Gomez, author of next season’s PerkUp PerKup, Wade is a beautiful exploration of fate, human connection, and believing in hope when the world as you know it has been washed away.

Isaac Gomez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play PerkUp PerKup will receive its world premiere at City Theatre in the 2019/2020 season. His play La Ruta is currently receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company. Isaac is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Denver Center Theatre Company, the Goodman Theatre, The Theatre School at DePaul University (Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater), Steep Theatre, and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf Theater Company, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theater, Haven Theater, Teatro Vista, Greenhouse Theater Center, Jackalope Theater Company, Pivot Arts, Definition Theater Company, Broken Nose Theater, Stage Left, The VORTEX, and Something Marvelous. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award, the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, a member of the 2017-18 Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, Co-Creative Director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate with Victory Gardens Theater, Ensemble Member with Teatro Vista, Artistic Associate with Pivot Arts, Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake 2018/2019, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and a core producer with the Jubilee. He is a Professional Lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.

Past Momentum Plays & Playwrights

(*) indicates plays were produced in a City Theatre Main Season.

The Desired by Lana Meyer
Citizens Market by Cori Thomas*
I Get Restless by Caroline V. McGraw
The Consequences Music & Lyrics by Nathan Leigh & Kyle Jarrow; Book by Kyle Jarrow
The White Chip by Sean Daniels*

Sing the Body Electric by Michael Hollinger
Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington*
Dry Bones by James McManus
Radio Island by Liza Birkenmeier
Scrapmetal/scars by Jackson Torii Bart
–Inaugural Young Playwrights Festival Alumni Reading

Press: Five new works gain momentum at City Theatre

The Human Court by Jessica Dickey
Some Brighter Distance by Keith Reddin*

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine Geroge
The Unbuilt City by Keith Bunin
Halftime with Don by Ken Weitzman
Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty*

Press: City Theatre announces line up for Momentum Festival of New Plays

Hope and Gravity by Michael Hollinger*
Variations on a Theme by Anna Ziegler
Don’t You Fucking Say a Word by Andy Bragen
Holliday with Mulligan by Willy Holtzman*

Press Release: City Theatre presents Momentum 2013

My Mother Has Four Noses by Jonathan Brooke
The Shadow Sparrow by Anton Dudley, Keith Gordon and Charlie Sohne
Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution by Stephen Massicotte
A Swell in the Ground by Janine Nabers

Press: Momentum 2012 Festival Opens

POP! by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs*
Rancho Mirage by Steven Dietz
Rich Girl by Victoria Stewart
South Side Stories by Tami Dixon*

Long Story Short by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda*
Speak American by Eric Simonson*
Him by Daisy Foote
When January Feels Like Summer by Cori Thomas*

Press: Momentum 08 features new works at City Theatre

An Infinite Ache: The Musical Adapted from David Schulner. Commissioned by Brendan Milburn and Valarie Vigoda
The 13th of Paris by Mat Smart*
Hardball by Victoria Stewart
Exposed by Robert Brustein
The Gift of the Pirate Queen by Tammy Ryan
The Tallest Girl in the Class by Hilly Hicks Jr.

Press: In the works productions showcase ‘Momentum’
BU Stages Robert Brustein’s Ripped-from-Headlines Satire

Mezzulah 1946 by Michele Lowe*
Paralyzed by Etan Frankel
Peas and Carrots by Stephen O’Rourke
The Muckle Man by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa*

Press: Fourth Momentum Features Quartet of Plays

Coast to Coast: ReMembering America by Marc Wolf
Hearts Are Wild by Original music and lyrics by George Griggs, book by Darrah Cloud*
Carter’s Way by Eric Simonson
Opus by Michael Hollinger*

Last of the Boys by Steven Dietz
Work Song by Jeffery Hatcher*
Map of Heaven by Michele Lowe
Didi and Rose by Jilline Ringle
Flag Day by Lee Blessing

Press: City Theatre adds a party atmosphere to playwright weekend

Gompers by Adam Rapp*
String of Pearl
by Michele Lowe*
Lovely Day
by Leslie Ayvazian*
autodelete: //beginning dump of physical memory//
by Honour Kane

Press: On Stage: City Theatre rolls with ‘Momentum’ to nurture new plays