Winter Preview 2017

5A letter from the Editor:

Our dearest readers,

Winter is only 24 days away and we’re already dashing through Christmas decorations and Cyber Monday sales as 2108 creeps up on us. 2017 has gone fast and we at Pittsburgh in the Round are picking up speed too! So far this year alone we’ve reviewed 151 plays and written 84 feature articles, blowing last year’s statistics out of the water! Even though some of our long-time writers have moved on to greener pastures, our team has ballooned up to 17 regular contributors bringing you the most consistent coverage that we can. We even have our first high school intern!

Beyond this preview, we’ll be bringing you some insights on Ted Pappas’s final shows at the Pittsburgh Public, the Pittsburgh Opera’s World Premiere Ashes and Snow, and a few tips on theatre etiquette from some of the pros. We will also continue to introduce you to the people that make up Pittsburgh’s vibrant theater community through our Artist Spotlight series.

2017 has been a very big year for us and 2018 will be even bigger as Pittsburgh’s theatre community continues to grow with us. We want to thank those of you that have and continue to support us through your engagement with us and simply being readers. Most importantly, we want to thank you for supporting local theaters and companies and helping the arts grow and thrive in Pittsburgh. Remember, if you would like to sponsor us or purchase advertisements on the site, contact info@pghintheround.com.

We would love to hear from our readers and follow along with your theater adventures so keep in touch with us on our FacebookTwitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #WinterwithPITR. To stay up to date on everything we’re getting into, click here to join our email list! Weekly updates straight to your inbox every Thursday.

Happy holidays from all of us here at Pittsburgh in the Round, now get out there and enjoy some theater!

Mara E. Nadolski


Let’s start off with the Top 5 shows we’re looking forward to this winter:

KINETIC-LOVE-LARGE-SQUARE-1#5 – Love, Love, Love by Kinetic Theatre:  Produced in association with Cockroach Theatre in Las Vegas, we follow a London couple from the summer of love in 1967 through the peaks and inevitable downfall of their relationship through present day. Playwright, and Olivier Award winner Mike Bartlett forces us to think about the baby boomer generation and its effect on our current state of life. Love, Love, Love starts previews November 30 and runs through December 17. For tickets and more information, click here

CT1712_AbsoluteBrightness_573x437 (1)#4 – The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by City Theatre: Known for their commitment to producing new plays, City Theatre stays true to their mission with The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. In this one-man show by Academy Award winner James Lecesne, a teenaged Leonard Pelkey goes missing and it’s up to one detective and a team of the town’s citizens to find out what happened to him. Inspired by Leonard’s absence, the locals start to question everything about their lives and realize that it’s okay to be different. Catch this heartwarming comedy at City Theatre starting January 20 through February 18. For tickets and more information, click here.

heat-of-the-night-IMG_7327-300x216 (1)#3 – In the Heat of the Night by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company: From a book to a movie to a TV series in the 60’s, In the Heat of the Night finally makes its way to the stage at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre. First produced in 2010, the story follows that of the original novel and subsequent adaptations. Virgil Tibbs, a detective from California, is arrested and wrongly accused of a murder of a white man in 1962 Alabama but slowly becomes the town’s only hope of solving such a brutal homicide. In the Heat of the Night runs at Pittsburgh Playwrights’ downtown space from February 2 through March 11. For tickets and more information, click here.

Screenshot (22)#2 – Inside Passage by Quantum Theatre: Gab Cody has been a staple in the Pittsburgh playwrighting community for years. After producing her play Fat Beckett with Quantum during their 2011-2012 season she’s back with a more personal story. Cody was born in Juneau, Alaska. When she was five her parents divorced causing her to move back to the east coast with her mother, leaving behind three siblings and two Tlinget Indian foster siblings. In this mash up of documentary film, music, and performance, Cody goes on an adventure to reconnect with her long-lost foster siblings. Inside Passage opens at a yet to be determined location March 2. For tickets and more information, click here

2017Mast-EvilDead#1 – Evil Dead the Musical by Pittsburgh Musical Theater: First in their new “After Hours” series, Pittsburgh Musical Theater heads to the West End for their Pro Series in the Gargaro Theater. Based on the 1980’s movie franchise of the same name, five college students, led by our hero Ash Williams, head to a cabin in the woods for Spring Break. After some light basement exploration, they find the Book of the Dead and accidentally unleash a spirit that slowly turns them all into demons! Running in repertory with PMT’s We Will Rock You, Evil Dead runs weekends starting February 2. The show starts at 10:30pm so make sure you find a babysitter because this production is definitely not recommended for children. For tickets and more information click here.

For more on the musicals coming up this season, check out George’s list of the 5 Musicals You Don’t Want to Miss This Winter!

Christmas is coming soon and you know what that means? Christmas shows! Read up on this season’s offerings in Brian’s article here. 

Pittsburgh’s theatre community is constantly growing and morphing. A few new theaters have popped up recently and we got some insider info for you! Check out Eva’s talks with the Glitterbox in North Oakland and Meredith’s interview with Aftershock Theatre in Lawrenceville.

