1) Avenue Q is the puppet-show musical that’s not for children. Scenes include frantic, moaning puppet sex, while songs include “The Internet Is for Porn,” “It Sucks to Be Me,” and “The More You Love Someone (the More You Want to Kill Him).” Also, the Bad Idea Bears are not a baseball team like the Bad News Bears. They’re cute teddy bears who appear at crucial times, like a grotesque Greek chorus of Beanie Babies, to promote really bad ideas. (They starred in the Avenue Q public-service video about cell phone use in theaters.) Avenue Q won the 2004 Tony Award trifecta—Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score—and has become popular worldwide, in part because it’s more than an R-rated spoof of “Sesame Street.” The musical actually works by applying the TV show’s techniques to grown-up life, using splendidly puppetized goofiness to express the human condition. Numbers like “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “If You Were Gay (That’d Be Okay)” have resonated with audiences from São Paulo to Shanghai. Pittsburgh Musical Theatre performs Avenue Q in its Gargaro Theater. 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through Sunday.327 S. Main St., West End.(MV)
2) Prime Stage Theatre, the Pittsburgh company whose mission is “bringing literature to life,” takes on a tremendously moving true story with The Diary of Anne Frank. The play is based on the now-famous diary entries that teenaged Anne wrote during World War II in Amsterdam. She and her family, along with another family and an elderly man—all Jewish—spent two years in a small apartment where courageous Dutch friends kept them hidden from Nazi forces occupying the city. Interpersonal dramas and tensions built up within the group, magnified by the constant fear of being found out. And eventually, they were. Of the eight persons in hiding, only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the concentration camps. The play opens with Otto’s return to postwar Amsterdam. He learns that his chief Dutch friend-and-helper had retrieved Anne’s diary from the apartment after the Nazi raid; the rest of the story then unfolds in flashback. Adapted for the stage by American wife-husband team Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, The Diary of Anne Frank won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1956. 8 p.m. Ends Sunday. At the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)
3) Our battlin’ Bucs take on the San Francisco Giants tonight in a 7:05 p.m. game. It’s also Free Shirt Friday, with the first 20,000 fans receiving a Pirates T-shirt. Stop on out to the ball yard and see former Bucco Andrew McCutchen, now a Giant. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.