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Short List: Week of September 29 - October 4

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Thu., Sept. 29 -- Stage

Pittsburgh is no immigration hotbed. But it has sheltered some of Sudan's "Lost Boys," who came here in 2001. Inspired by that true story, veteran local playwright Tammy Ryan's Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods follows the relationship between one such refugee, a Pittsburgh woman and her daughter. The play's premiere production, in New Jersey, was well received; for the Pittsburgh-premiere REP production, Sheila McKenna directs a cast including David Anthony Berry and Laurie Klatscher. A preview performance is tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 16. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $15-27. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.org

 

Thu., Sept. 29 -- Stage

Pittsburgh Public Theatre opens its season by digging to the very roots of theater. Sophocles wrote Electra in 410 B.C., but its themes of assassination, adultery and revenge in the family of murdered King Agamemnon still resonate. The Public's Ted Pappas follows his arresting productions of Medea and Oedipus the King with this classic, starring Lisa Harrow, Michael Simpson and, in the title role of vengeful daughter, Catherine Eaton. The first performance is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30. O'Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $28.75-60.75. 412-316-1600 or www.ppt.org

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Thu., Sept. 29 -- Film

In the 1970s, a Kentucky man named Leonard Wood built a house to heal his wife's cancer. In the 2000s, on a farm in Pottsville, Pa., artist Brent Green replicated that madly eccentric house as a film set. Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then tells the Woods' story with stop-action animation (of people, puppets and objects) and original music. Tonight's Pittsburgh-premiere screening, at the Regent Square Theater (courtesy of the Three Rivers Film Festival), features live musical accompaniment by a band including musicians from Fugazi, Drew and the Medicinal Pen, The Bitter Tears, and filmmaker Guy Maddin's orchestra. BO 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. $12. www.pghfilmmakers.org

 

Fri., Sept. 30 -- Art

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's fall Gallery Crawl has fresh art, live music and more at two dozen Downtown venues. Highlights include Wood Street Galleries opening Parallel Universe, a group show of technology-driven installations. Meanwhile, the Trust Arts Education Center hosts Black Violin with Drums, consisting of two classically trained musicians and a DJ; Handmade Arcade helps you make handmade postcards and pin-back buttons; short locally made films screen at the Harris Theater; and there's new painting and sculpture by Thomas Bigatel and Peter Johnson at 709 Penn Gallery. BO 5:30-9 p.m. Downtown. Free. www.pgharts.org 

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Fri., Sept. 30 -- Stage

In 1929, famed Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca visited Manhattan, with its skyscrapers, its Harlem blues, its stock market. The episode inspired an early work by acclaimed Pig Iron Theatre Company -- a one-man dance-theater play featuring the Philadelphia-based troupe's founder, Dito van Reigersberg. In Poet in New York, he plays nine characters, including Salvador Dali and blues singer Victoria Spivey; The Washington Post called Poet "graceful" and "surreally lyrical." The Pittsburgh premiere is tonight, at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Saturday's performance is in Spanish. BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 1. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $10-65. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

 

Fri., Sept. 30 -- Stage

The little-discussed phenomenon of African-American slaveholders -- free blacks who owned black slaves in 19th-century America -- is among the twists in veteran playwright Samm-Art Williams' Last of the Line, world-premiering tonight at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The play flashes between 1845-75 and 2005, and between the slaveholders and their descendants. Mark Clayton Southers directs a cast including Montae Russell (from TV's ER) and August Wilson Center Theatre Ensemble members including Kevin Brown, Vanessa German and Brenda Marks. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 9. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20-30. 412-456-6666 or www.AugustWilsonCenter.org

 

Friday, Sept. 30 -- Music

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Manfred Honeck, presents Beethoven Extravaganza, with performances of Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," at Heinz Hall. These works defied then-accepted notions of rhythm; the latter gained prominence for its initial dedication to then French Consul Napoleon Bonaparte. Making its BNY Mellon Grand Classics debut, the acclaimed Eroica Trio joins the orchestra during the Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano. Amy Kuhre 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 1, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Oct. 2. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412-392-4900 or  www.pittsburghsymphony.org

Art by Chuck Jones - PHOTO COURTESY OF TOONSEUM
  • Photo courtesy of Toonseum
  • Art by Chuck Jones

Fri., Sept. 30 -- Art 

Before Nemo and Buzz Lightyear, audiences were amused by hand-drawn, 2-D creations like a tenacious coyote, a stuttering rooster, an overzealous gunslinger and a hormonally challenged skunk. Toonseum and sponsor Acme Brick Company -- yes, a real firm, based in Fort Worth, Texas -- honor the familiar faces of Looney Tunes in an After-the-Gallery Crawl opening reception for Overture: Looney Tunes Behind The Scenes. Featured artists include director and animator Robert McKimson, caricaturist Sam Nicholson, legendary animator Chuck Jones and that voice of many toons, Mel Blanc. AK 9-10:30 p.m. 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $5. www.toonseum.org 

 

Sat., Oct. 1 – Music

The Octavio Brunetti Quintet was such a hit here at 2009's The Americas -- In Concert that its encore is moving to a bigger house. The 650-seat Hillman Center for the Performing Arts hosts this fourth annual "Americas," thanks to Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies. Grammy-winning pianist Brunnetti and his band (violin, guitar, bandoneon, bass) play both traditional Argentine tango and Tango Nuevo. Dancers Diego Di Falco and Carolina Zokalski will take the stage for several numbers, as will vocalist Eduardo Parra. BO 7:30 p.m. Shady Side Academy campus, Fox Chapel. Free (reservations recommended at www.proartstickets.org). 412-457-0507

 

Sat., Oct. 1 -- Variety

Speaking Of … presents another multi-genre extravaganza -- or, as the series has it, "An Artistic Euphony." The lineup at the New Hazlett Theater includes dance by local troupe Texture, but also storytelling by Taylor Greishober and by Alan Olifson, producer of the Los Angeles-based Word Play series (which recently relocated here); classically trained musicians contribute sounds. The evening also features local hip-hop artist Billy Pilgrim, who has noted, "Build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a night / But if you set a man on fire he'll be warm for the rest of his life." BO 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $10-15. www.speakingofpittsburgh.com

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Mon., Oct. 3 -- Words

"To me it is far more interesting for a reader to read an actor's backstage history of struggle, crisis, and discovery, out of the public eye, than a conventional, self-congratulatory rehashing of his ‘big moments.'" Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures' Literary Evenings series welcomes actor John Lithgow and his new memoir Drama, which explores the challenges facing actors who make it their life's work. Taking off from his one-man show Stories By Heart, Lithgow relives a hectic but exciting childhood resulting from his father's passion for theater, this time onstage at Carnegie Music Hall. AK 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $10-25. 412-622-8866 or  www.pittsburghlectures.org

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOYCE RAVID
  • Photo courtesy of Joyce Ravid

Tue., Oct. 4 -- Words

Fascinated by class discrepancies she witnessed as a child in India, American-born Sonia Shah made a career of curiosity. Her book The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World's Poorest Patients established her penchant for grounding pandemic issues in historical perspective. Her latest, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, brings Shah to Chatham University to tell the story behind the resilient and pervasive disease, and explores malaria's economic impact on developing countries. AK 8 p.m. Eddy Theater, 104 Woodland Road, Chatham campus, Shadyside. Free. 412-365-1186 or www.chatham.edu

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