Monday, March 19, 2018

Trust Membership Matching

March Match-ness is your slam dunk.
Score more impact and more benefits.

Make a new membership gift to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust through March 24 and your contribution will be matched.*


New gifts of $25 include a $50 Partner Membership
New gifts of $50 include a $100 Sustaining Partner Membership
New gifts of $125 include a $250 Sponsoring Partner Membership
You can also give by phone at 412-471-3518. Check out more benefits here.

*New gifts of $25 or more will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $125.

The official registration and financial information of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999.  Registration does not imply endorsement.

Film, Panel Discussion and Reception to Focus on Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry Credit: Gin Briggs

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is thrilled to announce Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, a film screening and panel discussion in celebration of Women’s History Month. The screening will be held on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. A playwriting workshop focusing on women and diversity will be held in collaboration with the screening on March 27. This event is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in collaboration with the LakeArts Foundation.

Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is the first-ever feature documentary about Lorraine Hansberry, the visionary journalist, activist and playwright who authored the groundbreaking A Raisin in the Sun. The documentary portrays Hansberry’s lifetime commitment to fighting injustice and her use of art as a medium for activism.  Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart features Tony Award®- winning actress Anika Noni Rose as the voice of Hansberry, interviews with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte and Louis Gossett, Jr. and narration by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Filmmaker and Peabody Award-winner Tracy Heather Strain crafts the story of one woman who believed, like many of her generation, that words could change society.

The film will be followed by a moderated panel featuring the film’s executive producer Chiz Schultz, American University Professor and playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings, and Joi Gresham, Director and Trustee of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust. After the panel, a reception will celebrate the film and the empowerment of women, including complimentary hors d’oeuvres and live music by female jazz trio, A.I.R., led by University of Pittsburgh’s Irene Monteverde.  

On March 27, building on the inspiration and legacy of Hansberry, the Trust will host a one-day playwriting workshop at the August Wilson Center focusing on diversity and women’s voices led by Caleen Sinnette Jennings. The workshop will explore how, like Hansberry, Jennings mined personal diaries, photo albums, interviews and research to pen her theatrical memoirs. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring one or two photos of people who have been meaningful in their lives. Writing exercises will lead to monologues which will be shared with other participants.

Tickets ($23.25) include admission to the screening, panel and reception, and are available at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at, by calling Guest Services at 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. Workshop registration ($40) must be purchased separately at

Saturday, March 17, 2018

"Heisenberg" - An Odd Couple Explores a World of Possibilities

Robin Abramson as Georgie Burns in "Heisenberg", now at Pittsburgh Public Theater Credit: Courtesy Photo

To quote Ben Franklin, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. By extension, then, everything else is plagued by uncertainties, or, depending on your point of view, possibilities.

Take relationships as does playwright Simon Stephens in his light-hearted, two-character play with a high-brow title "Heisenberg." Borrowing from the German physicist Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Stephens explores what happens when a 75 year old butcher from Ireland meets through a chance encounter in a London train station a 42-year old energetic pixie with a compulsion to talk.

Those with an analytic mind can entertain several ways in which the play relates the tenets of quantum mechanics to the possibilities inherent the vagaries of life  But you don’t have to be schooled in physics to get the drift of the playful adventure that ensues after this serendipitous encounter between two unlikely candidates for a meaningful. relationship.

With little in the way of props or set other than a quartet of benches, one at each corner of the Pittsburgh Public’s theater-in-the-round configuration, the playwright manages to create such engrossing narrative and the actors such palpable characters, the details of place become almost irrelevant. Besides their age gap, the pair is dispositional opposites. Alex is more contemplative and introverted; Georgie is an extroverted ball of energy, a manic crackbrain with a need to tell stories whether they be true or not.

Despite her lean physique, Robin Abramson as Georgie Burns soon manages to dominate her counterpart by sheer force of will, playing with dexterity a cat and mouse game that initially holds him captive. As Alex Priest, Anthony Heald does a great job listening with rapt attention to her kaleidoscopic rambling monologue until he finally reaches the breaking point and calls it a day.

