Home > Next up for Pittsburgh Playwrights: "Rhapsody in Black"

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Next up for Pittsburgh Playwrights: "Rhapsody in Black"


Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company presents, for one night only, Rhapsody in Black written and performed by LeLand Gantt in the Franco Harris theater of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center on Friday, November 15, 2019.

Rhapsody in Black unmasks the pernicious imprint of racism on a Black man's psyche. This tour de force one-man show, directed by Oscar winner and American Theater Hall-of-Famer Estelle Parsons, explores the playwright’s personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America.

For approximately an hour and a half we follow Gantt’s spellbinding life story — from an underprivileged childhood in the ghettos of McKeesport, Pennsylvania to teenage experiments with crime and drugs to scholastic achievement and an acting career that land Gantt in situations where he is virtually the only African-American in the room.  

Rhapsody in Black was developed and debuted at the Actors Studio NYC where for three weeks it performed to totally sold-out houses. Rhapsody won Best Storyteller and Best Director awards at the 2014 United Solo Festival in New York City and for the past five years has toured high schools, colleges and theaters, nationally and internationally––starting and continuing conversations about race, identity and compassion.

“This play addresses the psycho-emotional effects of racism on a young black man growing up and living in America,” says Gantt. “Through harrowing, incredible, and often hilarious stories from my own life Rhapsody in Black relates the journey from realization to acceptance to transcendence, and aspires to spark a conversation we have been ducking for a long time.”

“It’s always exciting to learn that some of Pittsburgh’s talented actors and directors who live in other cities are also promising or established playwrights,” says Mark Clayton Southers, founder and producing artistic director. “It was great to learn that McKeesport native LeLand Gantt had a one-man show and that he was willing to return to Pittsburgh to perform it as part of our 16th season.

“We’re excited to present him here at the fabulous August Wilson African American Cultural Center. Thank you for your support!”

LeLand Gantt grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and is thrilled and honored to bring this solo play home to perform at the August Wilson Center. After studying acting and directing at Point Park College, Gantt appeared in numerous local productions with the Odd Chair Playhouse, Camelot Productions, Pittsburgh Lab Theatre, University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and toured the U.S. and Canada with The Lee Gantt Show, a Las Vegas style revue.

Tickets for Rhapsody in Black are $27.50; discounts are available for groups of ten or more (call 412-377-7803). Tickets are available at www.pghplaywrights.org/rib.


Support for our 2019-2020 season is provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation, Regional Asset District, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Opportunity Fund, and Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund.

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