Sunday, July 23, 2017

Viva XXXII Tequila - A Great way to Celebrate National Tequila Day

Viva XXXII Tequila Donates10% of Net Profits to Prevent Animal Abuse

The tequila gods must have looked down on me favorably for, by coincidence, I got my hands on two taste expressions of Viva XXXII just a couple of weeks before National Tequila Day, July 24.

Both varieties, a Joven and a Reposada, are premium sipping tequilas not meant for pounding down as shots with a squeeze of lime or a beer chaser. This pair is meant to be savored. Personally, I like my tequila neat or chilled, but would avoid serving these two over ice to avoid diluting their flavor or adding whatever tastes the water itself might add to the mix. Instead, I’d suggest letting the tequila sit in the freezer at least an hour before enjoying it ice cold.

The brand founder, Yvonne Niami, had as a goal to bring a premium sipping tequila to the market at an accessible price. Bottled in clear glass decanters with a ziggurat design that evokes (in my mind) the ancient Aztec culture, the blue agave-based  beverage is distilled in the Mexican town of, what else, Tequila. If you’re wondering about the image of the Chihuahua (affectionately called Phil) on the side of the bottle, he’s the brand mascot and represents the 10% of the net proceeds donated to prevent animal abuse.

If you’re the type influenced by the medal awards given out at competitions, both domestic and international, Viva XXXII Tequila recently took home a silver at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s also gotten some really great reviews from connoisseurs long in the spirits industry.

The first of the two varieties, a Joven Tequila ($40), is a 100% estate grown blue agave blanco blended with Viva XXXII’s 3-year-old extra anejo that is filtered to a point as clear as water. Once in the mouth, the feel is smooth with pronounced notes of pepper, lime and vanilla along with a pleasant sweetness. Later nuanced flavors of lemon peel, baking spices and herbs such as rosemary emerge.

The pale golden colored Reposado is somewhat smoother and sweeter than its Joven cousin and comes with a subdued peppery impact nicely balanced by vanilla and caramel with further notes of lime, roasted almonds and oak from its six month stay in new American oak barrels.

For those who like their tequila in creative cocktails, Viva XXXII collaborated with professional mixologists in Los Angeles and New York for their signature cocktails in time for National Tequila Day enjoyment. What follows is a portfolio of six cocktails along with recipes, directions and tasting notes.

VIVA Summer Solstice by TocaMadera (8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048)

2 oz. of VIVA XXXII Reposado Tequila
1 oz. of Citrus Mix (equal parts lemon and lime)
¾ oz. of Aperol Spiked Agave Syrup (3:1 Agave Nectar to Aperol). You could also do 1/2 normal Agave Syrup and 1/4 Aperol
Tajin Rim
Directions: Place all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and give a long hard shake. Take a coupe glass and rim with a salt/pepper/tajin mix. Double strain the cocktail (to remove ice chips) in the coupe and garnish will a rolled Grapefruit peel “flower".

Tasting Notes:  The balance of summer in a glass: bright, refreshing and with just a bit of heat. This cocktail hits all of the major palate areas. It is tart, sweet, earthy, and just a bit spicy. It is perfect for sipping away the long nights of summer.

VIVA Rip Tide by Seamore’s (390 Broome St, New York, NY 10013)

2 oz. VIVA XXXII Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Fresh Juiced Pineapple
½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Agave Syrup (3:1 Agave to Water)
Directions: Place all ingredients into a shaker and give a short “dry” shake. Then, add crushed ice to shaker. Pour ice and cocktail into a highball glass and top with a float of Angostura Bitters and Pineapple Frond.

Tasting Notes: TIKI Tequila! The freshness of the juices is what brings out the natural flavors of the tequila here. A slight bit on the sweet side, it won’t leave you with a tooth ache, but rather aching for another. The softer more rounded flavor notes of the Reposado Tequila dance in this cocktail.

