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Short List: April 6-13

Broadway musical Fun Home; Quantum Theatre’s Collaborators; Non-Punk Pittsburgh rocks SPACE Gallery; comics star Ed Piskor’s solo exhibit

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SPOTLIGHT: Tue., April 11 - Stage

On paper it seems unlikely: a musical adaptation of a graphic novel/memoir about a middle-aged lesbian ruminating on her strained relationship with her long-dead father. But the Broadway production of Fun Home won five Tony awards in 2015: best new musical, best performance by a leading actor, best direction of a musical (Sam Gold), best book (Lisa Kron), and best score (music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Kron). It broke ground with the first all-female writing team ever to win best musical, and as the first Broadway show with a lesbian protagonist. Now Fun Home is touring after leaving Broadway late last year, and theater-goers have eight chances to experience it at Heinz Hall, April 11-16, courtesy of PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh. Kate Shindle stars as Alison Bechdel, the award-winning writer and artist of comic strip “Dykes To Watch Out For,” who ponders her past. Robert Petkoff plays Bruce, Alison’s mortician father who runs their home like a fascist country, while struggling with his sexuality. Susan Moniz plays Helen, Alison’s mom, and Alessandra Baldacchino joins the cast directly from Broadway as Small Alison. Baldacchino will sing “Ring of Keys,” the paean to discovering oneself that the producers chose to represent the show during the televised Tonys. Amani Newton 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., April 16. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $26-77. 412-392-4900 or www.trustarts.org

PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER MULL
  • Photo courtesy of Heather Mull

Thu., April 6 – Stage

In 1938, Stalin’s secret police gave famed dissendent Mikail Bulgakov a choice: To premiere his new play, Molière, he must write a flattering work about the Soviet dictator as a youth. Collaborators, Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge’s 2011 dark comedy inspired by real events, won Britain’s Olivier Award for best new play. The Pittsburgh premiere is a Kafka-esque Quantum Theatre production staged in a warehouse in Larimer. Jed Allen Harris directs this exploration of selling one’s artistic soul to save it, featuring local favorites Tony Bingham (Bulgakov) and Martin Giles (Stalin). BO 8 p.m. Continues through April 30. 6500 Hamilton Ave., Larimer. $18-51. 412-362-1713 or www.quantumtheatre.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN ALTDORFER
  • Photo courtesy of John Altdorfer

Thu., April 6 – Stage

Point Park University Conservatory Theater closes its season with a new take on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Subtitled “The Most Popular American Play You’ve Never Seen,” Tomé Cousins and Jason Jacobs’ adaptation keeps the framework of George Aiken’s 1852 blockbuster, while incorporating elements from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel that Aiken condensed or abandoned. The troupe promises that this adaptation “reflects modern concepts and gives insight into the classic” with contemporary theatrical techniques. Cousins and Jacobs direct; the first performance is tonight. Amani Newton 8 p.m. Continues through April 16. Rauh Theater, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $10-24. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

PHOTO BY LARRY RIPPEL
  • Photo by Larry Rippel

Fri., April 7 – Art

Why Non-Punk Pittsburgh? In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Pittsburgh’s “wasn’t a punk scene like the rest of the world was having, it was more of an explosion of creativity. It was the beginning of Pittsburgh’s transition from smoky old town to the renaissance city we live and work in today.” So says Dennis Childers, who along with Larry Rippel, co-curated this SPACE Gallery retrospective of music and art. The scene boasted seminal bands like the Cardboards (pictured here at the Mattress Factory), Carsickness and The Five, plus painters, poets, filmmakers and more. Special events (including an April 21 Carsickness album release!) mark the exhibit’s run; an opening reception is tonight. BO 5:30-10 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through June 18. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-325-7723 or www.spacepittsburgh.org

Fri., April 7 – Art

ART BY RITA DUFFY
  • Art by Rita Duffy

Tonight, The Mattress Factory’s Monterey Street annex hosts the opening reception for so it is. Curated by Carnegie Mellon University professor John Carson, the exhibition features installations created in-residence by seven artists from Northern Ireland, all of whom experienced the Troubles, the violent 30-year conflict between British loyalists and the IRA. Carson and the featured artists worked while (and in response to) living in a divided society, and their work contemplates disunity in the United States today. AN Reception: 6-8 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Aug. 7. 1414 Monterey St., North Side. 412-231-3169 or www.mattress.org

