Curtis Harding Plays Arts Festival; Pittsburgh CLO Presents “Legally Blonde” (CPs Fri., 6/13/14)

1) Soulful wunderkind Curtis Harding joins the 2014 Three Rivers Arts Festival lineup at the Dollar Bank Stage. Though born in Michigan, Harding was raised on the road, singing gospel alongside his parents as they traveled about. Harding describes his sound as “slop ‘n’ soul.” In an interview with GQ, he notes, “At its core, it’s soul, but I kind of take all my influences and just go for it, man. I take the leftovers of everything and throw it together.” Soul Power, just released this year, is Harding’s solo debut, and it’s marvelous, funky, and full of energy; it stands to reason that we should be excited about what’s to come. 7:30 p.m. Point State Park, Downtown.

2) Move over, Reese Witherspoon. Pittsburgh CLO presents Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Benedum Center. Like the film on which it’s based, Legally Blonde is the story of the ditzy sorority girl Elle Woods, who defies expectations by enrolling in Harvard Law School and proving that—aha!—she isn’t as ditzy as her hair color stereotypically suggests. As one would expect from a Broadway musical, indeed, Elle’s story is laced with catchy, upbeat musical numbers like “Bend and Snap.” Here’s a fun, intertextual tidbit: MTV aired a show in 2008 called “Legally Blonde: The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods,” about the Broadway show’s search for its star player. For those of you keeping track, that’s a reality show about a musical based on a film adaptation of a book. Whew! 8 p.m. Through June 22. 237 7th St., Cultural District.

3) Join the Pittsburgh Opera at the beautiful South Park Amphitheater for another performance in the 2014 Allegheny County Summer Concert Series. Founded in 1939, the Pittsburgh Opera has come a long way in 75 years. Leaders in both community engagement and, oddly enough, environmentally sustainable practices, the Pittsburgh Opera gives back to the community in yet another way: this free outdoor concert. Enjoy a pleasant blend of classical opera and musical theater hits while you relax and picnic. Leashed pets are welcomed; dogs presumably enjoy opera just as much as the rest of us. The Pittsburgh Opera invites attendees to visit them at their stage-side table before the show or during intermission; the first 100 visitors will receive a special gift. 7:30 p.m. Near Brownsville and McCorkle roads, South Park.

4) Also a part of the 2014 Allegheny County Summer Concert Series, BNY Mellon Jazz presents CAPA Jazz: Past, Present, and Future at the Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard. CAPA is the Pittsburgh Public School for Creative and Performing Arts, with students in grades 6 through 12. Seeing city youngsters performing this classic American art form is very inspiring .  Be witness to CAPA’s young talent and skill, alongside CAPA alumni and faculty, as they perform Downtown, just in time for your lunch break. Noon. 436 Grant St.

5) Pop-rock up and comer Jennel Garcia visits the Smiling Moose. This teen (well, 20-year-old) sensation made her debut on Simon Cowell’s “X-Factor” during the second season. Surely it’s no coincidence that her mentor was pop singer (and former Disney star) Demi Lovato—Garcia and Lovato share a perceived edginess and both favor tunes that fall slightly towards the middle of the pop-rock spectrum. It’s been two years since her debut appearance on “X-Factor”; she was 18, then, and earlier this week, celebrated her 20th birthday. Her debut single, “Hate to Love You,” appeared on YouTube in early June. It bears resemblance to something you might hear from Hayley Williams and Paramore. Who knows when she’ll release her first album, but it’s probably only a matter of time before we start hearing Ms. Garcia on Top 40 radio; you might as well hop on the bandwagon early. Joined by Stay Seventeen, Fourth & Coast, and Crash The Party. 6 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side.

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Dan Hoyt

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