1) Stephen Sondheim makes seriously good musical comedy out of grisly subjects. Maybe you’ve seen Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, if only in the movie versions, so how about Assassins? This 1990 musical, set at a fictional shooting-gallery game at a country fair, is about the men and women who have killed or tried to kill presidents of the United States. Booth and Oswald get their turns at center stage, of course, but the most interesting characters are lesser-known assassins. They include the very bizarre Charles Guiteau, who fatally shot James Garfield in 1881, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, both of whom failed to kill Gerald Ford. Assassins is a long under-appreciated musical that deftly mixes humor and horror. The show’s book (by John Weidman) also paints remarkably human portraits of the individual assassins while exploring the larger themes of social alienation and violence. Stage 62, one of the region’s top community theater companies, is presenting Assassins in the Music Hall at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library. 2 p.m. Ends today. 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie.
2) The Pens face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in an 8 p.m. playoff game at the Consol Energy Center. It’s game five of the third round of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Championship. Let’s go Pens! 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.
3) Steel Panther struts in for a concert at Stage AE this month. With that name, you may think the band hails from Pitt, but it’s actually a heavy metal group from L.A. Steel Panther’s songs combine humor with R- to X-rated content—the “Community Property” video, above, actually is one of the less raunchy ones—while the band’s whole act, including big hair and over-the-top costumes, parodies the glam-metal bands of the 1980s. The Panther has just dropped a second live release, Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage, a CD/DVD combo set in which the band performs stripped-down fan favorites for an audience of 100 women. Opening for Steel Panther is Gene the Werewolf. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
4) There’s now two summer arts festivals on Walnut street in Pittsburgh. Both are run by Howard Alan Events with the festival this weekend—Shadyside Art and Craft Festival—broadening the offerings to include not only art but crafts, jewelry, photography, and more. This fest is the newer of the two and is followed on August 27-28 by the Arts Festival on Walnut street which is now in its 20th year. Make sure to also check out all the great bars and restaurants in the Walnut street environs. This is the second and last day of the festival and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Walnut Street Business District, Shadyside.
5) Our battlin’ Buccos take the diamond again today against the Atlanta Braves. It’s also Kids Day, with a Family Fun Zone outside the ball yard beforehand, and all fans 14 and under receiving a Kids Portable Speaker and a chance to run the bases after the game. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. Next up for the Pirates is a home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Tuesday. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.