The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (7/10 – 7/13)

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant.

Here are the Top Five Things To Do in Pittsburgh This Weekend from July 10 through 13.

 

Don’t Cry For Me

The iconic Argentinian, Eva Peron, will be begging her compatriots not to cry for her in “Evita!” The Tim Rice/ Andrew Lloyd Webber collaboration took the world by storm, as did its colorful main character. It’s only here for a brief period, July 8 through 13. Catch it while you can.

Catch “Evita” at the Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.

For more information, go to http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/39406/evita

 

Two Minute Warning

Thursday, July 10, is The 2 Minute Film Festival. It’s the fourth annual event and the theme is “outer space,” which fits nicely with the screening of “Extraterrestrial: the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project,” a documentary film about a team of techno-archaeologists digitally recovered the first photographs of the moon, taken by unmanned space probes in the 60s and 70s.

You can go from earth to the moon, at the Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

For more information call 412-622-3131 or go to http://www.cmoa.org/CalendarEvent.aspx?eid=23427&cat=All

 

 All that Jazz Part I

On Saturday July 12, the Ortner/Marcinizyn Duo will be performing Gypsy, Jazz, Swing, Bossa Nova, and Klezmer music at the Backstage Bar.

Swing on down to The Backstage Bar at Theatre Square, 655 Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.

For more information, go to http://www.trustarts.org/visit/facilities/backstage/

 

All that Jazz Part II

On Sunday, July 12, BNY Mellon presents Jazz as part of the Summer Concert Series at Hartwood Acres. The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra and special guest Paquito D’Rivera will be playing cool sounds at the amphitheater. It’s a free event and you can pack a picnic basket and a blanket, settle in and listen to music with your best beau, sweetie, or good friends.

Hartwood Acres is located at 200 Hartwood Acres, Pittsburgh, PA.

For more information, go to http://www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/hwfac.aspx

 

Even More Music

The second annual Deutschtown Music Festival is happening July 12. Lots and lots of bands and singers will be performing on the North Side.

At 5 pm at the Wigle Whiskey barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden on 1055 Spring Garden Ave. (Outside), you can meet important people while the band Meeting of Important People plays on.

For a complete schedule of events, go to http://deutschtownmusicfestival.org/schedule/

 

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The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (7/3 – 7/6)

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant.

It’s the Fourth of July Weekend, people and Pittsburgh is hopping!

Get Fuzzy

The Furries are among us! Be a real party animal at Anthrocon 2014 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. But you don’t have to dress up to get down with the anthropomorphic members of this convention. DJs are spinning tunes and it’s great to see people dressed up as animals.

You can find talking animals all over Pittsburgh this weekend, but the best place is still the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh.

For more details, go to http://www.anthrocon.org/

 

The Big O

James Michael Shoberg is putting a twist on Oliver Twist when the Rage of the Stage perform “Oliver Twisted!” at the McKeesport Little Theater.

Things will be grueling, but you may ask for more.

Check out the McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St., McKeesport, PA 15132. For more information, go to http://rageofthestage.com/

Borderline

Ever wonder what Romeo and Juliet would be like if they were both members of warring vampire clans; one protecting illegal aliens crossing the border, and the other, trying kill them. I didn’t either, but Philip Real did when 12 Peers Theater presents “Cactus.”

If “Cactus” pricks your interest, head over to The Grey Box Theatre3595 Butler St., Pittsburgh.

For more information, go to http://12peerstheater.org/

 

You Gotta Regatta!

EQT presents the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta. It’s a world class land, air and water festival and it’s the largest inland regatta in the country. There will be powerboat races, sand sculptures, live music and eating contests. It’s Pittsburgh’s summer celebration!

Get to the Point! Point State Park. For directions just find the spot where the Allegheny and Monongahela meet the Ohio River, or just look for the giant fountain.

For more information, go to www.threeriversregatta.net/

 

Firework!

There are fireworks all over town on July Fourth. Go find your favorite. There’s the big one down at Point State Park, but you can find them from Beaver County to Zelienople. Find your favorite over at http://www.wpxi.com/news/lifestyles/pittsburgh-fireworks-fourth-july-independence-day/ngMtc/

 

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The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (6/26 – 6/28)

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Contributor.