VIVA Crisp made by Chris Kramer @celebratedspirits of The Larchmont (5750 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038)

2 oz. VIVA XXXII Joven Tequila
3 fresh slices of Cucumber
2-3 fresh slices of Jalapeno (deseed to control spice factor)
¾ oz. Agave Syrup

Directions: Place all in a tin and lightly muddle. Do not crush ingredients just press to express oils and flavors. Add ice and give a short and soft shake. Pour all into a Double Old-Fashioned Glass. Garnish with some something fresh and fragrant. We use a lime peel and cucumber wheel. But a large basil sprig is also recommended.

Tasting Notes: This is a very fresh and big cocktail. The cucumber and Jalapeño serve as the stage for the bright notes of the tequila to shine through. The agave gives the cocktail balance. It’s a garden in a glass!

VIVA Tourist made by Chris Kramer @celebratedspirits of The Larchmont (5750 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038)

2 oz. VIVA XXXII Joven Tequila
¼ oz. Mezcal
¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Fresh Pineapple
¾ oz. Fresh Orgeat (Almond Syrup)
2-3 fresh Jalapeño Slices

Directions: Place all in a tin and add ice. Give a long hard shake then double strain the cocktail into a single Old-Fashioned Glass. Garnish with a Jalapeño slice.
Tasting Notes: Like any good trip, this cocktail is an experience. It has big mouth presence and will linger in your mouth and memory like any good vacation. The lime, pineapple, and almond give a nice tropical vibe while the Joven and the Jalapeno jump in, keeping the drink from getting to sweet. The mezcal comes in right at the end for a lasting, smokey finish.

VIVA Las Peaches made by Blaine Adams of Barrel & Ashes (11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604)

2 oz. VIVA XXXII Joven Tequila
¼ Fresh Ripe Yellow Peach
1 Rosemary Sprig
¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Cinnamon Simple Syrup
2 oz. Soda Water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a tin and muddle until the peaches have expressed a decent amount of juice. Next, add ice and give a medium strength, medium length shakes and add 2 oz. Soda Water. Double strain onto fresh ice into a Highball Glass and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.

Tasting notes: Peaches and tequila are quite a pair. The bright citrus notes in the Joven latch onto the fresh peach and take off running. The cinnamon and rosemary are there to help balance out the flavor profile adding some spice and bitter earthy qualities. It’s refreshing, different, and will leave you asking for another. It’s not as crazy as a Vegas shotgun wedding but it is as good of a time!

VIVA Cooler by Cocina Condesa (11616 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604)

2 oz. VIVA XXXII Joven Tequila
2 Fresh Cucumber Slices
Pinch of Mint Leaves
Small pinch of cilantro leaves
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Agave Syrup
Tonic Water

Directions: Place all ingredients into a tin and lightly muddle. Next, add ice and give a short and soft shake. Take a Double Old-Fashioned Glass and rim with salt. Then, pour contents into the glass and top with a float of tonic water.

Tasting Notes: This drink is cool under pressure. The fresh herbs and citrus are bright and refreshing giving this drink an almost cooling sensation. The Joven stands as the backbone giving the drink just the right amount of heat. It’s familiar and different all at the same time. No peer pressure here but seriously be cool.

"Sex Werque" on Stage at Off The Wall

Moriah Ella Mason in "Sex Werque" Credit: Carnegie Stage

In Sex Werque, an autobiographical  movement theater piece about working as a former stripper in Pittsburgh, performer/choreographer Moriah Ella Mason explores attitudes and misconceptions about the industry, and how we perform eroticism and consume intimacy, both in the club and at home.  Through theater and dance, she unpacks the world of sex work: the emotional and economic forces, the movement vocabulary, the masks, and the moments of authentic connection.  A powerful work, at times funny, at times unsettling, providing a unique insider perspective.

From the play: “If you want to be a stripper, you don’t need a resume, which is good…and you don’t need a cover letter, which is even better…”

Mason is joined by collaborating sound artists J.F. Winkles, Eric Weidenhof,  video artist Liz Barentine, and the voices and expertise of other sex workers.