Not one to be dismissed so easily, Georgie tracks down her reluctant new acquaintance thanks to the power of the Internet. She pours into his butcher shop like the proverbial unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

Without spoiling the rest of the plot by revealing it, let’s say the effect the two characters have on one another, despite their rather odd relationship, is life changing. With a cross-fertilization of thoughts, ideas and back stories, they evolve emotionally in increments. All the while the playwright (his "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016), keeps you guessing as to both of the characters’ motives in perpetuating their ongoing involvement.

As Georgie, Abramson’s performance is surgically precise. The skill and energy required to pull of the role is astounding, and she certainly fits the bill and is about as perfect in the part as I can imagine.

Anthony Heald as Alex Priest Credit: Courtesy Photo
Heald’s performance is just as strong. The veteran actor’s focus as listener to Georgie’s frenetic loquaciousness is sheer theatrical artistry, his contributions to the dialogue are significantly momentous and his stage presence is a formidable counterbalance to Abramson’s..

Thankfully dialect coach Don Wadsworth keeps his Irish accent on the down low. It’s just enough to connote Celtic without obscuring the words with arcane pronunciations..

The actors eschew the prima donna effect by moving the benches around themselves without the aid of stage hands to form different configurations at the end of each scene. The seats of the train station in scene one morph into the meat case that suggests the butcher shop of scene two, the table and chairs of an Indian restaurant later on and on it goes.

As director, Tracy Brigden, the former artistic director at Pittsburgh City Theatre, comes back to create a highly polished production that is glaringly faultless and daringly efficient, especially when viewed from the up close intimacy of the stage’s theater-in-the-round arrangement.

Of one thing you can be certain - you should be able to find "Heisenberg" appealing on at least one level. There’s the adventure of experiencing what happens when an eccentric waif crosses path with a withdraw elderly man who incrementally comes to life under her influence. And, for those who might want to plummet beneath the surface, there’s enough material to keep you busy in conversation or thought  on the ride home.

Scenic and lighting design by Brian Sidney Bembridge and sound design by Zach Moore.

"Heisenberg," a production of Pittsburgh Public Theater, is at the O’Reilly Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh through April 8.  For tickets, phone 412-316-1600 or

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Monologue Project Goes Live With Free Online Resource

  The Monologue Project announced today their online resource featuring 30 original monologues from nationally recognized writers for theater is now available to the public.  

Hosted by The Bishop Arts Theatre Center, The Monologue Projects online resource features original works from such award-winning writers as Amy Evans, Pia Wilson, Charlayne Woodard, Dominique Morisseau, Mfoniso Udofia, Cori Thomas and Chisa Hutchinson. Celebrating Women of the African Diaspora and their impact on theater and the world, the monologues run the gamut from intensely moving to fiercely funny.  

 By making these works available for free online as a resource, The Monologue Project aims to increase the number of audition-length monologues for Women of the African Diaspora. Hearing voices that have not been heard and providing greater opportunity for Women of the African Diaspora will be of benefit to all.   Performances of The Monologue Project have taken place in Pittsburgh and Dallas over the last year and have facilitated conversations on the essential role of black women in America by joining in solidarity with the woman-driven activism of movements like Black Lives Matter. 

The Monologue Project will have a performance in New York this July at the Dramatists Guild 2018 National Conference.   Participating Monologue Project Writers (in alphabetical order): Mando Alvarado, Chrystal Bates, France-Luce Benson, N’Jameh Camara, Zina Camblin, Kia Corthron, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, LeKeithia Dalcoe, William Duell, Kim El, Alesia Etinoff, Amy Evans, Rob Florence, Imani Maryahm Harrington, Dave Harris, Yona Harvey, Chisa Hutchinson, Levi Jelks, Christine Toy Johnson, Jewell McPherson, Dominique Morisseau, Ife Olujobi, Maxie Rockymore, Bianca Sams, Daniel Talbott, Cori Thomas, Pamela Turner, Mfoniso Udofia, Bria Walker, Keith Wallace, Amy Gijsbers van Wijk, Pia Wilson and Charlayne Woodard.

