Monday, October 14, 2019

Who Will Win it All?

Join Pittsburgh Festival Opera for a dazzling program of international vocal talent.
Over 200 of the brightest emerging opera singers across the globe have applied to this year's Mildred Miller International Voice Competition. On Sunday, October 27, you can hear the very best compete in the finals for the top prizes— including audience favorite!

Be sure to get your ticket for the reception immediately afterwards, so you can meet the winners and mingle with the judges. 

Carols & Cocktails
Friday, December 13th
6-9 PM
Mansions on Fifth


Help Pittsburgh Festival Opera end 2019 on a high note.

Make a gift today. 

Listen to Smooth Jazz this Winter

The Bone Forum

Winter Jazz Concert Series  
2nd Wednesday, Nov. - Feb. 2020
7-9 p.m.

Listen to the sounds of smooth jazz at The Westmoreland! On the second Wednesday of the every month, November through February, our community room becomes a jazz club lounge with a cash bar!  

November 13: Kevin McManus and The Bone Forum
December 11: Jessica Lee w/ special prelude 5-7pm during our Holiday Café Night
January 8: Tom Wendt and Frim Roots
February 12: Eric Barchiesi

All performances from 7-9pm.

Tickets per concert: $8 members/$10 non-members

Sunday, October 13, 2019

"Ruddigore" - Pittsburgh Savoyards Serve up a Timely Halloween-Appropriate Treat

Whether by design or not, Pittsburgh Savoyards' decision to stage "Ruddigore" in mid-October ties in nicely with the theme of the upcoming Halloween season. Subtitled "The Witch's Curse," the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta includes spooky elements that go hand-in-hand the end of October shenanigans - things like ghosts, the supernatural and a witch's curse.

But as one of the lesser performed G & S works, audiences may not know that, instead of dark and shadowy, it's all spoof and satire and jolly good fun. The work has a sort of Mel Brooksian or Monty Pythonian feel that also conjures up some of the mood of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" In short, feel free to take along the kiddies and rest assured they'll not be traumatized by the experience.

For a volunteer orchestra comprised of professional and semi-professional musicians, the nearly 40-piece ensemble opened the show with a lively overture, considered by many as one of Sullivan's best. Under the capable direction of Guy Russo, the orchestra provided just the right amplitude to underpin the work of the singers on stage, hardly missing a beat during the challenging patter songs and bolstering with aural beauty the more lyrical ballads.

The show begins on a humorous note when two bridesmaids emerge from the other side of the curtain dressed in frilly pastel chiffon, an entrance that leads to an introduction of the plight of Rose Maybud, a comely village maiden, who's yet to be caught up in a nuptial commitment. Her story is sung by Zorah (Mia Bonnewell, a Savoyard who's performed the entire canon of G & S works).

The spotlight is then turned on Rose, who reveals herself as a hopeful yet discriminating bride in "If Somebody There Chanced to Be." As the virginal heroine, Jenna Ziccardi projects a demure, yet willful maiden who can sings as well as she can act. Note: the role is handled in alternate performances by Sarah Marie Nadler.

Smitten by Rose's charms, the shy Robin Oakapple (Michael Brawdy) is too timid to do anything about advancing his love interest. He's also hiding the fact that he's the true baronet of Ruddigore, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, who fled from the family curse by running away to a small village in Cornwall and letting the onus of the curse fall on his younger brother, Despard (Cory Nile Wingard). It seems as if an ancestral baronet burned a witch at the stake, only to have the wretched crone utter a final curse that mandated that the baronet and his successors had to commit a crime each day in order to avoid a torturous death.

In his effort to woo Rose, Robin solicits the help of his half-brother, Richard  (Russell Henry Holbert), a sailor who just pulled into port after a ten year absence. Instead of shoring up his half-brother's chances for romance, Richard ends up falling in love with the maiden himself.

This ill-pairing of potential lovers is just the beginning of a series of maidens who match up with suitors they don't love. This includes an ill-fated love affair between Mad Margaret (Meghan Hilker) and Despard  whose rejection of her sent her mental state over the edge. An even more impossible pairing is one that pits a dead baronet, Sir Roderick Murgatroyd (Bob Herald) with the living and love smitten Dame Hannah (Sally Denmead) that culminates in a narrative surprise too delightful to reveal here.

Gilbert and Sullivan's plot for Ruddigore is even more topsy-turvy than those of their other operettas. In this case, it caused my theater companion to remark that she thought the Victorian operetta heavyweights might have been high on drugs when they wrote it. Rest assured, however, that everything rights itself in the end, and comes with one of those clever twists G & S are so well-known for.