Conceived by and starring Moriah Ella Mason.
Produced by The Off The Wall Charitable Trust

Four  performances only: July 27-29 @ 8:00 Pp.m. and July 30 @ 7 p.m.
For Mature Audiences Only
Tickets: $ 10.00 - $ 20.00

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mama Mia Opens July 28 at Benedum Center for 11 Performance, Eight-Day Run


Over 54 million people around the world have fallen in love with MAMMA MIA! since its Broadway debut in 2001, after which it ran for a staggering 5,758 performances. Now, Pittsburgh CLO will produce this international sensation for the first time, July 28 - August 6 at the Benedum Center.
Tickets are now available by phone at 412-456-6666, online at or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Starring as our super-sleuth Sophie is Broadway and Pittsburgh CLO alum ERIKA HENNINGSEN, who last charmed Pittsburgh CLO audiences as Nellie in SOUTH PACIFIC. The possible papas to her Sophie are MATT BOGART as Sam (Broadway’s Jersey Boys, Aida and Miss Saigon), CHRISTIAN WHELAN as Bill (National Tours of Flashdance, Mamma Mia! and Aida) and RICK NEGRON (Broadway’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Man of La Mancha, The Goodbye Girl) as Harry.

There’s certainly no question who the Mom is…Donna – played by Pittsburgh CLO newcomer SALLY ANN TRIPLETT, who last appeared on Broadway in Finding Neverland, The Last Ship and Carrie. Watch this story unfold with the full complement of ABBA hits: “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Waterloo” and many more!


Matt Bogart (Sam Carmichael) returns to Pittsburgh CLO where he last played Curly in Oklahoma! alongside Shirley Jones. Mr. Bogart’s Broadway credits include Nick Massi in Jersey Boys, Radames in Aida, Chris in Miss Saigon, The Civil War, Smokey Joe’s Café (also filmed for television and DVD) and Lancelot in Camelot (National Tour). Off-Broadway: James Joyce in Himself and Nora in Dublin, Ireland. He has premiered leading roles at La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Goodspeed and Cincinnati Playhouse. He is a proud Affiliated Artist with Arena Stage. His roles there include Val in Orpheus Descending, Lancelot in Camelot (Helen Hayes© Award Nom.), Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees and the upcoming new Georgia Stitt musical, Snow Child. Mr. Bogart has sung solo roles at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and with the Oklahoma City, Philly Pops, Columbus, Wichita and Kentucky Symphony Orchestras. TV credits include HBO’s Vinyl as Robert Goulet, Smash as JFK and Law and Order: SVU. He earned his B.F.A. from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Will Branner (Pepper) was recently seen in October Sky (The Old Globe), Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Jesus Christ Superstar (MTW) and Dogfight (Farmers Alley). Along with acting, Will is an aspiring director. Recent directing credits include John Barrett Salon (Film), Gruesome Playground Injuries and Rock of Ages. B.F.A. University of Michigan.
Michelle Dawson (Tanya) will be returning to Pittsburgh CLO after previously being seen as Rizzo in Grease, Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde and Petra in A Little Night Music. Her Broadway credits include Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (Arachne/Emily/Aunt May s/b), Mamma Mia! (Donna & Rosie u/s), Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), Showboat (Magnolia u/s) and Cyrano: The Musical. National Tours: Mamma Mia! (Donna & Tanya), Seven Brides... (Milly), The Secret Garden and The Music Of ALW. Pre-Broadway: First Wives Club (Elise & Annie u/s). Regional Credits: Evita (Eva) at Pioneer and Man of La Mancha (Aldonza) at WBT among others. TV: Law & Order, All My Children and Tony Awards® 2009 (featured performer). Carnegie Mellon B.F.A.

