“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” Opens; Big Head Todd and the Monsters at Mr. Smalls (CPs Tues., 2/25/14)

1) Porgy and Bess is an opera whose music and lyrics were written by the dynamic brother team of George and Ira Gershwin. It is based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy. George Gershwin envisioned it as a folk opera of African-American life in the fictional Catfish Row (based on Charleston, S.C.’s, Cabbage Row). The show debuted in 1935 and  spawned several hit songs, “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Neccesarily So,” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now.” Opening tonight is The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, an updated version of the classic play; it won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Many of the Broadway cast will be playing the Pittsburgh run and are backed by a 23-piece orchestra. 7:30 p.m. (There will be a pre-show talk with theater critic Christopher Rawson beginning at 6:30 p.m. tonight). Runs through March 2. Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.

2) Colorado rockers Big Head Todd and the Monsters are taking the off ramp for a stop in Pittsburgh at Mr Smalls Funhouse. The band is fronted by Todd Park Mohr and is best known for the monster hits “Bittersweet,” and “Broken Hearted Savior” from their 1993 release Sister Sweetly. They are currently touring in support of their latest album, Black Beehive. Opening are Ronnie Baker Brooks and Hazel Miller. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.

3)  Thunderbird Café’s Space Exchange series, which explores progressive jazz in relation to other musical genres, continues tonight with an “evening of intense acoustic jazz” from the Thoth Trio, comprising Ben Opie on saxophone and clarinet, Paul Thompson on bass, and David Throckmorton on drums. 9 p.m. No cover. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

4) At Theater Square, vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield is the featured performer for this Tuesday’s jazz series at Backstage Bar. Wingfield is a music teacher by day and a versatile singer by night. No cover. 5 – 9 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

5)  If you live farther out from the city center and want to ice skate in a sylvan setting, then Allegheny County’s North and South Parks ice skating rinks are “your ticket to fun!”  The rinks offer both free and paid skating lessons as well as skate rentals. Today’s sessions are from 7:30 – 9 p.m. North Park rink is on Pearce Mill Road; South Park rink is on Buffalo Drive.

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Rick Handler

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