Here are the Top Five Things To Do in Pittsburgh for June 26 – 28

 

Tales of the Odd West

Mystery’s Most Wanted presents, “Montana Marie Gets Gunned Down at Three,” a night of improv, comedy and murder! Things are hopping at the Horny Toad Saloon (hopping, get it?) in the frontier town of Camel Rock. A saloon girl, a bandito, a deputy and a singing cowboy try to figure out who gunned down the toughest, hairiest sheriff in the Old West.

It’s a late night show at the Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh on Saturday, June 28th.

For more details, mosey on over to http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/event/3205/mysterys-most-wanted

 

Diamonds are Forever

Want to help out Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and sparkle while you do it? Go to Diamonds and Denim on Market Square, Saturday evening, June 28, 2014 in Market Square. Be casual and sophisticated at the same time. You’ll be at a grand celebration but you’ll also be helping out the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Transplantation Surgery Auxiliary.

For more information, go to https://www.givetochildrens.org/diamondsanddenim-disc

 

We be Jammin’

No, there isn’t Jelly in Shadyside. It’s the Jam on Walnut! Three Saturdays in the summer Walnut Street will be blocked off for an outdoor concert benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Western Pennsylvania Chapter.

Come to the big block party on June 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm and welcome Chris Higbee to the Shadyside stage.

For more information, go to http://thinkshadyside.com/discover

 

Radio Days

Morning Show radio host Randy Baumann of WDVE will welcome some out of town comedians in the DVE Comedy Festival. The Festival features Harland Williams, Byran Callen, Nikki Glaser and Tommy Johnagin on Friday, June 27.

You can find the DVE Comedy Festival at the Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street, Pittsburgh, PA.

For more information, go to http://www.dve.com/calendar/June-27-2014/dve-comedy-festival-2014-377329/

 

Marvelous Marvin

Pittsburgh misses Marvin Hamlisch. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will celebrate his life with “Play it Again, Marvin!” Pianist Kevin Cole wrote and produced this tribute to the award-winning composer. There will be family videos and personal memories and, of course, great music.

You can hear it all at Heinz Hall, which is STILL located at 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh.

More information can be gleaned at http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/40139/play-it-again-marvin-a-marvin-hamlisch-celebration-with-the-pittsburgh-symphony-orchestra

 

And now…A Sixth Thing…

Mash it Up

The Sixth thing is a bunch of great things all in one; much like those Matryoshka nesting dolls. Brooklyn Beer comes to Pittsburgh. The award-winning craft brewery is taking over Pittsburgh; celebrating neighborhood culture, emerging artist and the local food scene. It’s not too late to get into the game and join them as they tour the city with the Brooklyn Brewery Mash Tour. There will be a Found footage Festival, a slow supper and a closing party at Club Café. Heck, they’ve got more than Five Fun Things To Do in Pittsburgh on their website! The Festival runs from June 21 to June 28.

Check out all the fun at http://brooklynbrewerymash.com/pittsburgh

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PREP FOR THE REP: Point Park University’s The REP announces 2014-2015 season

 

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PITTSBURGH – The 2014-2015 season of The REP, Point Park University’s professional theatre company, will include two world premieres by Pittsburgh playwrights, a classic by Nobel laureate John Steinbeck and a hilarious comedy about an American singer renowned for her lack of rhythm, tone and especially an ability to sing.

The season runs Sept. 4 through April 12, 2015, at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., in the city’s Oakland neighborhood.

The 2014-2015 season opens with Steinbeck’s timeless tale of two migrant workers in the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men, directed by Robert A. Miller, Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts Distinguished Master Artist-in-Residence.

The REP will next present Tomé Cousin directing Souvenir, Stephen Temperley’s uproarious and poignant comedy about the infamous soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, whose inability to carry a tune did not prevent her from selling out Carnegie Hall. Variety called the play, “A beguiling comic jewel with a heart,” and The Boston Globe raved, “There aren’t many theatrical experiences as good as Souvenir.”

The REP’s remaining productions in the season will be two world premieres of works by Pittsburgh playwrights – Gaby Cody’s riotous farce, Prussia: 1866, directed by Kim Martin, and Anthony McKay’s stirring family drama, Endless Lawns, directed by Greg Lehane.

The REP 2014-2015 season subscriptions, which save patrons up to 35 percent off single ticket prices, are available now and can be purchased for $64-$72. Single tickets, ranging from $24-$27, will go on sale at 10 a.m., Monday, Aug. 4. Those who purchase three subscriptions get the fourth free. To order a season subscription, contact the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412.392.8000. For single tickets, when they become available, or more information about the Pittsburgh Playhouse, visit www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.