Lori Hammel (Rosie) was featured in the Broadway production and on the National Tour of Mamma Mia!. Other National Tour credits include 9 to 5 and I Love Lucy Live (Ethel Mertz). Off-Broadway credits include: Forbidden Broadway, I Love You, You’re Perfect…, Unbroken Circle and Bardy Bunch. Lori was the recipient of the NY Fringe Acting Award in 2015. Her Regional credits include The Bikinis (Goodspeed/Long Wharf), Happy Days, Forbidden Hollywood (Jeff/After Dark Award), Little Me (Jeff nomination) and Singin’ in the Rain (Jeff nomination/After Dark Award). TV: 30 Rock, Colbert Report, The Following and Master of None. Film: Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, She's Lost Control and Coney Island Queen (Cannes).

Erika Henningsen (Sophie Sheridan) was last seen at Pittsburgh CLO as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Broadway credits include Les Miserables (Fantine). New York: Show Boat: PBS Live from Lincoln Center with the NY Philharmonic (Kim Ravenal) and Dear World (Nina) starring Tyne Daly at the York Theatre. She originated the role of Beth in the world premiere of Barry Levinson’s Diner at Signature Theater. Other regional credits include Found (Becka, Philadelphia Theater Company) and Hairspray (Penny, Woodminster Amphitheater). Recordings: The Theory Of Relativity. Concerts: 54 Below, Jazz at Lincoln Center. She is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan and recipient of the Alan Eisenberg Actors’ Equity Award.

Beth Stafford Laird (Ali) was last seen playing Katherine in Pittsburgh CLO's Newsies and is returning to the stage for Mamma Mia!. National Tour credits include Newsies (1st Nat’l), Belle u/s in Beauty and the Beast (Internat'l) and Molly U/S in Ghost the Musical (1st Nat'l). Regional Credits: Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat (Anna/White Pigeon), The Little Mermaid (Ariel), Sweeney Todd (Joanna) and NSMT's A Christmas Carol (Meg/Ensemble). Film: Disney’s Newsies Live! (Nun/Bowery Beauty).

Billy Mason (Eddie) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after recently being seen in IN THE HEIGHTS, NEWSIES, THE TOXIC AVENGER, AIDA and SOUTH PACIFIC. Other favorite roles include Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas), Shrek the Musical (Shrek) and Seussical (Horton).
Rick Negron (Harry Bright) made his Pittsburgh CLO debut in IN THE HEIGHTS as Kevin Rosario. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico and received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College. Broadway credits: Leader of the Pack, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Legs Diamond, Man of La Mancha, The Goodbye Girl, Ragtime (L.A.), Mamma Mia! (Las Vegas), Kevin Rosario in In the Heights. National Tours: West Side Story (Action, Riff, Bernardo), Man of La Mancha. Danced in Michael Jackson’s Bad video and Chicago the movie.

Sally Ann Triplett (Donna Sheridan) is joining Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Broadway: Finding Neverland (Mrs. Du Maurier), The Last Ship (Peggy White), Carrie (Sue Snell). West End: Follies (Young Phyllis), Grease (Rizzo), Jolson (Ruby Keeler), Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney and winner of What’s On Stage), Chicago (Roxy), Guys And Dolls (Miss Adelaide), Mamma Mia! (Donna),Viva Forever (Lauren), Cats (Grizabella). International: Life Of The Party with Andrew Lippa, Next To Normal (Diana Goodman with Pangdemonium in Singapore), My Judy Garland Life (nominated for Best Actress for regional UK awards), Damsel In Distress (Chichester Festival). TV: Eastenders, Holby City, Doctors, Down To Earth.

Zurin Villanueva (Lisa) has been seen on Broadway in Shuffle Along and The Book of Mormon. Her regional credits include Ruined (Everyman Theater), Josephine Tonight! (Metrostage), Good News (Goodspeed Opera House), Ain’t Misbehavin' (Crossroads) and Crowns (Arena Stage). She received her B.F.A. from Howard University.

