At last, our hot and humid dog days of summer are yielding to fall, bringing with it quite an interesting range of offerings for musicals in the Steel City this season. We’ve got a bit of everything from the spectacle of Tommy, The Who’s rock opera, at one end and to the simplicity of The Fantasticks with just piano and harp at the other. Then there a not so normal family in Next to Normal, and a not so normal setting for a musical, the waste dumps of New Jersey for the Toxic Avenger. If you are looking for a more traditional show there is the classic Music Man with its Seventy Six Trombones.
The Pulitzer Prize winning Next To Normal opens at The Theatre Factory in Trafford on September 16th, and runs through October 2nd. This powerful rock musical grapples with a mother’s bipolar disorder in a suburban family. Dad is barely holding himself together, the daughter searches to find her place in the world and the son has a secret. Yes, this show will make you laugh and cry as the family struggles with not being quite normal. In addition to the Pulitzer this show deservedly received Tony’s for best score and orchestrations.
Those of us who are New Jersey transplants will feel right at home with The Toxic Avenger at the CLO Cabaret, September 22nd through December 18th. This rock musical is based upon the movie of the same name. The hero is out to save New Jersey but along the way he falls in love with the town’s blind librarian. (Perhaps she can’t see the town needs to be saved.)
Evan Ruggiero, the one-legged tap dancer, who fought cancer and went onto appear on American Idol, stars in the title role. This laugh out loud musical horror-comedy has something for everyone. It was the winner of the 2009 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. Here in the ‘burgh, you can eat and drink during the show and enjoy “Hot Toxic Love”, “Thank God She’s Blind” and “Evil is Hot”. What could be better than that?
Young love triumphs in The Fantasticks at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, September 29th through October 30th. The Fantasticks is the worlds longest running musical and Ted Papas will bring his own directorial take to this beloved classic. Sophisticated yet simply staged this is the story of two fathers scheming to bring their son and daughter together in this sweet and perfect musical. It features classic songs like “Try to Remember” and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain”. If you are a fan of musical theatre, the legendary Fantasticks has to be on your “must see” list of shows. In New York, the show plays in a very intimate black box type of theatre. It will be interesting to see it performed in a three quarter thrust stage at the O’Reilly. “The Fantasticks is the show that convinced me, 50 years ago, to spend my entire life in the theater. The Public’s new production is my way of saying ‘Thank You’ to all the actors and designers who have blessed me with their talent, imagination, and joy.” says Artistic Director Ted Pappas.
Oakland will rock to The Who’s Tommy at The Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Rockwell Theatre, on October 21st through October 30th. This iconic Tony and Grammy Award winning rock opera tells the story of a special young man from a troubled background who overcomes long odds to triumph. It is a sensory-defying masterpiece of passion and wizardry that features now iconic rock tunes including “Pinball Wizard’, “I’m Free” and “See Me, Feel Me”. Huntington, Of note, West Virginia’s Michael Cerveris received the 1993 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for creating the role of Tommy in the original Broadway production.
The Music Man marches on to Stage 62 in Carnegie, from November 10th through 20th. Head to a simpler time when traveling salesman and con artist Professor Harold Hill convinces the people of River City, Iowa to form a kid’s band to counter the evils of the pool hall. The Professor meets and falls for Marion, the librarian, complicating his scheme. Classics songs “(Ya Got) Trouble”, “Till There Was You” and “Seventy Six Trombones” make for a foot stomping handclapping time with all that brass in this multiple Tony Award winning musical.
From classic show tunes to rock opera there is something for every musical theatre fanatic this fall here in the ‘burgh. Checkout our other fall previews for even more musicals.
One thing this town has got is range!