Thursday, August 16, 2018

Taking a Tour at Homewood Cemetery is Like a Hike in a Park

A Lovely Lane Credit: Bill Rockwell

Serene and pastoral, beautiful and bucolic, who wouldn’t want to be buried here. And think of the august company you’d have - Mellons, Fricks, Buhls, Heinzes, Pitcairns,  Benedums and 78,000 others (or thereabouts), many with much lesser distinguished pedigrees. Not that people are dying to get in! Or are they?

Non-denominational and non-discriminatory, Homewood Cemetery got its start in 1878 in Pittsburgh’s East End. What once was an oak forest was clear cut and replanted for easy maintenance in the Lawn Park style. Two years ago the cemetery earned its arboretum certification following an inventory of trees that now tops the 4,000 mark with 40 different identified species.

To think that I drove past this revered local landmark on Dallas Avenue with nary a glance. It wasn’t until a Pittsburgh Resonance Works concert last year in the cemetery’s lovely stone chapel that I made a cursory acquaintance of the grounds that have largely stayed true to their original style of wooded grassland and rolling, undulating  hills punctuated by monuments, some grand, others modest in design.

Prior to the concert, the indomitable, informed Jennie Benford, director of programming, led the audience on a short walkabout that gave us a taste of what’s there to be seen and, more importantly, what can be learned, on her regular pubic tours held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

A Drizzle Doesn't Dampen the Interest Credit: Bill Rockwell

Recently, I managed to join a dozen or so others on one of Benford’s themed expeditions, an hour and a half long stroll through Section 14, where many of the city’s illustrious have found their ultimate resting places. The focus of her colorful anecdotes lit on the distaff occupants that ran the gamut from Agnes Taylor, the only African-American woman buried in the section, to Elizabeth Rodd, the first woman to wear a WAC uniform in World War Two, to the uber-wealthy, Elizabeth Pitcairn, wife of railroad magnate, Robert Pitcairn.

Taylor operated a tourist home in Pittsburgh’s Hill District at a time when African-Americans often had a difficult time finding overnight lodging in the Jim Crow era. As an aid to travel, a guide called the Greene Book identified places where they were accepted and could put up for the night. Taylor’s home was one of them. In her researches, Benford discovered that Nat King Cole stayed at the Taylor establishment on several occasions, which indicated the high caliber  of her domicile.

Taylor also worked for the rather eccentric Robert Woods, a doctor who designed his own headstone, wrote his own death notice (a negative one), had his house torn down after his death and offered to pay the burial expenses of two women who worked for him, provided they eschewed a tombstone. Taylor was the only one who took him up on his offer and lies next to her benefactor in an anonymous grave.

The Pitcairn Crypt Credit: Bill Rockwell
Not so for Elizabeth Pitcairn, who lies in a stately mausoleum with her husband, Robert. A native of Altoona, Elizabeth lived the high life after she married. When President McKinley came to town, for instance, the Pitcairns organized a 8-course luncheon for 90-some gentlemen in the dining room while Elizabeth lunched with the same number of women elsewhere in their massive house located on the corner of Ellsworth and Amberson avenues.

As a widow, she was quite politically active and a member of the Allegheny County Equal Franchise Federation, which labored to get women the vote. In 1914, she organized a 3-day fete fundraiser for her favorite cause and later moved to Florida where she continued her love affair with the automobile by amassing a large collection.

Other interesting stops on the "Audacious Pioneers: The Women of Section 14" tour include narratives about a world famous opera singer, a palm reading countess from Coshocton, Ohio and a Pittsburgh socialite who may have (or not) changed the line of succession to England’s royal family.

Besides Benford’s interesting tales, the tour stimulates an interest in mortuary architecture, with its many and varied styles. One of the most interesting monuments is a pyramidal crypt, one of the cemetery’s most salient.