Ryan Vona (Sky) makes his Pittsburgh CLO debut with Mamma Mia! A native of Boston, MA, he has been seen on Broadway as Andrej in Once and this year creating the role of Joey Green for Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour.
Christian Whelan (Bill Austin) returns to Pittsburgh CLO for Mamma Mia! after previously appearing in Oliver! as Bill Sykes. His Broadway/National
Tours credits include: Flashdance, Mamma Mia!, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aida, Ragtime, Little House On The Prairie and Camelot. Off B'way: Ministry of Progress, Trolls and Emerald Man. Regional: The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors,110 In The Shade, Footloose, Johnny Guitar, Pollock, The Miracle Worker, Unsinkable Molly Brown and Working, Utah! Film/TV: Beach Ratz (Sundance Award winner), Nowhere Ever After, Celebrity, TomCats, Angel Town, Blacklist, General Hospital, Guiding Light, All My Children and Delaventura. He received his B.F.A. from University of Southern California.

MAMMA MIA! is completed with a talented ensemble including Sky Bennett, Kellyann Coyle, Lydia Ruth Dawson, Alex Dorf, Hailie Lucille, Cameron Anika Hill, Jessica Ice, Michael James, Cassie Levine, Carina-Kay Louchiey, Javier Manente, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, Kevin Paul, Isaac Cole Powell, Taylor Kellas Warren and Davis Wayne.

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical containing some of ABBA’s greatest hits including “Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes It All.” Worlds collided when Judy Craymer, who would become Mamma Mia! ’s creative producer, was working with Sir Tim Rice and met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson who were collaborating with Rice on their first musical, Chess. Craymer had an idea for a new musical containing ABBA music, but when she pitched it to Ulvaeus and Andersson, they were initially hesitant about the new project. When the duo finally agreed, Mamma Mia! began to pick up speed. Craymer enlisted the help of Catherine Johnson to write the book for the show and requested that Phyllida Llyod join the team as director for their production. Mamma Mia! was on the fast track to becoming a smash hit.

Mamma Mia! opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End on April 6th 1999, which happened to be the be the same day that ABBA had won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” 25 years before. After an incredibly successful five year run in London, Mamma Mia! hit the road and travelled to New York where it played for 12 years and 5,000 performances. Mamma Mia! ended its Broadway run in September of 2015, but not until after being named the 8th longest running show in Broadway history.

The female trifecta did not stop here. In June of 2008, Craymer, Llyod and Johnson teamed up with Universal Pictures to bring Mamma Mia! to the big screen. Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia! quickly made history as one of the highest grossing films of the year.

Performance Schedule for Mamma Mia!

Friday, July 28, 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 29, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 30, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Tuesday, August 2, 8 p.m.
Thursday, August 3, 8 p.m.
Friday, August 4, 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 5, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 6, 2 p.m.

Tickets are available online at, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Tickets start at $25. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call our Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information. Visit for further information.

PSO Offers Free Concert Prior to European Tour

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Manfred Honeck invite the public to a free concert at Heinz Hall on August 19 at 8 p.m. The program will include highlights from the tour repertoire. The Pittsburgh Symphony’s newest disc from Reference Recordings, Shostakovich 5, will be available for the first time at this concert.

The concert will celebrate the orchestra’s departure for its 2017 European Festivals Tour on August 25. The tour will take the orchestra to Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Romania. Highlights include the orchestra and Maestro Honeck performing at the Salzburg Festival together for the first time (the only American orchestra performing there this year) and a return trip to the BBC Proms (where the symphony’s performance is already sold out).

The program includes selections from works the orchestra will perform on the European Festivals Tour —Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Dvorak’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

Tickets to the send-off concert are free, but reservations are required. Call 412-392-4900 to reserve tickets.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to thank and recognize BNY Mellon for its supporting partnership of the Rheingau Music Festival concert in Wiesbaden, Germany. The engagements at the Rheingau Music Festival, Salzburg Festival, BBC proms and Lucerne Festival are supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This tour is made possible, in part, by a gift from Pat and Michele Atkins. International Touring is made possible, in part, by the Hillman Endowment for International Performances.