The REP’s 2014-2015 season:

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
Directed by Robert A. Miller

Friday, Sept. 5 – Sunday, Sept. 21, preview Sept. 4
Rauh Theatre

Adapted for the stage by Steinbeck from his novella, Of Mice and Men tells the story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, and their dream of settling down one day on their own piece of land.

Of Mice and Men premiered on Broadway with Broderick Crawford and Wallace Ford, and was named Best Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle in 1938. Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times said about the play, “Steinbeck has caught on paper two odd and lovable farm vagrants whose fate is implicit in their characters.” Steinbeck’s work has been revived many times on Broadway, most recently earlier this year with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the lead roles.

Acclaimed Hollywood producer, director and screenwriter, Robert A. Miller, is best known for producing The Crucible, nominated for two Academy Awards and featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Joan Allen and Paul Scofield. Miller also produced Focus, starring William H. Macy, Laura Dern and David Paymer. His directorial credits include Company of Angels in Hollywood, and Bend in the River, a live PBS broadcast featuring Ken Kesey. Miller directed several plays for The REP, including his first-ever production of his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Death of a Salesman in 2008. He also directed The REP’s world premieres of The Umbrella Man in 2010 and A Child’s Guide to Heresy in 2011, and is a producer of the movie The Umbrella Man, filmed in 2012 in Pittsburgh and Dallas.  Miller has served as a Distinguished Master Artist in Residence at the Conservatory of Performing Arts since 2009.

Souvenir

By Stephen Temperley
Directed by Tomé Cousin

Friday, Sept. 26 – Sunday, Oct. 12, preview Sept. 25
Studio Theatre

Told through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon, Souvenir recounts the remarkable life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an eccentric wealthy socialite who suffered under the delusion that she was a great soprano when, in reality, her voice made people cringe. Nevertheless, growing fans packed her annual recitals at the Ritz Carlton hotel and single concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944 sold out in two hours.  “What is extraordinary about Souvenir is that Temperley has made Jenkins, for all her foolishness, a remarkably sympathetic woman. You never doubt that Jenkins has tremendous dedication to the composers whose work she massacres,” wrote the New York Daily News.

Point Park University graduate Tome’ Cousin is an internationally recognized director, choreographer, educator, performer and creator of musical theater works, ballets, films, new opera, song cycles and art installations, as well as a published author. Cousin has appeared on Broadway in Contact, A Free Man of Color, and Dreamgirls, national tours of Dreamgirls, My One and Only, and A Chorus Line, and internationally in Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity (Switzerland), The Who’s Tommy, La Cage aux Folles, Starlight Express, and Tabaluga und Lilli (Germany). He serves as the directing supervisor for original director/choreographer Susan Stroman’s Tony Award-winning musical Contact, having staged 12 companies worldwide including premieres in Hungary, Korea and Poland. Earlier this year, he directed By the Way, Meet Vera Stark for The REP. Cousin teaches at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

Prussia: 1866
By Gab Cody
Directed by Kim Martin

World Premiere
Friday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, preview Feb. 5
Rauh Theatre

Written by Pittsburgh playwright and Point Park alum Gab Cody, Prussia: 1866 is a farcical examination of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his proto-feminist friends. When confronted with a difficult life decision so many have asked, “What would Nietzsche do?” Prussia: 1866 asks this question and finds the answer is a farce. While some of the details of Nietzsche’s life may not exactly jive with the details of the play, we do know, however he was alive and 22 and living in Prussia, and was, we can imagine, a passionate and conniving young man at the time.

Kim Martin has directed The REP’s productions of Becky’s New Car, The Lonesome West, and Mojo. A graduate of Point Park University, Martin has directed, acted in, and stage-managed more than 150 productions. Some favorites include Glengarry Glen Ross, Guys & Dolls, Drinking in America, Deathtrap, The Dumb Waiter, Annie, La Ronde and Three Sisters. Martin is the Director of Production at the Playhouse, and serves as an adjunct faculty member instructing students pursuing a technical theatre degree.

Endless Lawns
By Anthony McKay
Directed by Greg Lehane

World Premiere

Friday, March 27 – Sunday, April 12, 2015, preview March 26
Studio Theatre

Written by Pittsburgh playwright and Carnegie Mellon University professor Anthony McKay, Endless Lawns is an emotionally trenchant story about two sisters and the men who love and care for them.

