March: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

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




POSTER Courtesy John Fries
 

March 3-12/ Prime Stage Theatre’s 1984, based on the novel by George Orwell, takes audiences away to a fictional land where freedom of thought and press are taken away by a government that has implemented surveillance on its people. Winston, the story’s main character, begins illegally writing in a journal; the story evolves from there. Richard Blair, Orwell’s son, will take part in events at the theater throughout the week and be involved in discussions and a book-signing related to his father’s work on March 4 at Barnes & Noble in Cranberry Township. (New Hazlett Theater Center for Performing Arts, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; 724/773-0700, primestage.com)
 


PHOTO Courtesy david bachman photography
 

March 25-April 2/ Turandot will grace the stage at the Benedum Center with Alexandra Loutsion, a former Pittsburgh Opera resident artist and Canonsburg native, playing the title character. Set in ancient China, the classic tale focuses on a princess with a heart of ice and a reign of terror. The story allows for an elaborate set and attention-grabbing costumes. The opera will collaborate with Attack Theatre, whose dancers will appear on stage, and Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, which also will sing. (Benedum Center, 237 Seventh St., Downtown; 412/456-6666, pittsburghopera.org)

March 23-April 8/ PICT Classic Theatre unleashes Oedipus Rex, the Greek tragedy by Sophocles. The tale, a world premiere adapted and directed by Alan Stanford, tells the story of murder and terrible self-discovery. King Oedipus learns from a prophet that Thebes is under a plague as punishment for the previous king’s murder — and that the killer must be found. A few oracles, seers and a domestic dispute later, the queen is dead and Oedipus is blind and exiled — all because of fate. (Union Project, 801 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park; 412/561-6000, picttheatre.org)
 


photo courtesy Jean-Baptiste Mondino/CMOA
 

THROUGH MAY 1/ Iris van Herpen takes couture not just to another level but to another cosmos. She accelerates fashion-forward toward the speed of light with concepts that are wildly technological, ethereally theoretical and — ironically — radically traditional. Ready for the runway at Carnegie Museum of Art are design visions from 15 collections of this Dutch artist/couturiere (born 1984) in “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion,” co-organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. For recent Paris fashion events, she presented one dress stitched from 5,000 3-D printed elements and another resembling wet skin caressed in dew drops, thanks to tens of thousands of silicone-coated Swarovski crystals. Despite Pittsburgh’s somewhat distant orbit from the white heat of haute couture, this show and its contents complement several of the city’s significant strengths: high-tech, robotics, neuroscience and innovation. Nostalgia for our industrial days might be coaxed from the “Refinery Smoke” dress, a marriage of untreated woven-metal gauze and leather. (Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-3131, cmoa.org)
 

THROUGH MAY 21/ Fashion, textiles, body ornaments and hair designs inform the paintings and drawings of Firelei Báez and the show “Bloodlines” at The Andy Warhol Museum. This isn’t exactly a fashion show, although her work is labor-intensive and richly colorful. Through her art, Báez — born in the Dominican Republic and now living in the United States— explores the history of social movements, examines issues of race and gender, and promotes understanding of dispersed groups. (The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Shore; 412/237-8300, warhol.org)

THROUGH MARCH 17/ Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) might have been counter-revolutionary in the art world of his time, but he wasn’t a reactionary. During the 1950s and ’60s, he eschewed the vogue for abstraction but re-invigorated figurative art with an expressionist style and revived forgotten printmaking techniques, giving them new life. “Unlikely Heroes: Selected Prints by Leonard Baskin” showcases his legacy with 40 woodcuts, etchings and lithographs from the SAMA collection. Meet figures from the Old Testament and American literary classics such as “Moby Dick.” American Indians, 19th-century painters and self-portraits of Baskin himself constitute a show billed as “a striking celebration of the inner strength and creativity of mankind.” (Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art/Johnstown, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, 450 Schoolhouse Road; 814/269-7234, sama-art.org)

THROUGH APRIL 14/ “Fellowship 17,” the 17th iteration and culmination of an international photography competition, features two honorees in special shows of their work: International Award winner Kris Sanford (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) in “Through the Lens of Desire” and Keystone Award-winner Francis Crisafio (Pittsburgh) in “HOLDUP in the HOOD: wealth in recession.” “Fellowship” is presented by Silver Eye Center for Photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery. Juror is Rebecca Senf, chief curator at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Ariz., and a curator at Phoenix Museum of Art. (Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland; 412/431-1810, silvereye.org)
 


photo BY Walsh Photography  © 2016
 

March 29-April 2/ Dance-theater choreographer Beth Corning of Corningworks and the award-winning Donald Byrd of Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater join forces for “What’s Missing?” a Glue Factory Project premiere. Via movement and spoken text, the evening-length duet explores the impact of personal experiences on perception and perspective. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; 412/320-4610, corningworks.org

March 17-19/ Texture Contemporary Ballet offers “Velocity,” a selection of new and repertory ballets. Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Bartman will be premiering a work dedicated to her late grandmother while dancers don rain boots for Alexandra Tiso’s premiere exploring the emotions associated with precipitation. Brynn Vogel’s new work, a reflection on relationships and the awareness they bring, and a premiere by artistic director Alan Obuzor, set to the dynamic music of “Two Steps From Hell,” complete the program. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; 412/552-3314, textureballet.org)

March 8/ Shaping Sound, the contemporary dance troupe of “visual musicians” founded in 2012 and helmed by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Travis Wall, hits the boards with “After the Curtain,” its newest evening-length touring production. Wall leads the cast in this tale of lost love told through hip-hop, jazz and modern dance, as a man searches for his creative voice following the demise of his soulmate. (Benedum Center, 237 Seventh St., Downtown; 412/456-6666, trustarts.org)

March 4/ Seoul-based Bereishit Dance Company, a contemporary dance troupe known for multimedia works drawing from Korean culture and current dance forms, presents choreographer Soon-Ho Park’s “Bow,” a demanding male duet combining sports and dance moves. Also on the bill is his “Balance and Imbalance,” a movement- and sound-driven work for six dancers, two traditional Korean drummers and a pansori vocalist. (Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown; 412/456-6666, trustarts.org)
 

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