Heinz Hall

Ludwig Van Beethoven                                      Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92
I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace

Antonin Dvorak                                                   Concerto in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 53
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Adagio, ma non troppo
Mr. Black

Gustav Mahler                                                     Symphony No. 1 in D major
I. Langsam Schleppend


Ludwig Van Beethoven                                      Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92
II. Allegretto

Antonin Dvorak                                                   Concerto in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 53
III. Finale: Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo
Mr. Black

Gustav Mahler                                                     Symphony No. 1 in D major
IV. Stürmisch bewegt

About the Artists

Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. He and the orchestra are consistently recognized for their performances and are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. To great acclaim, they regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna. This successful collaboration has also been extensively documented on recordings. The SACDs released by Reference Recordings, most recently the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in D minor and the Barber Adagio for Strings,  have received numerous rave reviews, as well as two Grammy Award nominations.

Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where earned the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to become music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of operas by Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Poulenc and Wagner. Other operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Royal Opera of Copenhagen and the Salzburg Festival.

As a guest conductor Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.

Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College, Carnegie Mellon University and the Catholic University of America. Most recently, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the Austrian federal president.

Violinist JEREMY BLACK was applauded for his “musical fire” and “effortless technique” by the Chicago Tribune for his debut performance with the Chicago Symphony at age 12, winning first prize in the nationally broadcast 1991 Illinois Bell/WTTW Young Performers Competition. More recently, his “fabulous tone” and “polished, reliable virtuosity” were noted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in his “sensational” solo debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Black has been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's first violin section since 2002 and concertmaster of the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago since 2005. He has also performed as a guest concertmaster with the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and in the violin sections of the Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra.

An avid fan of chamber music, Black performed and recorded the world premiere of Eugene O'Brien's Algebra of Night with the 21st Century Chamber Consort in Washington, D.C.  (CD release expected in 2016), and has performed numerous recitals throughout the Pittsburgh region, including Carnegie Mellon, Chatham and Duquesne universities, West Liberty State College and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Black also has made solo appearances with the Grant Park Orchestra, Pittsburgh Live Chamber Ensemble and in subscription concerts with the Chicago String Ensemble and Evanston Symphony. His other awards include first prizes in the University of Michigan and Case Western Reserve University concerto competitions, the Society of American Musicians Competition, the Nordic Musical Arts Competition and the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.

A native of Evanston, Illinois, Black studied with Mark Zinger, currently professor emeritus at DePaul University and a former student and colleague of David Oistrakh. Black's secondary education began in 1996 at Case Western Reserve University where he studied with Linda Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music. After graduating, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to pursue his master’s degree with Paul Kantor at the University of Michigan.

Black resides in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood with his wife, Kate, and their two sons. He plays a violin made by Lorenzo and Tommaso Carcassi, dated 1783.PSO

Science is Brewing at 21+ Beer Night

Beer is the Focus At Carnegie Science Center on Friday Credit: Courtesy Photo

Drink in the science at Carnegie Science Center’s next no-kids night. Explore the chemistry of beer and enjoy free samples from local breweries on Friday, July 28 from 6 to 10 pm at Science After Dark 21+ Beer.

Free samples of beer from more than 10 local breweries will be on tap at the event. The brewers scheduled to attend include:

Block House Brewery
Penn Brewery
North Country Brewing
Southern Tier Brewery
Couch Brewing
Lavery Brewing
Pilsner Urquell
Fury Brewing Company
Four Seasons Brewery
Copper Kettle Brewing
Samuel Adams
Butler Brew Works
Rusty Gold

Learn about the science of beer with presentations from experts such as Beer Guru Mark Brewer. The Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers (TRASH Homebrewers) as well as Copper Kettle Brewing Company will offer demonstrations and information about the home brewing process and experience.

The Brew Museum will offer a presentation on the history of beer and how the beverage helped push civilization forward. Other tasty treats for guests include information about beer/cheese pairings, samples of different types of jerky, and pretzel necklace crafting.

Visitors will also have the chance to participate in beer-themed science demonstrations and interact with all four floors of Science Center exhibits, while enjoying the music of Mickey and the Snake Oil Boys.

Admission for 21+ Beer is $24 and includes free beer samples and a special souvenir glass.

Proper identification is required, and all guests must show ID at the door.

