Virtually Yours at the Cabaret Theater Takes Inspiration from Pittsburgh
Playwright, director, and actor Chuck Lanigan is bringing his latest creation to the Cabaret Theater on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 10 p.m. “Virtually Yours,” a screwball comedy, takes a modern twist on Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night” with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.
The play, which features the talents of local actors, incorporates the social media aspect of dating in the 21st century into the time-old story of unlikely love. In “It Happened One Night,” Colbert’s heiress defies her father by falling in love with a reporter, Gable. Lanigan used this film as his blueprint while crafting “Virtually Yours.”
“What’s old is new in a lot of ways,” he said. “Virtually Yours is simply an update of a classic story.”
Lanigan, whose resume includes spoken word, historical lectures and a number of stage performances, is excited to see something he has worked on for a long time take the stage. The format of the play will be a read-through, and Lanigan hopes to put together a full stage performance in the next year or so.
As a longtime Pittsburgh resident, Lanigan said he feels very connected to the city’s arts and entertainment culture.
“There’s really been an artistic evolution in the city,” he said.
His own work is often inspired by the city itself and he has performed with a wide variety of local talent over the years. He also participated in the Future Tenant residency program through CMU, which represents artists and provides performance space and support.
In collaboration with the three other actors in the cast, Lanigan saw “Virtually Yours” take a different form than what he had imagined while writing it.
“I definitely have an idea of what I want to do when I write, but when we perform it becomes an amalgam of our experience putting it together,” he said. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
He described the Cabaret, one of the Cultural Trust’s smaller venues, as a perfect fit for the live reading.
“The largest audience I’ve performed for is about 60 people,” Lanigan said. “I like the intimacy of a smaller space.”
The Cabaret’s late night programming also offers Lanigan the chance to perform for a new type of audience in a well-loved venue. He said hopes that “Virtually Yours” reflects his creative experience of working with Pittsburgh’s artists and performers and his love of the arts scene in the city.
“’Virtually Yours’ is something that originated here,” Lanigan said. “I’m interested in the stories that people want to tell, and Pittsburgh is filled with that inclination.”
Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, please see the website.