First ‘Piano Lesson’ Tonight at August Wilson Center; Fathertime Plays Jergel’s (Fri., 11/13/15)

Karla C. Payne is Berniece in "The Piano Lesson" and she won't let go of that piano.

Karla C. Payne is Berniece in “The Piano Lesson,” and she won’t let go of that piano. Photo: Karla C. Payne and Pittsburgh Playwrights.

1) August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson portrays a “lesson” that has nothing to do with keyboard technique. A woman living in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in the 1930s is keeper of the family’s heirloom piano, which is also a symbol of emergence from slavery—it once belonged to the Southerners who owned her ancestors. The woman’s brother wants to sell the piano to buy and farm the land where those ancestors once worked as slaves. A complex struggle develops over the piano, and it’s really the reflection of a more important struggle: the search for ways to deal with the past and build a future. The Piano Lesson won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 8 p.m. Performances through November 21. Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company performs the play at the August Wilson Center, 930 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)


2) Rick Jergel is co-owner of Jergel’s Rhythm Grille and lead singer in the house band, Fathertime. The venue, created to provide Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs with a solid concert hall and hang-out spot, plays host to local and touring acts, but Fathertime is no slouch when it fills in the gaps, bringing the heat with enthusiastic renditions of Top 40 favorites. They have a big fan club. There’s always something fun happening at Jergel’s. 9 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.

3) Last summer, musician Rachel B decamped her Los Angeles address and moved to Pittsburgh. She said, “I came to Pittsburgh on a cross-country tour and fell in love with the city and its supportive arts community. I packed my bags and moved about two months later. I am learning more and more to trust my gut and something told me to move here. It was a great decision!”  Joining the Traverse City, Michigan native on the cross-country move was one of her many musical collaborators Billy Castle, a multi-instrumentalist and producer, whom she met when they were both attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.

A versatile singer, songwriter and keyboardist, she touches on several different genres including pop, dance, soul, and a little touch of jazz. Break It Down is Rachel B’s latest EP, dropped on Feb. 26. One of the EP’s featured tracks is “Get To You.” Another track, “So Good,” is a hot dance song with Rachel B’s outstanding vocals. Former Steeler Chukky Okobi co-wrote the song with Rachel B. and has a featured rap part. Both Rachel B and opener Mike Roth are debuting new albums tonight. 7 p.m. Club Cafe, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side.

4) The Pens are trying to put together a winning formula for the season and tonight face the Columbus Blue Jackets  in a 7 p.m. game at the Consol Energy Center. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

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Rick Handler

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