Fri., April 7 – Art

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Criminal-justice reform, including expanding parole eligibility for lifers, is the aim of Contraband, opening tonight at BOOM Concepts as part of Penn Avenue’s monthly gallery crawl Unblurred. Featured are paintings on leaves — a.k.a. prison contraband — by Todd “Hyung-Rae” Tarselli, who 25 years ago was sentenced to life without parole for a homicide conviction he received as a juvenile. The exhibit includes portraits of women lifers by Mary Dewitt, and other art by prisoners. An auction includes 30-plus artworks by “outside” artists; proceeds benefit locally based advocacy group Let’s Get Free. BO 6-10 p.m. (speakers at 7 p.m.) 5139 Penn Ave., Garfield. www.facebook.com (“april unblurred contraband”)

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Fri., April 7 – Event

Multiple Choice Event night returns to the August Wilson Center, offering three activities to choose from and the option to pay for only what you want to do. Visitors to this Pittsburgh Cultural Trust affair can pick between Sh!t-faced Shakespeare, a staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by one entirely wasted actor; the crAfter Party, where guests 21 and over will sample from Millvale brewery Grist House Craft while helping build a cardboard city (destined for destruction at the next Multiple Choice); hanging out with friends at the food trucks; or all three. AN 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $0-25. 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org

Sat., April 8 - Stage

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Starting tonight, City Theatre presents Wild With Happy, the 2012 Off-Broadway hit by Fear the Walking Dead actor and playwright Colman Domingo. The New York Times called the play, about a 40-year-old gay actor returning home to cremate his mother, “sweet and funny,” mining laughs from life’s absurdity. Reginald L. Douglas directs a cast including Corey Jones (pictured) as Gil; tonight is the first performance. Special events during the show’s run include City Connects/LOVE with Proud Haven, a program blending art and activism by pairing plays with relevant community organizations. AN 5:30 p.m. Continues through May 7. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $15-69. 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

Sat., April 8 – Art

Local gallerygoers know Ryder Henry’s richly detailed scale-model spaceships and futuristic cities made from reclaimed materials. Henry’s footprint grows with There Is More to Explore, a big solo show at UnSmoke Systems Artspace. The exhibit of spaceships, architectural constructions and oil paintings was inspired by a 1950s science-fiction novel that imagined the cities of earth flung into space by antigravity machines. An opening reception is tonight. BO 6-9 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through April 30. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. www.unsmokeartspace.com

ART BY ED PISKOR
  • Art by Ed Piskor

Sat., April 8 – Art

The ToonSeum honors one of Pittsburgh’s great recent home-grown artistic successes with Hermetically Sealed: The Art of Ed Piskor. The new exhibit tracks this Munhall native’s comics journey, from teenage juvenilia copying superhero panels through his early pro work for the legendary Harvey Pekar and self-published hit Wizzywig, to the four-volume (so far) global phenomenon that is Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree. ToonSeum promises both quality and quantity, with hundreds of Piskor’s works displayed. Tonight’s opening reception doubles as the opening party for Sunday’s PIX indy-comics expo. BO Reception: 7-10 p.m. (free). 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. www.toonseum.org

Sat., April 8 - Music

Tuned gongs, drums, and metal-keyed instruments, plus bamboo flutes and vocals, make gamelan one of the world’s most distinctive musical traditions. Tonight, Pitt’s University Gamelan gives its annual concert, a rare chance to see this hypnotic Indonesian music performed live. The concert at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Inspired by Gamelan: Music by Indonesian and Western Composers, features student performers and two artists in residence: bamboo flautist Endang Sukandar and Endang Rukandi, a master of the music of West Java. Bill O’Driscoll 8 p.m. Sat., April 8. 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland. $5-12. 412-624-7529 or www.pitt.edu/tickets


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Sun., April 9 - Comics

The sixth annual Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo sets up at the August Wilson Center. The all-day ToonSeum event celebrates creator-owned, self-published, small-press and handmade comics, with some 50 exhibitors from Pittsburgh and around the country. Across the street, at The ToonSeum, panel discussions feature guests including Anya Davidson (Band for Life); Closed Captions Comics co-founder Lane Milburn; Carol Tyler (You’ll Never Know); and local heros Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family Tree) and Jim Rugg, the latter premiering his Street Angel After School Kung Fu Special. PIX also offers comics workshops and more. BO 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. www.pixcomics.org

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Sun., April 9 – Screen

Russian-born, New York-based artist and writer Tatiana Istomina explores mysteries of Pittsburgh in her new film, “Life and Dreams in the Burgh.” In 2015, as a City of Asylum visiting artist, Istomina interviewed 14 Pittsburghers, from a medical student and an artist to a dishwasher and a foster mother of six. Digital animation, found footage and original imagery from locally based artists Sofia Sandoval and Emily Newman help round out the 47-minute work. Istomina will do a Q&A after the film’s free premiere screening, this afternoon at Alphabet City. BO 3 p.m. 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free. www.cityofasylum.org


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