Brian Wilson Brings ‘Pet Sounds’ to the Benedum; ‘A History of the American Film’ at The Summer Company (Thurs., 8/25/16)

1) Brian Wilson is one of the key ingredients of the great American songbook created by the Beach Boys. Surfing, racing, and love were some of the thematic elements in their tunes. Many of them written by Wilson, he is credited with writing more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the Beach Boys. Wilson’s innovative writing and recording techniques became well-respected in the industry. He is a true champion who overcame the incapacitating challenges of mental illness to again achieve greatness through his music.

Wilson is a highly talented singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, and arranger who is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a two-time Grammy winner. He is touring under the banner of the 50th Anniversary of the album Pet Sounds. The album was the Beach Boys’ 11th studio album and was one of the first concept albums, incorporating, rock, jazz, psychedelic, classical, and avant-garde influences. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” “Sloop John B”  and “Caroline, No” were all notable hits from the album. Wilson’s intent was to make the greatest rock and roll album ever. It peaked at no. 10 in the U.S. and at no. 2 in the U.K. Special guests are Beach Boys’ founding member Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. 8 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.

Brian Wilson gives the OK sign and a smile while performing as part of The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2012. photo: Takahiro Kyono, Wikipedia.

Brian Wilson gives the OK sign and a smile while performing as part of The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2012. photo: Takahiro Kyono, Wikipedia.

2) After years of working at the intellectually lunatic fringes of the theater scene, Christopher Durang is finally certified as a major playwright. His Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a comical take-off on Chekhov, won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. Now it’s time to catch up with previous Durangments. His plays have been silly/wicked satires on subjects from religion (Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You) to U.S. foreign policy (The Vietnamization of New Jersey), and Pittsburgh’s The Summer Company is staging one that ranks very high on the Durang scale: A History of the American Film. The title makes it sound like a ponderous college course, but it’s a 1978 Broadway musical co-written by Durang with Mel Marvin. In rapid-fire sketches, the actors portray parodies of stock characters and scenes in American movies from the 1920s to the ‘70s. Citizen Kane has its sacred-cow credentials examined, and due treatment is given to war movies, detective movies, and more. A History of the American Film is a double-barreled lampoon that pokes fun at Hollywood while showing how its films reflect the course of our society over the years. Plus, there’s music. 8 p.m. Continues through Sunday. In the Genesius Theater on the Duquesne University campus, Seitz Street at Locust Street, Uptown. (MV)

3)  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)