Center Stage

The latest curtain-risings in theater and dance

Sassy, A Little Trashy, and Just In Time for Summer: It’s the Remake of the Remake of “The Tempest”

You realize, of course, that you cannot do summer theater properly unless you catch a remake. Of Shakespeare, that is. Altered Shakespeare is red-hot everywhere this year. In Chicago, for instance, they’ve got Othello: the Remix, the latest “add-rap-tation” by The Q Brothers; and New York has a new musical based on ’s Labour’s Lost (with songs like “ Is a Gun”) …

But while those big-city lights will see strange sights, the strangest you ever will see is right here

Continue Reading

Speak of the Devil: That’s What They Do in Abigail/1702, and People Love it

Abigail Williams (Diane Davis), steeped in wickedness, aspires to be an angel.

Abigail/1702 takes a strange story and makes it stranger. On opening night at City Theatre, as will be described shortly, it proved an unusual reaction from the audience. And you know you are in for a strange evening as soon as you sit down and open the play’s program. To avoid spoilers, it lists a couple of the cast members as follows: John Feltch playing “Reverend Parris and

Continue Reading

At Quantum, It’s Springtime for Dream of Autumn

Three things you should know about Dream of Autumn:

One, there are outhouses. Not in the play. Outside. When you read that Quantum Theatre is staging the play in “the former Park Schenley Restaurant” at the Royal York in Oakland, it may conjure up visions of a faded-glory interior with chaniers, oak paneling and other trappings of elegance. Uh-uh. The owners have gutted the cavernous space, down to the structural bare bones. With Quantum’s eerie lighting, this makes it perfect for

Continue Reading

Quantum Theater Presents Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman


Quantum Theatre’s cast play out a scene from Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman. L to r: Bridget Connors (Gunhild Borkman) , Luka Glinsky (Erhart Borkman), Robin Walsh (Ella Rentheim) and Daina Michelle Griffith. (Fanny Walton).

If you’re loing for colorful costumes or a dazzling set to lift the winter blues, you won’t find it in Quantum Theater’s production of John Gabriel Borkman, playing now through Feb. 24 at the Hart Building in East Liberty. Yet, strangely, it is the production’s sparse

Continue Reading

Les Miz x 2: On Stage & Screen

Les Miserables Storms the Benedum Center!

The planets have aligned for a rare double feature. The national touring company of Les Miserables is in town at the Benedum Center, through January 27, while the film version is still on local screens. It’s a chance to see how two different directors and casts—working in different media—handle the same material.

I’ve taken my double dose of “Les Miz” and found each version to have its merits. And I’ve enjoyed comparing the two, which then prompted

Continue Reading

Maple & Vine: Strange Ride, Smooth Machine


Actors (L-R): Nelson Lee, Caralyn Kozlowski, Robin Abramson and Greg McFadden play out a scene from City Theatre’s Maple & Vine.


Is it a must-see? Coming from a free country, let’s just say Maple and Vine at the City Theatre is a you-really-ought-to-see-it. The play is entertainingly weird, not to mention weirdly entertaining. It is a rare idea well done; and it will leave you thinking. Unless you prefer not to think too much. Which is sort of what the

Continue Reading

“Jersey Boys” Makes State Proud

“Jersey Boys”, the Tony and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical, about four blue-collar Newark, New Jersey boys who hit the big time in 1964: Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. “Jersey Boys” has been playing to packed houses around the world since it debuted on Broadway in November, 2005. It is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as part of the “Broadway Across America” series.

The musical biography of the famed foursome is divided into four seasons of the group’s life.  Starting out

Continue Reading

A Radical Idea: Why Not See “Gem of the Ocean”?

Solly Two Kings (Alan Bomar Jones, left) and Eli (Kevin Brown, right) are in on the toasting of young Citizen. Black Mary (Kim El, not seen here) does her honors as well.

Here’s the problem with August Wilson plays. Too many people consider the act of seeing them to be a civic or cultural duty.

After all, August Wilson is the most prominent playwright ever to come out of Pittsburgh, and he wrote plays that are set in Pittsburgh, and until

Continue Reading