‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at the Benedum; Sienna Mercato, Three Floors of Food and Fun (Wed., 1/30/19)

Roald Dahl was a tough cookie with a soft heart for children and chocolate. (photo: Carl Van Vechten, 1954)

Roald Dahl was a tough cookie with a soft heart for children and chocolate. (photo: Carl Van Vechten, 1954)

1) Who says the age of mythology is dead? There are modern stories that acquire the status of myths or fables, one of them being Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This spooky 1964 children’s book was written by a man of Norse descent, born in Wales, who’d been a heroic British fighter pilot in World War II—a fitting background for the author of a saga. Adults and youngsters alike have relished his dark-comic story of a supernatural candy maker, Willy Wonka, who rewards virtuous Charlie while naughty kiddos get mangled in the factory’s magical machinery. The story has been interpreted as a morality tale, a satire of our consumer culture, and more, and it has been re-told in various ways. The 1971 movie had Gene Wilder as a quirky, philosophical Wonka quoting Shakespeare. The 2005 movie had Johnny Depp as a creepy Wonka. And now there’s a stage musical

The musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which visits Pittsburgh on its U.S. tour, is an American-adapted version of the show that premiered to enthusiastic acclaim in London in 2013. Heartwarming songs include “Auf Wiedersehen, Augustus Gloop” and some from the ’71 movie, notably “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination.” 7:30 p.m. “Know the Show Before You Go” pre-show talk. Performances continue through February 3. Presented as part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series at Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)  

 

2) “This must be the place,” David Byrne of Talking Heads fame once sang. You’ll be singing the same tune upon entering Sienna Mercato. The restaurant’s first floor, Emporio, offers four different gourmet meatballs—classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian, and chicken—and ten sauces, ranging from marinara to basil pesto cream. You can have your meatballs alone or on a bun, and with or without cheese. The second floor—Mezzo—features pastas and wood-fired pizza. Pizza varieties include traditional margherita as well as more exotic fare, like duck speck. Mezzo also has other offerings including desserts and charcuterie (plates of cured meats, artisan cheeses, pickled items, and preserves). Il Tetto, the rooftop beer garden, caps off  the Sienna Mercato experience. The garden has over 30 beers on tap, cocktails, and smaller dishes. Whether it’s sunny or snowing, patrons can always appreciate Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers, thanks to the garden’s retractable glass roof (awesome, right?). Don’t worry, an elevator is provided should all that food and drink impede mobility. 942 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (CM)