Production highlights start with imposing Act Two special effect that involves the awakening of the portraits of the long line of baronets that fill a picture gallery in the ancestral castle. It's an exciting bit of paranormal chicanery. Every scene in which the chorus sings together is especially beautiful, and keep an eye out when Robin, Despard and Margaret team up on the spirited patter song  "My Eyes Are Fully Open. It skitters along in  gleeful delight.

Director Michael McFaden is especially adept at blocking, keeping the large cast moving dynamically with choreographic touches by Kelsey Walls. Interestingly, McFaden directed a 1997 Savoyards' production of "Ruddigore" and adds some humorous touches to the current staging, which includes some topical place references locals in the audience should find familiar

While works by G & S might not be everyone's cup of tea, the Savoyards fill a unique theatrical niche for Pittsburgh audiences. They appear to have a lot of fun putting on their productions, and it's the sort of fun that's contagious and leaves you feeling light-hearted and emotionally buoyant. 

Judging from the fact that the Pittsburgh Savoyards are in their 82nd year, they've proven to have had a lot of staying power and are a valuable element in the city's broad range of theatrical riches. At the moment, they're mounting a work appropriate for the Halloween season, which makes it a likely outing for both veteran G & S devotees as well as those who consider themselves operetta ingenues.

"Ruddigore" is at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie through October 20. For tickets, go to

Friday, October 11, 2019

Priority Ticket Offer: A Benedum Christmas - Home For The Holidays

Tuesday, December 17 • 7:30 pm
Benedum Center

A Benedum Christmas – Home for the Holidays showcases the incredible level of talent born in our city, featuring vocalists, songwriters, and musicians performing unique renditions of holiday classics along with their own original hit songs.

The Home for the Holidays showcase began at the Pittsburgh Winery as a way to bring people together for a good cause and an uplifting musical experience during the holiday season, at a time when friends and musicians came back home to Pittsburgh for the holidays. The concert quickly became a gathering of some of the best singers and musicians our city has to offer, and a very hot ticket. This very special show is an amazing musical and emotional journey that is sure to become your favorite holiday tradition!

FEATURING: Scott Blasey, Lyndsey Smith, Billy Price, Margot Bingham, Joy Ike, Anthony Jardine, Jimbo Jackson, Morgan Erina and John Schisler 

Anthony Ambroso - Guitar
Joseph Sheehan - Piano
Jason Rafalak - Bass
Ryan Socrates - Drums

Reggie Watkins - Trombone
Rick Matt - Saxophone
JD Chaisson - Trumpet

Lucy Clabby - Vocals
Shane McLaughlin - Vocals
Rosanna Spindler - Vocals 

Preshow Wine Tasting Reception
Kick off your evening early with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust one hour before showtime for a wine tasting with Pittsburgh Winery. To purchase, add the Regular w/ Reception ticket to your cart.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Donations
The Benedum Center lobby will be a donation location to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on the night of A Benedum Christmas - Home for the Holidays. Most-needed donations include diapers, laundry detergent, paper products, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, dried or canned beans, pouched or canned tuna, rice, and instant mashed potatoes. Please remember, perishable food and glass items cannot be accepted.
Enter promo code ROCK to purchase tickets before
they go on sale to the public on Monday, October 14 at 9:00 am.
To Purchase Tickets:
Online at
Call 412-456-6666
Box Office at Theater Square
Groups 10+ Call 412-471-6930

One week away - the opening performance of the 2019/20 Season of Community Support Art Performance Series, A Fire On Venus by Brittney Chantele.

Creating new performances like these takes the support of the community. When you subscribe to the CSA you’re not just buying tickets. You’re giving these artists the resources they need to create, and showing them that you support their process and value what their work adds to the Pittsburgh region.

A subscription to the CSA is just $100 for 5 performance. That’s only $20 a show to see these homegrown Pittsburgh artists premiere new work on our stage.

2019/2020 CSA ARTISTS

 Brittney Chantele
A Fire On Venus
October 16-17 I 8PM
Brittney Chantele’s performance of her new album, A Fire On Venus, focuses on the ever-changing emotional journey of love. Chantele’s vision glows brighter through her personal mission for equality and social justice.

Philip Wesley Gates
February 6-7 I 8PM
Phillip Wesley Gates’s Terminer examines the influence of our technological advances on systems of power and draws resonating parallels to the dark witch hunts of the American past.

Gil Teixeira
The Mind-Body Problem
April 30 - May 1 I 8PM
Sound artist, musician, and educator Gil Teixeira explores what it means to be human in light of the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence. His performance fuses music, art, and storytelling with technology, science, and philosophy.

Anna Azizzy
The Secret Life of
Gym Girls
December 5-6 I 8PM
Multi-media artist Anna Azizzy is one-of-a-kind. The Secret Life of Gym Girls, explores the dichotomy between the public and the personal. The performance brings to light how social pressure influences the way we reveal personal truth.

