PICT Previews ‘The Lion in Winter’; David Crosby in Concert at WVU (Thurs., 12/1/16)

PICT's "Lion in Winter" has Alan Stanford and Cary Anne Spear as the royal odd couple Henry and Eleanor.

PICT’s “Lion in Winter” has Alan Stanford and Cary Anne Spear as the royal odd couple, Henry and Eleanor.

1) Family gatherings light up the holidays, especially when they mix clashing personalities and contentious politics. To honor this fine old tradition, PICT Classic Theatre is staging The Lion in Winter, a seriocomedy that depicts the family of King Henry II of England spontaneously combusting at Christmastime in 1183. The scenes and dialogue are fictional, but the play’s backstory is true. Henry was a hard-driving monarch married to a formidable woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their union produced five sons, three daughters, and a war in which some of the sons—aided by Eleanor—rebelled against their dad. Henry crushed the revolt and pardoned the boys, but locked up his queen. She spent years in the medieval version of white-collar prison, let out only on special occasions.

The play imagines Eleanor released to join a sexually and politically charged Christmas celebration that includes the still-unruly sons and a young femme fatale. The Lion in Winter was made into a popular 1968 film. 8 p.m. Performances through December 17. PICT is doing it live at the Union Project, 801 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park. (MV)

2) Singer-songwriter David Crosby, on a solo acoustic tour, takes the stage at WVU with just his voice and guitar for company. The veteran performer, of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, promises to draw on music from throughout his 50-year career, from both solo albums and collaborative works. At 74, the two-time Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer hasn’t lost his urge to create new music. His latest solo effort, Croz, was released in January 2014 after a long recording hiatus, and was described by Rolling Stone as “a triumphant solo return.” The producer on the album was Crosby’s son, James Raymond, who also co-wrote some of the tracks and recorded them in his home studio. It’s easy to imagine the spare, stripped-back tunes translating beautifully into an acoustic show. He’s again working with Raymond on a followup album to Croz. Additionally, Crosby has another album, Lighthouse, released in October, on which he worked on with Michael League of the band Snarky Puppy. Lyell B Clay Concert Theatre, 2261 Monongahela Boulevard, Morgantown, WV. 7:30 p.m. (HM/RH)

3) The Pens return home from a road trip to face off against the Dallas Stars. The puck drops at 7 p.m. After that is another home game on Saturday night versus the Detroit Red Wings.  Let’s go Pens! PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

4) Now for something completely different. Edward Bond’s play The Sea is set in a quaint English seaside town in 1907—a town where a man has just been drowned, alas, during a storm—but no, this is not another dreary working-class drama about commoners bearing up nobly in the face of grim hardships. These people are flat-out wacky. Indeed, as anyone who has frequented small towns will attest, the wackiness in them can exceed that found in our tumultuous urban centers. In The Sea, reactions to the drowning include a belief that space aliens have invaded. Bond, one of England’s legendary living playwrights, is one of its most idiosyncratic. 8 p.m. Ends December 4. The Sea is a satirical comedy and Point Park University’s Conservatory Theatre is performing it in our town. Studio Theatre at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. (MV)