Quantum Explores “Madagascar”; Phosphorescent Plays Mr. Smalls (CPs Fri., 1/31/14)

1) Quantum Theatre director Karla Boos searches for plays to produce that are both compelling and pose a challenge to the audience. Following in that rich vein is Madagascar by J.T. Rogers. The play revolves around one hotel room overlooking Rome’s Spanish Steps, three different time periods, three people, and a mysterious disappearance. The characters are June (Melinda Helfrich), a young tour guide of Rome’s historic sites; Lilian (Helena Ruoti), her high-society mother; and Nathan (Larry John Meyers), a disheveled university economist who was Lilian’s deceased husband’s best friend. Noted director Sheila McKenna gives the veteran actors respect and a gentle glide path through the complexities of the play while keeping them on pace and true to their characters. 8 p.m. Runs through Feb. 16. The Carlyle, 306 Fourth Ave., Downtown.

2) Phosphorescent, the professional name of singer/songwriter Matthew Houck, currently based in Brooklyn by way of Alabama and Athens, Ga., plays Mr. Small’s tonight. “Song for Zula” from the 2013 album Muchacho has garnered significant airplay and downloads and was part of the soundtrack for the movie The Spectacular Now. Opener is Caveman. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.

3) Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, three of the biggest names in the composing business, are in town tonight…actually, their timeless music is. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Manfred Honeck with accompaniment by noted pianist Hélène Grimaud, will play selections from the three composers. One of the compositions, Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor,” was featured in the Disney film Fantasia. 8 p.m. Also 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

4) Indie musician Jeremy Messersmith is an accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist  whose contemporary songs draw from the musicianship and fun of pop music of the 60’s and 70’s. The Alcatraz Kid, the title of Messersmith’s first album, released in 2006, was the name used by someone who would occasionally prank call a place where he worked. Opening is Tristen, and Diego Byrnes. Doors open 7 p.m. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

5) Future Tenant, the storeroom art laboratory Downtown, has a new “tenant.” Fabrications, a selection of work by CMU School of Art undergraduate students, will be on display beginning today. Gallery Opening 6 -9  p.m. Show runs through March 2. 819 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

6) Good Fridays at the Warhol is a weekly party at the museum, featuring art exhibits, music, and cocktails in the high temple to Andy Warhol’s numerous talents. Half-price museum admission. 5 – 10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Shore.