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Five Essential March Events in Pittsburgh

Cutthroat comedy, Celtic classics, Cersei couture and other March outings.

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I’m getting to this post late. I am aware of the fact that it is March 7.

Fortunately, it’s an easy task to find worthy events, shows and happenings (man I wish that word would come back) in the Pittsburgh area even when considering just three-quarters of a month. Or a week. Or a weekend. Or a day. Want to hear about the five best events happening in Pittsburgh within an hour of another on an arbitrary night? Call me. I’ll tell you.

(Disclaimer: Do not actually call me and ask for this.)

Pittsburgh (and its surrounding areas; before you point it out, yes, this month’s roundup contains one Greensburg event) is a Goldilocks city: Not so big that you have perennial FOMO, not so small that you can ever possibly exhaust the opportunities before you. If you can’t find something great to do, you’re not looking hard enough.

Comedy Royale Improv Madness
Arcade Comedy Theater,
March 9, 16, 22 and 30
March is the time when everything that can conceivably become a tournament does so, usually with the word “madness” attached. Improv comedy is no exception. Comedy Royale is a regular show at Arcade, featuring a quartet of top local talent shuffled in and out of scenes and games in pursuit of points. The March remix is a 16-improviser battle for supremacy; four performers head off each Friday night, with the winners advancing to the March 30 championship. Expect an upset! After all, winning is less a matter of skill than it is a grey goo of timing, luck and mayhem.

“The Quiet Man” Screening
Chartiers Valley Stadium 18,
March 11
The multiplex in Bridgeville can be overlooked by Pittsburgh moviegoers, but it’s only a 20-minute drive from Downtown — and it boasts a well-kept secret in its Sunday repertory series. Grab a drink at the in-house bar and enjoy a classic showing; this week, the selection is the John Ford classic “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne as an Irish-American (from Pittsburgh, by the way,) who heads back to his homeland. The vivid, Technicolor romance won a pair of Oscars and will serve as a nice warm-up for St. Patrick’s Day. Speaking of which ...

Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Downtown, March 17
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been an annual Downtown tradition since time immemorial, and I am almost using that phrase literally: We don’t know exactly when the first parade was held, with records of St. Patrick’s processions dating back to 1869. Its charms — Celtic pride, smiling and waving faces, traditional Irish music — are perennial and largely unchanging (although its primary drawback, the bad behavior of the collegiate set, is distinctly modern). This year’s parade bears special significance, as it honors the life and legacy of Pittsburgh’s preeminent Irishman, the late Dan Rooney.

“A Song of Thrones” Fashion Show
Pittsburgh Opera,
March 19
I’m not sure how much “Game of Thrones” has soaked into the world of fashion, but given the show’s omnipresence, I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone has gone after Queen Cersei Chic. I’m reasonably confident, however, that this is the first local blending of George R. R. Martin’s saga, live opera performance and haute couture. The Pittsburgh Opera’s Strip District headquarters will host the “Song of Thrones” fashion show as a benefit for the Opera; the evening will include music and costumes from recent Opera productions.

“Weird Al” Yankovic
Palace Theatre, March 24
Another “Weird Al” renaissance — the fourth, by my count — is in full swing, with the master of parody and pop humor having topped the Billboard charts for the first time with 2014’s “Mandatory Fun.” Perhaps owing to that resurgence of popularity, the accomplished musician launched what he’s calling “The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour,” a stripped-down concert with a setlist of deep-cut original songs rather than his more famous parodies. Longtime Al fans — of which there are many — are sure to be pleased. Comedian Emo Philips, himself an icon, will open the show.

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