‘Skeleton Crew’ on at barebones productions (Fri., 2/23/24)

The cast of 'Skeleton Crew' (l. to r.) Brenden Peifer, Etta Cox, Richard McBride, and Saige Smith, (Photo: Duane Rieder)

The cast of ‘Skeleton Crew’ (l. to r.) Brenden Peifer, Etta Cox, Richard McBride, and Saige Smith, (Photo: Duane Rieder)

SKELETON CREW by Dominique Morisseau. Barebones productions. February 23 – March 10. 

Karmic convergence is real. Here’s a strong theater company in a dramatic location doing a play that fits the scene. Barebones productions, known for its staging of cutting-edge modern shows, performs just east of Pittsburgh in Braddock—once a boomtown of 20,000 people, now a town on the rebound that’s home to fewer than 2,000. The company’s theater is at the edge of Braddock, directly across from U.S. Steel’s fabled Edgar Thomson Works. Built in 1875 by Andrew Carnegie, the mill is now modernized and still running—but with vastly fewer workers than it once employed. And the first play of this year at barebones is Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew. Set in an automotive sheet-metal plant near Detroit, it’s a seriocomic gripper about four workers dealing with the fact that their jobs may soon be downsized out of existence. Skeleton Crew premiered off-Broadway in 2016; a 2022 Broadway production was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. Like the other plays in Morisseau’s “Detroit Project”—a venture inspired, in part, by August Wilson’s 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle—this one draws raves for how it interweaves colorful characters and their stories. Barebones has Tomé Cousin directing a formidable cast including actor/singer Etta Cox. See Skeleton Crew in the barebones black box. 8 p.m. 1211 Braddock Ave, Braddock. (M.V.)

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Mike Vargo

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