Dave English &
Will Schutze
The Dragon of Polish Hill
March 26-27 I 8PM
Dave English, puppeteer and political activist, brings The Dragon of Polish Hill, which tells the story of the collision of different cultures, generations, and values in a gentrifying urban neighborhood.

An Incubator for the Arts
When you give to the New Hazlett Theater, you’re giving artists a chance to grow, develop, and add their voices to the conversation. Your support gives emerging artists a place to be nurtured, to explore their work and present it in a professional setting. It exposes the Pittsburgh community to remarkable, thought-provoking works of art they can’t find anywhere else

The New Hazlett Theater is excited to announce that the Community Supported Program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Experience the Whimsy of Lina Bo Bardi's Drawings at Carnegie Museum of Art Exhibition in the Heinz Architectural Center Highlights Bo Bardi's Creative Practice

Lina Bo Bardi Draws
November 23, 2019–March 29, 2020
Heinz Architectural Center

Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) is thrilled to present an exhibition exploring the drawing practice of famed 20th-century architect Lina Bo Bardi. Lina Bo Bardi Draws brings together a selection of nearly 100 drawings, ranging from Bo Bardi's early life to the end of her career, from more than 6,000 drawings in her extensive archives in São Paulo.

Bo Bardi was a prolific and idiosyncratic designer. Born in Italy, she was educated in Rome and worked in the Milan studio of the Modernist architect Gio Ponti. Bo Bardi moved to Brazil in 1946, where her interest in local materials and practices enriched her Modernist approach to design. Her most notable projects include the Museu de Arte in São Paulo (MASP) and SESC Pompeia, a factory rehabilitated into a cultural center, also in São Paulo. Her creative work extended far beyond architecture, incorporating furniture and jewelry design, theatrical design, teaching, curating, and architectural criticism.

The exhibition invites visitors to explore the importance of drawing to this influential architect's design process and built work. Completed in a variety of media—pencil, watercolor, gouache, felt pen, pen and ink—the drawings reveal Bo Bardi's broad view of design and architecture as accessible to everyone, nurtured by her interest in nature and everyday life.

Lina Bo Bardi, Study for furniture design at Milan Triennale (detail), ca. 1946, Courtesy of INSTITUTO BARDI / CASA DE VIDRO

"Drawing, with its slow and intimate gestures, was her way of dwelling in the world," writes curator Zeuler R. Lima, PhD, in his introduction to Lina Bo Bardi Drawings (Princeton University Press, 2019). "Drawing conveyed, at the tip of her hands, a representational purpose and also a somewhat magical realism spell."

A version of this exhibition, also curated by Lima, appeared at the Fundacío Joan Miró in Barcelona as Lina Bo Bardi Drawing from February to May 2019.

Lina Bo Bardi Draws is curated by Zeuler R. Lima and brought to the museum by the Heinz Architectural Center.

Coming up at CityTheatre

Pictured: Albert Park, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire, Shua Potter at The Bash at City Theatre. Photo credit: Kristi Jan Hoover

City Theatre's 45th season is just getting started!
Check out what's coming up at City Theatre!

by Kemp Powers
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas
November 9 – December 1, 2019

Cassius Clay. Malcolm X. Sam Cooke. Jim Brown.
It’s 1964 and A Change Is Gonna Come.

Produced by special arrangement with abkco.

by David Sedaris
Directed by Monteze Freeland
Starring Shua Potter
Nov. 29 - Dec. 22, 2019
For Mature Elves Only 

Adapted from a segment on This American Life, award-winning comedic author David Sedaris recounts his days as an unemployed writer working as one of Santa’s Elves at Macy’s Department Store in a sardonic and outrageously funny take on the best and worst of the holiday season. Join Shua Potter and the merry team at City Theatre for a Pittsburgh twist on this holiday classic.

Momentum Reading Series: Christa McAuliffe's Eyes Were Blue
by Kemp Powers
Directed by Kyle Haden
November 18, 2019

Steven and Bernard Gentry are twins who have lived starkly different lives. The big reason? One is plagued by racism because of his dark skin while the other passes as white. Steven spent his childhood trying to fit in and is now a successful attorney. Bernard was a star student who dreamt of space, but his current prospects are about as dismal as the Challenger Space Shuttle that once inspired him. Spanning their 80s New York City childhood to a Minnesota courtroom in the 2006, Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue (written by One Night in Miami… playwright Kemp Powers) is a haunting meditation on race and privilege in America.

This event is complimentary, but RSVPs and tickets are required.

There's still time to subscribe!
NEW! 5 show packages available now!

Subscribers save at least 25% over regular admission and receive numerous benefits including preferred seating, unlimited exchanges, and exclusive City Event discounts.