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Lia Romeo writing play for HotCity Theatre

A new play that will integrate social online media into the theater has been commissioned by HotCity Theatre for production in December 2012.

The show, which is being written by Lia Romeo, will engage audiences with the characters before, during and after the show. It doesn't yet have a title. Chuck Harper will direct.

Marty Stanberry, artistic director of Hotcity, said that for several years HotCity has focused on new play development. This project is funded by a $20,000 grant from a PNC Bank's Arts Alive program.

Co-author with her brother Nick of "11,002 Things To Be Miserable About," Romeo is the author of a number of plays that have been produced around the U.S. and internationally. Her play "Green Whales" was read of developed at theaters including HotCity, the New Jersey Rep and the Kennedy Center.

"To me, one of the most interesting things about the rise of social media . . . is the way it has turned the communication of information from a one-way into a multi-way conversation," Romeo said. "It struck me as interesting that most theater is still a one-way conversation, and I started thinking about ways to get the audience actively involved in commenting on or even shaping the direction of a piece of theater in real time, as it was going on."

HotCity presents its mainstage series at the Kranzberg Arts Center at Grand and Olive.

Judith Newmark is the theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.