Celtic Nights at Byham; Gaelic Storm in the Palace (CPs Thurs., 3/6/14)
1) Ever since Riverdance sold out amphitheaters in the late ’90s, epic Celtic song and dance productions have become an international entertainment behemoth. Dublin-based GFD Promotions has been like the Cirque du Soleil of the industry, concocting and touring with a new show every few years. The latest, the two-hour extravaganza Celtic Nights at the Byham Theatre tonight, is themed around the Emerald Isle’s long history of emigration, charting all the ways in which folks of Irish origin have made exoduses by foot, by rail, and by sea. Don’t worry that the thematic bent will make it too novel and risky; you’ll still hear old favorites like “Danny Boy,” “Isle of Hope,” and “Whiskey in the Jar” worked into the show. 7:30 p.m. 101 6th St., Cultural District.
2) Gaelic Storm, who come to the Palace Theatre tonight, became one of the world’s most popular Irish bands overnight when they were featured in the blockbuster of blockbusters, Titanic. The group was seen entertaining the third-class passengers in the ship’s steerage section. Since then, they have maintained their place as leading ambassadors of all things Irish, recording every famous Celtic song there is and writing a few of their own. The band, however, strangely has had difficulty keeping a fiddler for more than a few years, that position apparently being to them what the drummer is to Spinal Tap (minus the spontaneous combustion, of course). Opening the show are two local keepers of the Celtic flame, the Seton Hill University Pipe Band and Bell School of Irish Dance. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg.
3) If you’re an opera buff, you recognize the names Gilbert and Sullivan. If you’re fond of rock, you know Lennon and McCartney. And if you love musicals, you probably light up at the names Kander and Ebb. Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb secured a place among the all-time great songwriter duos with such energetic, often-staged works as Zorba, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Fosse, Cabaret, and Chicago. Today through Thursday, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is moving through the greatest hits of Kander and Ebb in a show entitled All That Jazz. It might be taboo to kick your heels in Heinz Hall, but the PSO is going to tempt you do so. 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.
4) Wisconsin’s Emily Forst apparently took the Adele approach writing her debut album, 2012’s Here We Go. After breaking up with a longtime boyfriend, she filled her notebook and then demo tapes with ruminations and heartache. The result is heartfelt but surprisingly breezy. Have a listen tonight when she comes to Club Café. Locals Broken Fences and The Wreckids are opening. 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.