A Pittsburgh boy made good on the national-media stage turns to a new endeavor — theater — and returns to town for the premiere of his play about a man with a year to live.
Ambridge native Eric Burns got his start in television at WQED and went on to success as a TV host, commentator and author. His talents were featured everywhere from The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour to Fox News Watch; his critically acclaimed books include The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol. Burns now lives in Connecticut.
Mid-Strut, which won the Eudora Welty Emerging Playwrights' Award, is about a terminally ill, middle-aged guy whose chief wish is to bed a former majorette from high school, whom he hasn't seen since. The world-premiere production is by the Rep, Point Park's professional theater company. The cast includes Cary Anne Spear, Robert Turano and John Shepard; Ronald Allan-Lindblom directs. Thu., Feb. 2-19. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $7-27 (the Sat., Feb. 4 performance is pay what you will). 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.org
"Those who can't do, mock," observes Jen Childs in her touring one-woman comedy Why I'm Scared of Dance. The show recounts Childs' days as an aspiring dancer — she really can move, critics have noted — and includes spoofs of dance numbers from classics like West Side Story. The show visits City Theatre's intimate Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre for a limited run starting Thu., Feb. 2. Performances continue through Feb. 12. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $35. 412-431-2489 or www.CityTheatreCompany.org
Improv comedy comes to Penn Avenue's first-Fridays art crawl as Steel City Improv Theater takes a bow at the old Dance Alloy Studio (now run by the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater), in Friendship. The year-old SCIT, founded by improv instructors Kasey Daley and Justin Zell, is based on the North Side. But for this special event, the SCIT ensembles known as The Union and The LuPones venture eastward. The performers, who specialize in long-form improv, will take an audience suggestion and build a whole performance around it, from characters and plot to live music. The hour-long show, a special bonus at the Unblurred gallery crawl, is for ages 16 and up. 8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 3. 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. $5. 412-363-3000 or SteelCityImprov.com