SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Dec. 15 - Comedy
Safe to say that The Skivvies’ upcoming stand at City Theatre will be this year’s lone Pittsburgh stage production with underwear sponsors. Cheeks Boutique and TRIM Pittsburgh are donating apparel to Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley because the pair perform in their undergarments. And they look good doing it, which is one reason this New York City-based “undie-rock” duo can tour nationally with its comedy act consisting of mash-ups and medleys of pop songs, plus banter. Another reason, of course, is talent: Their collective resume includes a list of Broadway and regional-theater credits. The band has been hailed by outlets as diverse as People, Sports Illustrated and The Wall Street Journal.
The Skivvies, who formed in 2012 and last visited City Theatre in 2014, return with their holiday show, Sleigh My Name. With a nod to Destiny’s Child, and joined by a drummer, they wield instruments as various as ukulele, bells and glockenspiel. Expect seasonal favorites with a twist. For example, says Molina in a phone interview, “We play ‘Little Drummer Boy’ mashed up with ‘We Got the Beat.’” There’s a little improv, too — and plenty of local flavor: Each of the band’s two shows here features several stage talents as special guests, many of them locally based friends of the duo. For instance, appearing both nights are Daina Michelle Griffith, Michael McGurk and Stephen Santa. Other guests include Paige Davis, Kevin William Paul and Lisa Velten Smith.
Both performances also feature an opening act by local improv-comedy fave Baby Grand (Conor McCanlus and Missy Moreno), who’ll perform a classic film in 10 minutes with an original score created live using audience suggestions.
— Bill O’Driscoll
8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 15, and 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $20-40. 412-43-2489 or www.citytheatre.org
- Photo courtesy of Archie Carpenter
Thu., Dec. 14 – Stage
This Yuletide, as usual, there’s more than one option for catching a reformable Victorian miser on stage, singing. Starting tonight, Pittsburgh Musical Theater brings back Ken Gargaro’s A Lyrical Christmas Carol, scored with beloved carols, for four performances at the New Hazlett Theater. And continuing through Dec. 23, Pittsburgh CLO offers its 26th annual A Musical Christmas Carol, at the Byham Theater. The show features all-new costumes and Broadway veteran Patrick Page (pictured) returning as Scrooge. BO Lyrical: 7:30 p.m.; performances continue through Sun., Dec. 17 (6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; $10-20; 412-539-0900 or www.pittsburghmusicals.com). Musical continues Dec. 15-23 (101 Sixth St., Downtown; $32.75-60.75, with half-price for ages 3-14; 412-456-6666 or www.pittsburghclo.org)
Fri., Dec. 15 – Stage
Plastic Boom, a group of juggling artists hailing from the U.S. and Sweden, brings Water on Mars to the August Wilson Center tonight and tomorrow as part of the EQT Bridge Theater Series. With help from touring circus-artist troupe Gandini Juggling, Water on Mars offers drama and humor in the frontier of space, with Plastic Boom juggling props including chocolate, giant card castles, and magnetic jump ropes. Did we mention they do backflips, too? Amanda Reed 7 p.m. Also 2 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10.50-12. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org.
- Photo by Rich Sofranko
Fri., Dec. 15 – Dance
Performances of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker continue at the Benedum Center through Dec. 27. Choreographed and staged by PBT artistic director Terrence Orr, and set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, PBT’s version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 tale begins in circa-1900 Shadyside, where a young girl receives a nutcracker that takes her on a dreamlike adventure to the Land of Enchantment. From “The Waltz of the Snowflakes” to the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” The Nutcracker is filled with classical tunes re-imagined with Orr’s choreography. AR 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 27. 237 Seventh St., Downtown. $28-109. 412-456-6666 or www.pbt.culturaldistrict.org
Fri., Dec. 15 – Opera
Resonance Works opens its annual production of Amahl and the Night Visitors tonight at the Charity Randall Theatre. Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1951 opera tells the tale of an imaginative, disabled young boy (eighth-grader Liam McCarthy, a seven-year member of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus) and his mother (mezzo-soprano Ivy Walz), whose lives change upon the arrival of three mysterious strangers. The production features live music by the Resonance Chamber Orchestra. This weekend’s two performances are supplemented by collections of gift cards and non-perishable food and personal-care items for the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. AR 7:30 p.m. Also 3 p.m. Sun., Dec. 17. 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $9-48. 412-501-3330 or www.resonanceworks.org
Fri., Dec. 15 - Music