About Bishop Arts Theatre Center (BATC): The Bishop Arts Theatre Center is an award winning, multicultural, multi-discipline theatre that offers a full season of theatrical performances, jazz concerts, speakers series and year round arts education programs. Based in Dallas, Texas, the mission of the organization is to cultivate a diverse and vibrant arts community while creating opportunities for local and emerging artists through performances and education. Each year, the BATC impacts over 50,000 people nationwide.



Tap into your inner astronomer tonight at SkyWatch, presented by PPG, at Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium and Observatory. March’s SkyWatch will be one of the last chances of the season to catch a glimpse of The Great Orion Nebula, the nearest large star-forming region in space, as well as the brightest nebula in the sky. The Pleiades open star cluster, the brightest such cluster in all the sky, and Sirius, the brightest star in the night-time sky, should also be in view.

The evening kicks off with a virtual tour of the night sky in the planetarium. Afterward, enjoy additional planetarium programs, and if the skies are clear, head up to our observatory. Gaze at the stars through various telescopes, such as our 16-inch Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, and chat with our team of expert stargazers.

The SkyWatch program is offered at 8 and 10 pm. Tickets are $4 for non-members, and $2 for members and as an add-on to general admission.

8 pm and 10 pm Fri., March 16

Carnegie Science Center
One Allegheny Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium and Observatory staff will give guests a virtual tour of the night sky. If weather and skies permit, guests will be invited up to the observatory to check out the sky using various telescopes.

In addition to serving as Pittsburgh’s destination for stargazing and amateur astronomy, the observatory offers an absolutely breathtaking view of downtown Pittsburgh.

Antique Appraisals Offered by Westmoreland County Historical Society

 Program:  Antiques Appraisal Day

Location: Westmoreland County Historical Society, Calvin E. Pollins Library Address:  362 Sand Hill Road, Suite 1, Greensburg, PA 15601

Date:  Tuesday, March 27, 2018Time:   4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Program fee: $10 for one piece; 2nd and 3rd item costs an additional $5 each; 3 item-limit.

Reservation: Appointments may be scheduled by calling 724-532-1935 ext. 210.

Spring is always a good time to clean clutter out of closets, the basement, or garage.  Have you ever wondered if your family heirlooms have more than sentimental value?  Is the piece of pottery you found at the house sale worth anything?      

Here is your opportunity to find out if these items areactually antiques or collectibles.  Verbal assessments will be given by John Mickinak on a variety of objects.  Mr. Mickinak has over30 years of experience as an antiques dealer and estate appraiser. 

The appraisal rate for one piece is $10, and the 2nd and 3rd items cost an additional $5 each; there is a 3-item-limit.  

Appointments are recommended.  Walk-ins are welcome, but will be seen after the scheduled appraisals on a first-come basis. Watching the variety of items being assessed while one waits for the appraisal of their object isa n interesting and educational experience.

Proceeds from the appraisals benefit the Westmoreland County Historical Society – a  501 (c) 3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to acquiring and managing resources related to the history of   Westmoreland  County and  using  these  resources  to  encourage  a  diverse   audience   to   make connections to the past, develop an understanding of the present, and provide direction for the future.

Visit website  and follow  activities on the Westmoreland County Historical Society Facebook page, and on Twitter @WCHistory

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Celebrate Easter Aboard the Gateway Clipper

Celebrate Easter Aboard The Gateway Clipper!

Enjoy a wonderful early afternoon holiday celebration with your family and friends. Enjoy a delicious brunch, beautiful scenery and lovely music!
Sunday, April 1
Board: 10:15 am Sail: 11 am - 1 pm

Experience Easter Dinner out on the water with your loved ones! Features our fabulous buffet dinner, music and the wonderful sights of Pittsburgh!
Sunday, April 1
Board: 3:15 pm Sail: 4 - 6 pm


Meet The Easter Bunny! Aboard the Bunny Fun Cruise

Hop on board and meet the one and only EASTER BUNNY! Plus, some of his favorite friends will visit to join our DJ Dance Party! And, all kids will receive a special treat from the Easter Bunny!

Saturday, March 31
Board: 12:30 pm Sail: 1:30 - 3:30 pm