The Brown Mausoleum Credit: Bill Rockwell

The landmark mausoleum holds the remains of William Harry Brown, vice-president of Marine National Bank and director of the Union Trust Company. His wife, Margaret Boyle Brown, is the one rumored to have altered (or not) the course of English history. But I prefer that Benford tell her tale as she’s much more informed on the matter than I.

“Audacious Pioneers,” is offered  Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1 pm or, on other days and times, by appointment.  Reservations are required and can be made at 412-421-1822.  The tour is $10 per person, all proceeds benefitting The Homewood Cemetery Historical Fund.

Disney's ALADDIN - $25 Lucky Seat Drawing

 Your wish is granted! A limited number of tickets for all performances of ALADDIN will be sold to winners of a random drawing for $25 each.

You can enter for the opportunity to purchase $25 tickets* and choose which performances fit your schedule. You can only win once, so choose only the performances you can attend. For weekday performances, entries will be accepted until 1:00 pm on the day before the relevant performance. Entries for Saturday and Sunday performances will be accepted until 1:00 pm on the immediately preceding Thursday. 

All entrants will be notified of results by e-mail, and winners will be given a link with a special code to complete their purchase. 

 Enter Now!

Questions? Email 


*Limited to 4 tickets per winner. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years or older to enter. For complete set of Lottery Terms & Conditions, please CLICK HERE

Offer not valid on prior purchased tickets and may not be combined with any other offer. Dates, times, and cast subject to change without notice. Offer may be revoked without notice. All prices include $3.50 facility fee and $0.75 Theater District fee.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Priority Ticket Offer

The Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series presents captivating, professional theater specifically for families and children ages 3+. Spend time together laughing, traveling to distant worlds, revisiting favorite storybook characters, and more all in a way that easily fits into your schedule with performances at the Byham Theater and around the region in a suburban venue near you!

NOV 9 & 10, 2018

JAN 6–14, 2019

FEB 17–24, 2019

MAR 31–APR 7, 2019

MAY 16–19, 2019

Select single tickets for your favorite show and fall in love with
the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series.

Enter promo code ALIEN to purchase tickets before 
they go on sale to the public on Friday, August 17 at 9 am.

To Purchase Tickets:
Online at
Call 412-456-6666
Box Office at Theater Square
Groups 10+ Call 412-471-6930

*Emily Brown and the Thing will be part of the EQT Children’s Theater Festival and tickets to this production are automatically included in season tickets for the 2018-2019 season. Single tickets for Emily Brown and the Thing will go on sale in February 2019 with the full festival announcement.

Registration Opens for Carnegie Science Center's Tour Your Future

Registration is open for the fall semester of Tour Your Future, Carnegie Science Center’s program that introduces girls ages 11-17 to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, through visits to local workplaces and universities. 

Eighteen tour sites are on the schedule from September through December. Each tour includes opportunities for girls to meet female STEM professionals and do a hands-on activity.  

In September, tours are offered at Allegheny General Hospital, ModCloth, the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Covestro, and the Allegheny County Health Department. October tours will take girls to the University of Pittsburgh Department of Biological Sciences; Robomatter Inc.; Prototype PGH; Microsoft; Mecco Partners, LLC; ALung Technologies; and Braskem. 

November’s sites are Carnegie Mellon University’s Hinman Lab, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Michael Baker International, and Duquesne University’s Forensic Science and Law Program. The semester concludes with visits to the University of Pittsburgh Department of Human Genetics and the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy in December. 

Girls may register as individuals or participate as part of a group. The cost is $5 per girl. Girls must have transportation to and from the tour site. For the tour schedule and details about each visit, go to To register, call Carnegie Science Center at 412-237-3400.

