CMU Puts on ‘The Full Monty’; ‘Rhinoceros’ Running at Pitt (Thurs., 2/18/16)

1) When unemployed steelworkers earn money by dancing naked for a crowd of screaming women, is it entrepreneurship or is it comedy? Maybe both. The makers of The Full Monty turned a low-budget movie into a huge hit with a plot built on that premise. Shortly after the 1997 British film came a Broadway musical, by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, adapted from the movie which Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is performing on its main stage. As in the movie, most of the story lies in the build-up to the striptease act, following a group of desperate men as they seize upon the idea, then wrangle over whether to take their privacy fully public. The musical Americanizes The Full Monty, moving the action from Sheffield, England to Buffalo. And whereas the movie score relied on existing pop tunes, the musical features original numbers like “Let It Go” (above).  8 p.m. Performances through February 27.At the Philip Chosky Theater in Carnegie Mellon’s Purnell Center for the Arts, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (MV)

2) Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) was labeled an absurdist playwright. One can imagine Ionesco responding, “You want absurd? Try real life.” Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts is staging his Rhinoceros, in which the perfectly civilized inhabitants of a small town mutate one by one into snorting, stampeding rhinoceroses. If you had read the play in school, you were taught that it’s an allegory about conformity, reflecting the 20th-century events that turned masses of people into Nazis, Fascists, or fierce partisans of other ideologies. The interpretation rings true, but seeing Rhinoceros performed live is an experience that goes beyond finding a meaning in the text. It brings out the play’s sly ironies and raucous physical comedy. It personalizes the story, if that’s the right word for a play about persons being rhinoceros-ized. And it’s always fun to see how the cast and crew will portray the rhinoceros-izing—there is a scene that calls for one character to transform in full view on stage. 8 p.m. Running through February 28. Studio Theatre, B-72 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. (MV)

3) The Pens face off against the Detroit Red Wings tonight in a 7 p.m. game at the Consol Energy Center. The team pulled off a nice 2-1 shootout win on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes this past Friday. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

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Rick Handler

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