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Pittsburgh's Best Cultural Events in February

Check out some of the finest musicals, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.




photo via pittsburgh musical theater

 


by Elvira DiPaolo-Hoff

Feb. 11-21/ Disco fans of all ages will delight in Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Saturday Night Fever, adapted by Robert Stigwood from the classic 1977 film starring John Travolta and written by David Abbinanti and Sean Cercone. Young Brooklynite Tony Manero yearns for much better circumstances than living at home with his parents, working in a dead-end job and hanging out with friends headed nowhere. It’s a different story on the weekends, when Tony lights up the dance floor at the local discotheque. Nearly every song is a recognizable Bee Gees mega-hit including additions for the musical adaptation such as “Tragedy” and “What Kind of Fool.” Expect some edits to make the show appropriate for ages 13 and up. (Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown; 412/456-6666, pittsburghmusicals.com)

THROUGH Feb. 14/ Quantum Artistic Director Karla Boos continues her 25th anniversary season with a nod to one of her favorite playwrights — Scottish scribe David Harrower — as she directs the American premiere of his one-woman tour-de-force, Ciara, starring celebrated Pittsburgh actress Mary Rawson. Living in a Glasgow mansion, Ciara is the “benefactor” of her crime-lord father’s ill-gotten gains and also is married to his self-appointed heir. While she operates an art gallery that caters to Glasgow’s jet-set, Ciara struggles with the contradictions in her life and is haunted by a painting of a giantess that appears to be sleeping behind the city. As an added attraction, the set features original paintings made expressly for the production by renowned Pittsburgh artist Robert Qualters. (Javo Studios, 5137 Holmes St., Lawrenceville; 412/362-1713, quantumtheatre.com)

THROUGH Feb. 28/ With a score by Broadway legend Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, the beloved classic Guys & Dolls is widely considered to be among the greatest American musicals of all time. Nathan Detroit runs the oldest floating crap game in 1950s New York City but his long-patient fiancée, Adelaide, is getting antsy for him to go legit and tie the knot. Instead, Nathan bets big bucks that fellow gambler Sky Masterson won’t be able to sweet-talk the virtuous Sarah — a mission worker looking for souls to save — into going on a date. Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama grad Charlie Brady charms as Sky opposite Kimberly Doreen Burns (star of the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s “Camelot” and “My Fair Lady”) as Sarah in this PPT production directed and choreographed by PPT Producing Artistic Director Ted Pappas. (O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/316-1600, ppt.org)
 


“Renée. Biarritz, August 1930” by Jacques Henri Lartigue

 


By Mike May
 

Feb. 6-May 15/ Two silver spoons; two different continents. Just as Pittsburgh’s Helen Clay Frick was born into a wealthy, privileged and cultured family, so was Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), a contemporary of hers in France. The difference was: Lartigue developed a singular passion at an early age, taking photos beginning at age 6 and receiving his own camera at 8. That jump-started a lifelong drive for documenting his world. (Imagine the visual legacy we’d have if Miss Frick had developed a parallel interest.)

Except for that small detail, the Frick Art Museum seems the picture-perfect venue for Fast Cars and Femmes Fatales: The Photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue. Although the show includes those two sexy categories, it also features not-so-fast cars and not-so-fast women. Furthermore you’ll find fast men — including Olympians and three guys ice skating merrily on a frozen Alpine lake — the leisure of boulevard strolls and Biarritz beaches, planes in flight, portraits of celebrities such as Picasso and much more.

Also look for photos of the Frick family at play — snow sports, picnics, tennis games — providing an American counterpoint to the society Lartigue portrayed. Speaking of fast cars (or simply cars in general): While you’re at the Frick, don’t miss a visit to the newly reopened and expanded Car and Carriage Museum. (Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze; 412/371-0600, thefrickpittsburgh.org)
 


Peter Coffin, “Untitled (Ribbon Rack),” 2012 

 

Through Feb. 28/ You don’t have to be a Carnegie Mellon University graduate to attend this reunion of alumni who have been brought together for Maximum Minimum In Unum. Curators Joshua Reiman and Susanne Slavick have assembled a group whose means of creative expression take the form of painting, sculpture, video, installation and performance. Look for such visual allures as a kaleidoscopic animation of world currencies, glass blown into a hollow tree trunk, paper pulp cast into a city alley, a performance involving skin cream and more. (Miller Gallery, Purnell Center for the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/268-3618, millergallery.cfa.cmu.edu)
 


photo by LOIS GREENFIELD

 


by Karen Dacko

Feb. 26/ Percussive rhythms take center stage in An Evening with Savion Glover and Jack DeJohnette. Award-winning tap dancer, actor and choreographer Glover shares a two-show concert with composer and drummer extraordinaire DeJohnette. Glover (pictured) is known for his unique, free-style, hard-core hoofing technique, while DeJohnette is an iconic figure in the fusion era of jazz. (Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, 1815 Metropolitan St., Manchester; 412/322-0800, mcgjazz.org)

Feb. 5-14, 25-28/ On the boards at Conservatory Dance Company is the premiere of The Five, a choreographic collaboration between Point Park University faculty members Kiesha Lalama and Rubén Graciani that explores how the five senses influence difficult choices. The troupe’s black-box showcase features ballet, jazz and contemporary works. (Five: Rockwell Theater, Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland; showcase: George Rowland White Performance Studio, 201 Wood St., Downtown; 412/392-8000, pittsburghplayhouse.com)

Feb. 12-21/ A boy who can fly and a scene-stealing fairy highlight choreographer Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan (2006), a two-act story ballet adapted from the tales of Scottish novelist J.M. Barrie. Music by English composers (including Sirs Benjamin Britten and Edward Elgar) accompanies the nocturnal adventures of the Darling children from their London home to the island of Neverland in this Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre production. (Benedum Center, 237 Seventh St., Downtown; 412/456-6666, pbt.org)
 

 

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