McKay, who received an acting degree from CMU in 1969, has appeared on Broadway with the Negro Ensemble Company in The First Breeze of Summer and in Jean Kerr’s Lunch Hour with Gilda Radner. Off-Broadway, he appeared in Moonchildren, Incident At Vichy, and Clarence at the Roundabout Theatre.

A professor of drama and music at Carnegie Mellon, Greg Lehane has directed plays in New York City, where he was a founding member of Primary Stages Company and directed five New York premieres with that company. His work has been seen in American Regional Theatres, in Canada and in Egypt, where he was a Distinguished Lecturer in Drama at the American University in Cairo. He directed a trilogy of Greek tragedies for the Moscow Art Theatre School. He also has directed television programs for all three networks, PBS, TBS, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, USA, The Disney Channel, in London, and in France for worldwide syndication. He has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Direction twice.

 

Just Ducky Tours’ one millionth rider returns to claim prize

 

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(Pittsburgh, Pa) –On Saturday, June 21st, Just Ducky Tours, a Pittsburgh based company, will welcome back their millionth rider.  The milestone was reached on ‘Miss Sliberty’, a DUKW boat from the Just Ducky Tours fleet in October 2013.  As passengers returned to Station Square, Just Ducky Tours Co-Owners, Christopher D’Addario and Michael Cohen presented Mrs. Trischler and her husband, residents of Butler County, their daughter and three grandsons with a gift certificate for a future private duck tour.

The tour will be redeemed Saturday, June 21st as Mrs. Trischler and 29 family members gather from all over the country to celebrate on a private Just Ducky Tour.  The family will arrive at 4:00 p.m. in Station Square and will enjoy boxed lunches prepared especially for the family compliments of Hard Rock Café while touring the City of Pittsburgh.

Just Ducky Tours is honored to have toured the wonderful City of Pittsburgh and her three rivers with over one million people from all over the world.  They congratulate and welcome back the Trischler Family.

About Just Ducky Tours, Inc.

Just Ducky Tours is Pittsburgh’s only fully-narrated one-hour adventure through the city on LAND and WATER! Each excursion begins in historic Station Square before waddling through town then splashing into the river.  Passengers can experience the ride of their life in an authentic WWII amphibious vehicle from April to November! For the last 16 years, Just Ducky Tours has been quacking through the streets of Pittsburgh and has grown to a fleet of 6 boats, with a seventh planned for 2014.  For more information, visit www.justduckytours.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jdtpittsburgh or on Twitter at @pgh_justducky

 

Carnegie Science Center to offer special tours of USS REQUIN

 

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TECH TOURS GO BEHIND THE SCENES OF A REAL COLD WAR-ERA SUBMARINE

 

PITTSBURGH, June 16, 2014 — On select Sunday mornings this summer, Carnegie Science Center will offer visitors the chance to go behind the scenes of USS Requin, a Cold War-era submarine docked along the Ohio River, and to tour areas rarely seen by the general public.

Requin behind-the-scenes “Tech Tours” will take place from 9-11:30 am on June 29; July 13 & 27; Aug. 10 & 31; and Sept. 14. During tours led by a submarine veteran and Science Center staff, visitors will learn how Requin crew faced challenges and life underwater. It’s a special chance to explore un-restored compartments, climb into the conning tower, and see the periscope.

“The Tech Tours give our visitors a unique opportunity to explore Requin and get a really in-depth look at life on a submarine,” says Patty Rogers, curator of Historic Exhibits at Carnegie Science Center. “These tours are great for everyone, from teens learning about history, science, engineering, and technology to veterans. This special program offers a rare opportunity for the public to see the conning tower or check out the periscope.”

In addition to her commitment to our local historic naval treasure, Rogers serves as President of the Historical Naval Ships Association (HNSA), an organization whose purpose is to preserve and interpret historically important naval ships around the world.

Because of the submarine’s structure, Requin Tech Tours require full mobility, and tour size is limited to 12 people. Participants must be age 15 and older. Cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Advance registration is required. Call 412.237.1637 to register.

Visitors wishing to go on a self-guided tour of USS Requin are welcome to do so daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Self-guided tours of the submarine are included with general admission to the Science Center; admission to the submarine is $5 for walk-ups who have not purchased Science Center admission.

About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.

 

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top 5 To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (6/19 – 6/22)

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Contributor.

Here are the Top Five Things To Do June 19 through June 22:

Pixburgh N’Nat

John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show with special guest Rick Sebak.