21+ Nights are sponsored by PPG and Steel City Media.

For more information and to register, visit

Friday, July 21, 2017

Next Week Only: "Miss Julie, Clarissa and John" is Back for Just Three Performances!

Chrystal Bates, Tami Dixon and Kevin Brown in "Miss Julie, Clarissa and John" Credit: Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company's  acclaimed 2016 production of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John will be on tour during the entire month of August, first at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, and then at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland! But first, Pittsburgh has three more chances to see it, July 27th and 28th at 8 PM and July 29th at 5 PM!

Next week only: Miss Julie, Clarissa and John is back for just three performances!
Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company's  acclaimed 2016 production of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John will be on tour during the entire month of August, first at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, and then at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland! But first, Pittsburgh has three more chances to see it, July 27th and 28th at 8 PM and July 29th at 5 PM!

To help raise funds for the tour, the company will present just three performances at the end of July, right here in Pittsburgh, immediately before the show heads to North Carolina. Seating is limited, so buy your tickets now!

For tickets, go to

Monteze Freeland returns to direct the original cast:

These will be full productions, including set and costumes, presented in Bricolage's theatre space (entrance right next to ours). We've very proud of this show, and can't wait to show it off in these national and international venues. So we'd appreciate any donation you can make toward our tour of this show.

More about our original 2016 production:

"A tremendously theatrical event — a celebration of the enormous and unique power of drama and how a brilliant playwright writing at the top of his game can levitate an audience." - Ted Hoover, City Paper

"A riveting reinvention ... an inspired transfer." - Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More about Miss Julie, Clarissa and John...

A Note From Tami Dixon ("Miss Julie")

Dear friend,
Last year I had the privilege of performing in Mark Clayton Southers' new play Miss Julie, Clarissa and John, inspired by Strindberg's classic text Miss Julie. This year we have been given two amazing opportunities to tour this piece to audiences all over the world. First we land at The National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina and then we head to Scotland for The Edinburgh Festival!! I am so excited and honored to be able to tell this incredible story again for new audiences.

Before we head out we are doing three special Pittsburgh performances to get us ready for the road and to raise the last bit of funds we need to make our tour a success. I'm hoping you might consider buying tickets to one of the shows on July 27, 28 or 29, or making a donation (of any size) to our GoFundMe campaign. Your support is important to our success and will be greatly appreciated.

Below are all the details. Thank you for your consideration and I hope to see you at the theatre. It's really a special piece written by a wonderful writer (a native son of the burgh) and I have the honor of playing Miss Julie alongside actors whom I love and respect. The subject matter will get you talking, the performances will get you feeling and the idea that we will represent Pittsburgh to the world will get you fired up!!
Much love and gratitude,

To donate, go to

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Help Bring Wagner's Ring Back to Pittsburgh

Time is Running Out:
Become a Ring Leader!

Thanks to a very generous grant, every donation up to $70,000 made to The Ring Fund during our summer festival season will be matched. This special fund was established to help Pittsburgh Festival Opera bring back its critically acclaimed production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. But this opportunity to have your donation doubled doesn't last forever:

You only have until July 31, 2017 to become a Ring Leader!

In addition to having their donations to the Ring Fund matched, Ring Leaders enjoy these exclusive perks:
Early access to Ring Cycle tickets all four years
Special recognition in Ring Cycle programs and lobby signage
Complimentary tickets (perk available to Ring Leaders donating at the $1,000 level or above)

With your support, we can make the return of the Ring Cycle an even bigger success than when we first staged these grandest of operas over a decade ago.

Make a gift that will make a difference for the next four years: Become a Ring Leader today.
DONATE online at

Donations may be made via mail, phone, or online.
Please email or call Roxy MtJoy at or 412-621-1499 with any questions.

Mark your calendars for the return of Richard Wagner's epic Ring Cycle to  Pittsburgh, beginning next year!
2018 Rhinegold
2019 The Valkyrie
2020 Siegfried
2021 Twilight of the Gods
         and Complete Cycle