Tour Your Future is a program of Carnegie STEM Girls, presented by NOVA Chemicals. Carnegie STEM Girls is a program of the Duquesne Light Co. Center for STEM Education and Career Development.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hatch Chiles Are Back at Mad Mex

This year's shipment of Hatch chiles has just rolled into the Mad Mex kitchens fresh from Hatch, New Mexico, and they're roasting them up for our foursome of flavorful dishes:

Breaded Hatch Peppers stuffed with grilled mole chicken
Grilled Chicken Burritos and Enchiladas with flame roasted Hatch peppers
Crab Quesadillas with a Hatch pepper upgrade
Plus, Chile Martinis with Hatch-infused Herradura tequila.

If you've never tried Hatch Chiles, you're in for a treat. They're similar to Anaheim peppers, but pack in the heat of New Mexico summers and rich flavors from the Mesilla Valley terroir. These special items only last as long as the fresh supply of Hatch peppers.

Coming Up At The New Hazlett Theater

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens
Presented by Front Porch Theatricals
Aug 17-26  |  8 PM evening performances; 2 PM Sunday matinees
Grey Gardens is a frequently funny, tragic and utterly unforgettable musical about two “staunch” and legendary American women – Edith Bouvier Beale, and her grown daughter, Edie.

Not since Mama Rose and Gypsy has there been a mother/daughter act as hilarious, as heartbreaking and as utterly unforgettable as Edith and Edie Beale — Jackie Kennedy's most outrageous relatives — in Broadway's acclaimed musical smash Grey Gardens. From the grandeur of an East Hampton high society party in 1941 to the sensational tabloid headlines that rocked the Kennedy clan in 1973, Grey Gardens is scandalously entertaining and a witty and passionate ride. Step into the world of Grey Gardens and see the other side of Camelot. Nominated for 10 Tony Awards!


August Wilson's HOW I LEARNED WHAT I LEARNED Co-conceived by Todd Kreidler Starring Wali JamaI 

Wali Jamal is the ONLY ACTOR ON EARTH to have performed in ALL TEN PLAYS in the TEN PLAY AMERICAN CENTURY CYCLE PLUS THIS MUST SEE ONE MAN SHOW!!!! Don't miss this engaging performance of a lifetime at the NEW HAZLETT THEATER!!

Presented by Ever Foward Productions
Aug 30 - Sep 1
How I Learned is an autobiographical play by Pittsburgh’s own August Wilson. This solo show allows us a look into the life of one of the most celebrated playwrights of the twentieth century.
Close out August 2018 WITH AUGUST WILSON

Thursday August 30, 8pm, Friday OPENING NIGHT August 31, and September 1 2018 3pm Matinee 8pm Closing

Thurs 8/30/2018 8pm-Fri 8pm-Sat 3pm - 8pm


We're Hiring!

Financial & Business Manager
The Finance/Business Manager actively supports operations in the areas of financial administration, budgeting, contract design and maintenance, human resources administration, and staff training.


Development Manager
Passionate about arts in your community? We’re looking for someone like you. Our Development Manager is a brand new position, created to help us substantially grow the New Hazlett Theater’s budget.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Registration Now Open for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School

Students from 18 months to 16 years of age can now register for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School's 2018-2019 program offerings, including ballet, jazz and character classes!

Classes begin September 4, 2018. Class sizes are limited; Register today!


Grown-up & Me | Pre-ballet | Ballet Foundations

Expose your child to the joy, expression and discipline of ballet. As they explore the foundations of dance, students exercise both their bodies and imaginations under the guidance of instructors who specialize in early childhoodeducation.


Ballet | Pre-pointe | Character | Jazz

Emphasis is on the enjoyment of dance while reinforcing the discipline of classical ballet. New students are required to receive level placement. Performance opportunities may include a spring performance at the Byham Theater, The Nutcracker on the Benedum stage with the PBT Company and more!


Ballet | Pointe | Contemporary

Coming soon! PBT School's Community Division is set to include Youth Dance as a part of its programming this fall. Drop-in to enhance your ballet technique and supplement your skills! Classes will give students a technical foundation of ballet and contemporary on a rolling basis.