Enjoy ‘Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s’ at Heinz History Ctr.; See ‘Miss Julie, Clarissa and John’ at Playwrights (Sun., 3/20/16)

Can Johnnie and Judy come out to play? Definitely—and this is just one corner of the throwback toy exhibit at Heinz History Center. (Photo: Rachellyn Schoen)

Can Johnnie and Judy come out to play? Definitely—and this is just one corner of the Heinz History Center’s throwback toy exhibit. (Photo: Rachellyn Schoen)

1) Sometimes history is a serious subject but sometimes it is child’s play. The new exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center—Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s—is designed for two kinds of visitors: anyone who was a child during those times, and anyone who was or is a child, period. The show is chock full of historic toys that shaped the impressionable young minds of people such as today’s Supreme Court justices and geezer rockers. You’ve got your banana-seat wheelie bikes (the forerunners of BMX bikes) along with vintage Barbies and Kens. There are mysterious pre-digital-age artifacts based upon physical rather than electronic play—Mr. Potato Heads, Slinkys, Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Erector Sets, and more—as well as early computer and video games. Moreover, although fans of tiny bicycles are not encouraged to attempt wheelies in the exhibit space, many items can actually be played with. Are you up for a Slinky race? Through May 31. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. (MV)

2) Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, best known for staging the works of August Wilson, is doing a new hometown original that riffs on a Swedish classic. Miss Julie, Clarissa and John was written by PPTCO founder Mark Clayton Southers as a re-conception of August Strindberg’s 1888 drama Miss Julie. Southers has kept the core dynamics of Strindberg’s famous plot. We still have Julie, a young woman from an aristocratic family, falling perilously in love with a servant. But the setting is moved from Sweden to a Virginia plantation during the Reconstruction period. Not only is the servant of a different social class than Miss Julie, he’s of a different color. Other new twists are added, and given that the Strindberg play was a shocker to begin with, Southers’ Julie could crank the voltage higher. 3 p.m. Performances through March 27. 937 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

3) The Pens face off against the Washington Capitals in a 6 p.m. game at Consol Energy Center. Lets hope the team can continue its march toward the playoffs even with Evgeni Malkin out for about six weeks with an injury. The Pens are off until Thursday when they play the New Jersey Devils, also a home game. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

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Rick Handler

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