Things to Do: Nov. 22-24
A pair of plays, music, comedy and an afternoon of enchantment are among the many options.
The Best Reason to Leave Your House This Weekend
See a Play (or Two)
Two of my favorite Pittsburgh theater companies — Pittsburgh Public Theater and City Theatre — are well into the runs of the second plays of their respective seasons. Both companies are centering the work of African-American playwrights, and both shows are worth seeing.
Jocelyn Bioh is the writer of “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play.” Bioh’s play, which sold out two off-Broadway runs last season, is set in 1986. The comedy about the rivalries playing out surrounding a Ghanaian beauty pageant frame more serious issues surrounding colorism. Shariffa Ali directs.
At City Theatre, playwright Kemp Powers’ “One Night in Miami” imagines a 1964 meeting between Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Malcolm X following Clay’s triumph over Sonny Liston. The 90-minute, one-act play is based on a real event — the four influential figures did indeed meet in a hotel room — but the conversation about the complexities of being a high-profile Black man in the Civil Rights era is fictional. Reginald L. Douglas directs. — Hal B. Klein
Another Excellent Reason to Leave Your House This Weekend
Comcast Light Up Night
Noon-10 p.m. Friday
Even if there wasn’t a great big pop star headlining the show, the main concert stage at Light Up Night would be a great reason to brave the crowds and head Downtown.
The Comcast Stage, located at Fort Duquesne Blvd. and Stanwix St., kicks off at 6 p.m. with a set from the Nox Boys, who have risen to become one of the city’s most dynamic and entertaining rock bands. They’ll be followed by local legend Joe Grushecky and his aptly named Houserockers. The night concludes with a reliably fantastic fireworks display. What more do you need?
Okay, how about serious superstar Adam Lambert to headline the show? The hitmaker, occasional Queen frontman and thoroughly likable entertainer takes the stage at 8:30 p.m.; get there early for a litany of seasonal celebrations great and small.
A word of advice, though: Park at one of the South Hills T stations and ride into the city. You’ll thank me. — Sean Collier
Great events are more or less a given at Spirit, the city’s de facto Heavyweight Champion of nightlife. A pair of parties on consecutive nights deserve special mention, however. Thursday, a “friendsgiving” dinner will feature a four-course meal served inside “Vault,” the soon-to-depart light installation by Ian Brill. Friday, an edition of the periodic In Bed By Ten dance party — so named because it’s early and you can head home before your younger friends even head out — brings DJs from the equally lauded Jellyfish parties and will raise money for Pittsburghers for Public Transit. — SC
I Made It! Market
11 a.m. Saturday
Edgewood Towne Center
You won’t find “As Seen on TV” or mass-produced gadgets at the I Made It! Marketplace, where local vendors sell their handmade items just in time for the holiday season. More than 100 boutique artists will be stationed around the space, offering everything from art and jewelry to decor and home goods. The festive atmosphere and free admission is complemented by seasonal refreshments. — Caroline Bourque
Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton & Jontavious Willis
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Carnegie Lecture Hall
Jerron Paxton may only be in his twenties, but his music harkens back a century to the rhythm and blues of the 1920s. His career kicked off at Carnegie Hall in 2016, when he took the stage with legends Buddy Guy and Edgar Winter to play for a sold-out audience. Now he’s taking the stage at Pittsburgh’s very own venue of the same name, and promising yinzers a taste of his musical abilities. Paxton sings and plays the banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion and percussion — supplementing the whole shebang with humor and storytelling. With opener Jontavious Willis — a blues wunderkind at only 22 years old — setting the tone for the evening, it’s sure to be a memorable event. — CB
Thunderbird Comedy Showcase
7 p.m. Sunday
Thunderbird Cafe and Music Hall
I’ll confess to some bias, here; comedian Suzanne Lawrence is a friend, and I’ve shared plenty of stages with her. But if you haven’t yet seen her stand-up, you’re missing one of the funniest voices in the Pittsburgh comedy scene. She’ll headline this Sunday-night showcase of local talent. Also on the bill: longtime favorite Tim Ross, who just crowdfunded his first album; Samantha Bentley, featured in this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh” issue; Leslie Cavala; Ian McIntosh; and Doug Sluk. — SC
Afternoon of Enchantment
1 p.m. Sunday
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Audiences have been watching the story of “The Nutcracker” unfold from within the darkness of the theater for more than a century. This weekend, the line between audience and stage dissolves, as participants have the chance to step inside the world of “The Nutcracker” at PBT Studios. Children can learn ballet basics with class samplings and take home themed crafts. Floating throughout the venue, characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy will be making appearances throughout the day. This event also features inclusive activities and performances for those with sensory sensitivities and other individualized needs. — CB
Light Up Night Sleepover
6 p.m. Friday
The Carnegie Science Center
What kid doesn’t want to spend the night at a museum — and get a front row seat to the annual holiday fireworks Downtown, followed by an evening centered on the theme of light. Catch a laser light show, participate in an experiment involving the science of light, and then take home a souvenir bracelet or keychain that reacts to UV light. Sleep among the center’s exhibits, then wake up the next day for a continental breakfast. The overnight event wraps up around 10 a.m. Saturday. — CB
Looking for more things to do this weekend and beyond? Check out our Events Calendar