‘Floyd Collins’ on Stage at Front Porch; Arts Festival on Walnut Street Continues (Sun., 8/28/16)

1) Front Porch Theatricals is at it again, doing another offbeat musical that’s a cult classic though not a household-name hit. The show is Floyd Collins, a name that once was actually known in households everywhere. The real-life Floyd Collins was a cave explorer in Kentucky during the early 1900s. In 1925, in what is now Mammoth Cave National Park, Collins became trapped in a tight underground passage, oh-so-close to the open air but not quite. Rescue efforts lasted two weeks. They drew throngs of reporters and created a national media sensation, with millions of people snapping up newspapers and tuning in newly bought home radios to follow the drama. Collins died before his buddies could free him, but for a brief while he was a folk hero—a symbol of courage, of compassion, of celebrity itself. The 1996 musical, by Adam Guettel and Tina Landau, premiered off-Broadway and ran briefly despite winning rave reviews along with Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards. Floyd Collins may not be Hamilton, but it’s here and the tickets don’t cost a fortune. 2 p.m. Runs through September 4. In the New Hazlett, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)

2) The Art Festival on Walnut Street takes over the main thoroughfare in the popular Pittsburgh neighborhood of Shadyside and is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Enjoy beautiful and interesting works of art created by some of the best local and national artists. While there treat yourself to a tasty meal and some beverages at a Walnut Street eatery including Shady Grove, The Steel Cactus, Pamela’s, Thai Place, Cappy’s, Cafe MoulinMercurio’sChina Palace, Girasole, Le Madis Gras, Le FeriaMario’s Eastside SaloonThe William Penn Tavern, The Yard,, and Sushi Too. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. today. Free. Walnut Street between Aiken and Negley Avenues.

August Wilson's boyhood home, in disrepair in this undated photo, is being restored as a neighborhood arts center. The backyard staging of "Seven Guitars" will wake echoes of the scene in Wilson's day.

August Wilson’s boyhood home, in disrepair in this undated photo, is now being restored as a community arts center. The backyard staging of “Seven Guitars” will wake echoes of the scene in Wilson’s day.

3) Anyone who hasn’t heard about the new production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars is probably holed up in a bunker awaiting the end of the world, but should you have another excuse, here is the news. Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company is performing the play at the location where Wilson imagined it happening: in the back yard of the playwright’s boyhood home in the Hill District. That certainly makes this production special, but Seven Guitars itself is distinctive for two reasons. It is the most musical of Wilson’s plays and the only one that’s a murder mystery. The hero, a fictional 1940s blues musician named Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton, has been killed just as he was on the verge of making it big. The action unfolds at a post-funeral gathering where those close to him, including his musical sidekicks, are singing and swapping banter and stories both sad and humorous. As they do, episodes from Barton’s life are re-enacted in flashback and questions are raised about the very nature of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They lead back inevitably to the question: Who killed Schoolboy? 2 and 8 p.m. Ends today. At 1727 Bedford Ave., Hill District. (MV)