In John’s own Pittsburghese; “Join me and WQED’s Rick Sebak as we explore the endearing and annoying quirks that make Pixburgh Pixburgh. So git yinz asses in gear and gitdonner.”

The Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show is June 21 at 10:15 at the CLO Cabaret, 655 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh.

 

Play-ground

Alarum Theatre is performing “Iphigenia & Other Daughters” at the Blue Slide Playground in Frick Park.

Alarum promises “A bold new look at the Orestes myth from Greek tragedy focuses on the women, those who were excluded from the wars, from revenge, and from history itself.”

“Iphigenia & Other Daughters” is at the aforementioned Blue Slide Playground, Frick Park, Beechwood Blvd. and Nicholson Street, Squirrel Hill.

 

Which Witch is Witch?

The Heritage Players will cry, “Witch!” when they present Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” There’s a lot of hurtful name-calling in this play, but if you’ve ever watched Fox News, you can handle it.

“The Crucible” is playing at the Seton Center, 1900 Pioneer Avenue, Pittsburgh.

For more information, call 412-254-4633 or go to www.bphp.org

 

Whodunnit

You get to be Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or Columbo at Gaetano’s Restaurant as they present “Deadly Lessons,” an interactive murder mystery dinner theater show. You’ll be going to a party for everyone’s favorite school teacher, Miss Lily, but maybe this school teacher has a hidden past. Dunt Dunt Da!

“Deadly Lessons” is at Gaetano’s Restaurant1617 Banksville Rd., Pittsburgh.

For more information, call 724-344-2069 or visit www.eatdrinkmurder.org

 

Where the Wild Things Are

It’s the final weekend to catch “Wild Things,” an exhibit of 2D, 3D and kinetic artworks juried by Cynthia Shaffer. After June 21, things will be a lot less wild in Sewickley.

You can find “Wild Things” at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad Street, Sewickley.

For more information, call 412-741-4405 or visit www.sweetwaterartcenter.org

 

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The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (6/12 – 6/15)

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Contributor.

 

Here are the Top Five Fun Things To Do in Pittsburgh the weekend of June 12 to June 15.

 

Spike it Up

It’s not too late to catch “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike.” When movie star Masha unexpectedly returns & announces to her adult siblings, Vanya & Sonia, her plans to sell their family farmhouse, the rug is pulled out from under their bucolic existence.

“Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” is at the Little Lake Theatre 500 Lakeside Drive, Canonsburg (map) through June 28.

For more information, call 724-745-6300 or click www.littlelake.org

 

Occult Classics

Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods, where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find a tome called the “Necronomicon”, Book of the Dead, and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens are possessed. Doesn’t that just scream, Musical?! Yes, the cult classic film by Sam Raimi is now “Evil Dead: The Musical.”

The No-Name Players are performing it at the Off The Wall Theater.

Off the Wall Theater is at 25 W. Main Street, Carnegie.

For more information, go here; www.nonameplayers.org

 

Air Supply

There’s a performance & installation by Squonk Opera about air, made by air & powered by air featuring live original music & inflatable objects called “Pneumatica.” It’s part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Check out all the art while you’re there at Point State Park, 101 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh.

For more information on Pneumatica, go to www.squonkopera.org

You can also check out the rest of the fest, here at www.3riversartsfest.org

 

Be Brave!

I love a parade! Sunday, June 15, 2014. Members of the LGBTQ community and their allies will be marching in the streets of Pittsburgh. There are tons of Pride related events over the weekend. Pride in the Streets with headliner Chaka Kahn on Saturday night, but after the parade on Sunday, gay country singer Steve Grand will be giving a free concert in the streets. When Steve Grand’s video “All-American Boy” debuted on YouTube, it made him an overnight sensation. Out Magazine has already named him one of their Out 100 list.

For a full calendar of all the Pride events, go to www.pittsburghpride.org

 

Pride Adjacent

There’s another way to celebrate Pittsburgh Pride. Arcade Comedy Theater will be hosting two LGBT related shows during the Pride festivities a block away from the main event. At 8:00 pm, there’s the Hootenanny with Mark Trawka, Chorus Master from the Pittsburgh Opera. He’ll tell a story based on an audience suggestion, and then a group of talented improvisers will act it out. At 10:00 pm, there’s the Pride Comedy Show featuring LGBT comedians like Carl Schimmel, Abby Denton, and John Pridmore. Storyteller Stacy Keene will weave an LGBT tale. There are musical guests Midge Crickett and Kate Kittenfists DuPuis. And there is an all LGBT improv group starring John Feightner, Connor McCanlus, Kayleigh Blanchette and Michael Quigley. They’ll be joined by their host, Michael Buzzelli (Oh. Now I get it). Proceeds from both shows will go to LGBT charities.

