Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two Theater Openings This Weekend Worth a Look

Linda Haston in "Mother Lode" Photo Credit: off the Wall Theater
    The Pittsburgh region is theater rich with a multitude of  options that include everything from big Broadway productions to smaller theatrical venues. Two plays opening this weekend highlight the wealth of talent in the region and are worthy of consideration for an evening of class act entertainment
    In Carnegie, off the WALL Productions begins the new year with an in-repertory production of the World Premiere of Mother Lode by Artistic Director Virginia Wall Gruenert (Shaken & Stirred, Without Ruth).  The often contentious relationships between mothers and daughters will no doubt keep therapists in business for years to come, but there is no denying the deep bond that exists between them.
Mother Lode tells the story of Pittsburgh actor Linda Haston’s mother, Ruth, a force of nature who leaves Jim Crow Alabama as a teen to work and raise her family in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. This one-woman show deals with the end-of-life decisions that must be made by dutiful daughters, as well as the discord, conciliation, warfare, and ultimate acceptance between strong, independent women bound by love and family.  Directed by Virginia Wall Gruenert and Spencer Whale.
 Four performances only: Runs Jan 28-31, 2016.  Encore performances to follow in June and August, 2016.
 Written by Virginia Wall Gruenert and starring Linda Haston
 Performance dates: January 28-30 @ 8:00 PM.  Matinee: January 31 @ 3pm
Tickets: $ 5.00 - $ 40.00.

Cast of Split Stage's "Assassins"

Sondheim's "Assassins" Hits the Mark at Split Stage
    This month Split Stage Productions stages its most provocative production to date – "Assassins" – a musical about the nine individuals who have gone down in infamy. "Assassins" runs at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center, 951 Old Salem Road, for five shows Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 4-6. All shows start at 8 p.m.
    Claiming one of the most controversial scripts ever written, the antiheroes of the Tony Award-winning "Assassins" are the nine individuals who have assassinated, or tried to assassinate, the president of the United States. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, "Assassins" plucks them from the shadows and thrusts them into the spotlight.
    As it explores the dark side of the American experience, this theatrical tour de force approaches sensitive subject matter with bold originality. The story is disturbing, yet disarmingly funny, bending the rules of time and space to travel between time periods and place the assassins face-to-face. Photos and video clips lace the historic fiction with real snapshots from history. A six-piece orchestra of local musicians will bring to life Stephen Sondeim’s striking score.
    "These are naturally fascinating, albeit disturbed, individuals – people who changed history with acts that are unfathomable to most Americans," said Split Stage co-founder Rob Jessup, who plays John Wilkes Booth. "You won’t see their perspective in history books; this show takes the opportunity to dive into their psyches."
    With direction, staging and scenic design by Delmont resident Laura Wurzell, Split Stage’s "Assassins" features a cast of 15, ranging in age from 11 to 50. The show features musical direction by Aaron Gray, a St. Vincent College graduate and Latrobe resident, lighting design by Mike Pilyih, of White Oak, and multimedia elements by Bill Jacka, of Oakmont. Playing the assassins are:
John Wilkes Booth - Rob Jessup of Murrysville
Leon Czolgosz - Ryan Hadbavny of Forrest Hills
Giuseppe Zangara - Adam Grossett of Greensburg
John Hinkley - Bill Elder of Greensburg
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme - Katie Kerr of Delmont
Sara Jane Moore - Renee Rabenold of Pittsburgh
Charles Guiteau - Ben Wren of Irwin
    Tickets are $19.99. Phone 1-888-71-TICKETS.

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