Acclaimed French-Canadian soprano Pascale Beaudin visits Chatham Baroque for a program titled A Jubilant Season. Handel’s aria “Let the Bright Seraphim” and J.S. Bach’s cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” highlight three performances at three different venues this weekend. Also joining Chatham’s core trio are guest musicians on violin, viola, chamber organ, and natural trumpet (which looks exactly like something you would play at Christmastime). The weekend’s offerings include two family-scaled Peanut Butter & Jam Session sing-along matinees with Beaudin (pictured), both on Sat., Dec. 16. BO 7:30 p.m. (St. Nicholas Church, Millvale). Also 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16 (Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside), and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 17 (Campbell Memorial Chapel, Chatham University). $10-35. Sing-alongs: 10 and 11:30 a.m. Sat., Dec. 16 (Calvary Episcopal; $5-8, free for children under 3). www.chathambaroque.org
Fri., Dec. 15 – Comedy
Brent Morin brings his silly, honest comedy to Pittsburgh Improv for five shows beginning tonight. Morin has appeared on Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central, Brooklyn 99 and Ground Floor. One year after his New Faces set at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Variety named him one of the Top Ten Comics To Watch. In 2015, Morin released his Netflix-produced comedy special, I’m Brent Morin. AR 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Dec. 17. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead. $20. 412-462-5233 or www.pittsburgh.improv.com
Fri., Dec. 15 – Stage
Langston Hughes called Black Nativity his “Gospel song-play,” and since its premiere off-Broadway in 1961, it’s been on stage somewhere in the U.S. nearly every December. Black Nativity is a tradition in Pittsburgh, too — one that continues with this year’s production, by Shona Sharif African Dance & Drum Ensemble and the Hill Dance Academy Theatre. The show, interpreting the Gospel of Luke with traditional spirituals and African drumming and dance, is directed by Debbie Blunden-Diggs, artistic director of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Six performances over the next two weekends take place at Pitt’s Alumni Hall Auditorium, starting tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Sun., Dec. 23. Seventh floor, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $10-25. 412-586-7903 or www.blacknativitypgh.com
Fri., Dec. 15 – Comedy
On the very weekend that The Last Jedi opens, one local theater artist says, “May the Farce be with you.” Star Wars: The Arcade Strikes Back is writer and director Jesse LE’s evening of multimedia sketch comedy at Arcade Comedy Theater. The parody, on stage tonight and tomorrow, features local favorites including John Feightner, Matt Hartman and Mindy Cooper in a series of live and taped sketches and musical numbers, none of them either long, long ago or far, far away. BO 9 p.m. Also 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16. 943 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $7-12. www.arcadecomedytheater.com
Mon., Dec. 18 - Screen
What is it like when people from traditional cultures tell their own stories? The Karamoja people, semi-nomadic herders living in Uganda, have always been portrayed only by outsiders. Pittsburgh-based filmmaker and educator Will Zavala, just returned from a filmmaking workshop in Uganda, presents a program of short documentaries produced by himself and his Karamoja students, about topics including child mothers, tobacco use and bedwetting. The screening, at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Mini-Melwood, is part of the Documentary Salon series. BO 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. reception). 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland. Free. www.pfpca.org
- Photo courtesy of Alex Belisle
Wed., Dec. 20 – Music
Tonight’s a rare opportunity to hear Cleveland’s acclaimed Burning River Baroque in Pittsburgh, and in the intimate confines of a house concert, no less. At Mount Washington’s Chatham Village Clubhouse, see Malina Rauschenfels (voice and baroque violin) and Paula Maust (harpsichord) perform At a Crossroad: Will You Love, Live, or Die? It’s an evening of French cantatas and harpsichord solos by composers including Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Julie Pinel and Nicolas Racot de Grandval. The concert includes Grandval’s epic parody “The Widow From Ephesus,” in which Rauschenfels sings six different roles. BO 7 p.m. 655 Pennridge Road, Mount Washington. $15. www.burning-river-baroque.org
Wed., Dec. 20 – Stage
Everyone’s favorite festive Dr. Seuss story comes to life at Heinz Hall beginning tonight. A touring production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical hits town thanks to PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh. Inspired by the 1957 children’s book, this 2006 Broadway musical follows a curmudgeonly creature whose heart is “two sizes too small” and his plan to steal Christmas from the holiday-obsessed Whos of Whoville. The musical features well-known songs from the 1966 animated movie and an original score by Mel Marvin. There are eight performances through Christmas eve. AR 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 24. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $30-96. 412-456-1390 or www.trustarts.org.