For more information, go to http://arcadecomedytheater.com/

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Noising off about NOISES OFF, Pittsburgh Public Theater

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by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Contributor.

 

“To take the sardines, or to leave them!” That is the far less noble question that Dotty Otley (the amazing Helena Ruoti) must ask herself in the first act of “Nothing On!” the tongue-in-cheek play-within-a-play in “Noises Off” now playing at the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

There is much ado about “Nothing On,” as the characters perform the final dress rehearsal of the auspicious play. Otley’s remembering her words but not her actions. She’s not the only one who isn’t off book.

Director Lloyd Dallas (Michael MacCauley) is so exasperated that he’s about to throw his hands up in the air and resign from sheer frustration. Meanwhile, his latest squeeze, Brooke Ashton (Laura Woyasz), is squeezing out her dress on stage, getting close to having nothing on in “Nothing On.” Ashton is pretty in pink underwear and suddenly it’s immediately clear while a professional director would cast Ashton, a talentless and vapid bimbo.

“Noises Off” has many plot twists, actually plot trysts. Brooke does Dallas. The director has also popped off with Assistant Stage Manager Poppy Norton-Taylor (Karen Baum). Leading lady Otley is coupling with the much younger Garry Lejeune (Noah Plomgren), in a May-December affair. Seasoned theater vet Belinda Blair (Garrett Long) has her eye on Frederick Fellowes (Preston Dyar), who’s wife has just left him. Selsdon Mowbray (Ralph Redpath) is in love with liquor. It’s quicker, and rarely disappoints unlike human lovers.

Things are about to get ridiculously crazy. It’s a door-slamming bedroom farce ramped up on ecstasy. Playwright Michael Frayn has created a frenetic ballet, with actors zigzagging around each other with deft choreography. Several games are going on at once. There’s a rousing round of Keep-a-way played with a bottle of booze and the aforementioned alcoholic. There’s a game of tug of war played between two sets of jealous lovers. Dyar’s Frederick Fellowes, obliviously, becomes the monkey in the middle. There are missing contact lenses, nose bleeds and a several slimy plates of sardines. The sardines, ironically, act as a red herring. You think you’re supposed to be paying attention to them, but it’s quite alright if you lose track of the canned critters. In the final act, they are everywhere.

Director Don Stephenson is juggling a lot of balls in the air, and hopefully he’s far less exasperated than his theatrical counterpart, Lloyd Dallas. Stephenson does an amazing job of keeping it all together.

NoisesOff084

 

Karen Baum, Helena Ruoti, Noah Plomgren.  PHOTO: Pittsburgh Public Theater.

 

There are several standout performances in “Noises Off.”

Ruoti is consistently superb. Recently, Ruoti was recognized by the Allegheny County Council with a proclamation honoring her contribution to women in the arts as part of 2014’s Women’s History Month. She deserves every accolade.

Woyasz has one of the most difficult roles. Her character, Brooke Ashton, is a dimwit, and Woyasz has to convince the audience that her character is inept and untalented. The real life girl is anything but. Woyasz is a shining star playing a dim bulb.

Preston Dyar plays the obtuse Frederick Fellowes oblivious to almost everything going on around him, Long hands in a terrific performance, and Baum is delightful as the much-maligned Assistant Stage Manager Poppy Norton-Taylor. Scott Cote plays Tim Allgood, the Stage Manager, with aplomb. Redpath’s stumbling drunk might be the nicest character in the bunch. He’s also a joy to watch.

The stage was so meticulously crafted. Michael Schweikardt’s set is lovingly rendered. It’s nearly an exact replica of the 1992 film version.

The first act is funny, but the second act is so hilariously and dizzyingly played you might need an oxygen tent to catch your breath from laughing. There are a plethora of laugh-out-loud moments. Unfortunately, things fall apart in the final act. In the third act, the characters have lost their charm and wit and just bumble about. They become much less likable, but that is, unfortunately, the point to all of it. Frayn’s ending is a bit abrupt and loose ends are strewn about like the aforementioned spilled sardines. However, the first two acts are worth the price of admission.

Catch “Noises Off” at the Pittsburgh Public Theater through June 29. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did.

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