Echo & the Bunnymen and Violent Femmes at Stage AE; Cabaret Theater Hosts Hot Metal Musicals (Mon., 7/17/17)

1) It’s a double billing of ’80s angst at Stage AE. Echo & the Bunnymen is one of those bands with a lineage almost too complicated to follow: splits, reunions, solo careers, and deaths. Despite all that, the alt-rockers have recorded and released music for almost four decades since forming in Liverpool, England, in 1978. At various times a three-, four-, and five-piece, today the Bunnymen are a duo: original frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant. They have recorded and toured since 2000, putting out four albums, including 2014’s Meteorites. The Violent Femmes released We Can Do Anything in 2016, the trio’s first album in 16 years. New songs, like “Memory,” stand alongside college radio classics like “Blister in the Sun” and “Country Death Song.” The band formed in Milwaukee, Wisc., in 1980. Original drummer Victor DeLorenzo quit in 2013, but John Sparrow, who played in the group’s backing band, the Horns of Dilemma, has picked up the sticks. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Shore. (EC, CM)

Alex Manalo is one of the actors scheduled to perform at 'Hot Metal Musicals.' photo: Stephanie Riso.

Alex Manalo is one of the actors scheduled to perform at ‘Hot Metal Musicals.’ photo: Stephanie Riso.

2) An interesting one-day event occurring this month is Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh’s (MTAP) Hot Metal Musicals. This year’s production will feature a cast of eight singers who will perform 21 songs by 31 artists.  The event is a showcase of members’ work with an emphasis on musical theater works-in-progress. Many of the songs being featured are from shows that are still in development. Cast members for this event have been onstage for local and regional theater companies.  The event is produced with assistance from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Pittsburgh CLO, and the Heinz Endowments. Hot Metal Musicals is free, but MTAP highly encourages online reservations. A meet and greet reception with the artists and performers will follow the showcase. This event promises to be an interesting early look at new productions that are just over the horizon. 7:15 p.m. The Cabaret Theater at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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