We broke some pretty big records this Fall! In case you missed out on any of our adventures, here are some highlights from the last three months:

Six a Breast: The Absurd Life of Women by Corningworks

Henry V by Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks

Boeing, Boeing at the Apple Hill Playhouse

Some Assembly Required by Attack Theatre

Angelmakers: Songs for Female Serial Killers by Real/Time Interventions

Belfast Girls by the Ghostlight Theatre Troupe

Romeo and Juliet by PICT Classic Theatre

Unhinged  by Cup-A-Jo Productions

HMS Pinafore by the Pittsburgh Savoyards

Equus at the Pittsburgh Public Theater

I Won’t Be in on Monday by off the WALL Productions

The Impresaria and Djamileh by Undercroft Opera

Arsenic and Old Lace at the McKeesport Little Theater

The Busy Body  by the Duquesne Red Masquers

All Quiet on the Western Front by Prime Stage

The Marriage of Figaro at the Pittsburgh Opera

Fringe Day 2: Beautiful Cadavers, LA Acting Coaches, and Cinderella Stories

chloe 2Prior to attending the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Nonetheless, I was sure intrigued to find out, especially seeing the words, “experimental performance art,” pop up so often in my online search for the weekend long event. The first show I attended was Northsoutheastwest. Developed through the “exquisite corpse model” by the Beautiful Cadaver Project, this piece was written by six different playwrights who aimed to explore their personal experiences, their relationships with Pittsburgh, and how the two intersect. The playwrights did not know how exactly their co-artists were going about the process during the writing process, but from what I saw, they drew it all together, quite beautifully, into one cohesive and fully developed show.

While focusing on the various stories of each different character, a complex story line was maintained. The plot that unfolded was not only relatable on a Pittsburgh level, but also on a very personal level. Being from Pittsburgh myself, I was able to picture all of the places mentioned and all the good-spirited jokes about “yinzers” warmed my heart in a special place. These Pittsburgh references created vivid imagery in my mind, which added immensely to my engagement in the performance. I felt myself nodding my head in agreement to most all the commentary about Pittsburgh’s rapid transformation into “the most livable city,” and how that affects those of us who grew up in “the Steel City.” Whether familiar with Pittsburgh or not, the personal experiences of love, friendship, change, anger, and loss were executed on stage with passion and commitment. This was the perfect opening to my Pittsburgh Fringe festival experience!

After a little gap in the afternoon, I headed back to see It’s Who You Know at the YMRC. This was a drastically different type of show than what I had seen earlier, which, by the way, was one of my favorite aspects of the Fringe Festival; so much variety!!! Chambers Stevens, a successful acting coach from Los Angeles, created this one man show around the ancient art of storytelling. Initially sharing a vibrant recollection of his family and how their tales inspired his fascination with storytelling, Chambers captivated me right away by granting us audience members a window into his own life. As the show went on, he would pull a celebrity’s name out of a box and proceed to share the story of his personal experience with them. Living in LA for 25 years, he had met some pretty amazing characters, from Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal to Micky Rooney. His exuberant energy and joyful expression were apparent right off the bat. I swear I didn’t stop laughing until I left.

What I think made his breaking of the fourth wall so successful, beyond the humor, was that he wasn’t merely telling us about celebrity’s and how cool it was to meet them— he was really telling us about himself and his life in the theater industry. By centering his stories around various celebrities, Chambers held the attention of the audience, not to mention he kept the laughs coming. Imagining any celebrity in a personal, normal-person, real-life setting as opposed to the typical stardom we associate them with is sort of bizarre, and definitely captivating. But the person I found myself really wanting to find out more about was Chambers, himself and how he kept these experiences with him—how he maybe let these interactions influence his life.  I found it inspiring, as a performer myself, to be told stories by a successful and talented, but also humble and relatable man.

Soon after It’s Who You Know ended, I settled in to see Four Voices… One Story from Moquette Volante, a beautiful intertwining of four different culture’s versions of the story known to us here in the U.S. as Cinderella. I found myself captivated not only by their story telling out loud, but also their story telling through movement. Specifically, the actress who told the Indian version of Cinderella, utilized such grace and beauty in adding traditional Indian movement to the words she was speaking. The juxtaposition between the simplicity of telling a story, blended with the more complex idea of how the world’s separate cultures culminate in so many ways, created a message that stuck with me. This performance exemplified the utter importance of realizing and embracing the distinctions and differences of every culture, while still being able to see how we all unite as human beings.

Write for Pittsburgh in the Round!

12188054_536337963185234_8033373135834798401_o

12188054_536337963185234_8033373135834798401_oPittsburgh in the Round is rapidly expanding and we’re looking for a few reviewers and feature writers to add to our team.

As you probably know, we write reviews every week, post feature articles about specific events in the community, maintain an extensive event calendar and keep a directory of all companies and venues in town. We are also the official reviewers of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.

Ideal candidates have an extensive background in creative/nonfiction writing with a strong interest and knowledge of theater and dance. We provide all reviewers with complimentary press tickets to shows they review. Flexible schedules are a must but you can always write as little or as much as you’d like! We do a little bit of traveling so it’s also a plus if you have a vehicle!

If interested, please email us at info@pghintheround and tell us why you’d like to write about Pittsburgh theater! Please also include a few writing samples.