Apple Hill Playhouse Stages ‘The Cemetery Club’; Quantum’s Peribáñez Continues in Mellon Park (Fri., 8/19/16)

1) Many locals remember The Cemetery Club as a 1993 movie filmed in Pittsburgh. However the movie was based on a stage play, and Apple Hill Playhouse is presenting this comic drama in its original form. The story in a nutshell: Three recently widowed women, all of advanced age, strike up an informal “club” around visits to their late husbands’ graves. Comedy and pathos ensue when it turns out the women have quite different approaches to widowhood. One is devoted to the memory of her dearly departed, another to snagging a new man—and the third, while hardly trying, actually snags one. The Cemetery Club is by playwright Ivan Menchell, whose name may ring a bell with some younger fans. He wrote the book for Death Note: The Musical, an adaptation of the spooky manga-and-anime series. That show premiered last year in Japan. The Cemetery Club trades on New York-style Jewish humor, not supernatural Japanese suspense, but theater audiences over the decades have found it both amusing and endearing. 7:30 p.m. Performances through August 27. 275 Manor Rd., Delmont. (MV)

 

Ethan Saks declaims while Amanda Pulcini smells a fish in "Peribañez."

Ethan Saks declaims while Amanda Pulcini smells a fish in “Peribañez.” photo: John Altdorfer.

2) What? The man wrote more than a thousand plays and you haven’t seen a single one? Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635) was known in Spain as “monstruo de la naturaleza”: a freak or force of nature. Along with serving two tours in the Spanish navy and engaging in many scandalous love affairs—even after he entered the priesthood at age 51—Lope de Vega turned out prodigious flows of new material for theaters of the time. About 450 of his plays survive, many still considered masterpieces, bristling with energy and deftly mixing humor with serious themes. Lope de Vega’s work is seldom produced in English translation, but last year Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts did his romantic comedy The Dog in the Manger, and now Quantum Theatre is staging Peribáñez, a tragicomedy in which an army commander schemes to seduce a peasant’s wife. (MV)

Quantum is performing Peribáñez in a modern adaptation by British playwright Tanya Ronder. 8 p.m. Continues through August 28. The venue is one of Quantum’s favorite outdoor sites, the Jennie King Mellon Rose Garden in Mellon Park, corner of Fifth Avenue and Beechwood Boulevard, Shadyside. (MV)

 

3) The Duquesne University Tamburitzins, an internationally known multi-cultural song and dance company that features traditional folk entertainment of the Eastern European region and it’s neighbors, play a show in the beautiful environs of South Park today. They claim the title of longest-running company of that type in the U.S. 7:30 p.m. South Park Amphitheater, 3778 Buffalo Dr., South Park Township.