Calm before the Storm w/Mark Dignam at Club Cafe; PBT Premiers New Works: Craig Shoemaker at PI (Fri., 3/16/18)

1) If you prefer a fun yet more dignified celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, then Club Cafe‘s seventh annual The Calm Before the Storm – A Night of Irish Traditional Music and Song with Mark Dignam & Friends might be the ticket for you. Mark Dignam was raised in Finglas, a North Side Dublin suburb, where he showed early aptitude as a singer. He moved to Dublin at 18 and began busking on Grafton Street. The Waterboys, Van Morrison, and Sinéad O’Connor have watched him perform. Dignam released his debut LP, Poetry and Songs from the Wheel, in 1995. He is now Pittsburgh-based and has appeared on KDKA’s “Pittsburgh Today Live.” He and his band, The House of Song, released Re-Build in 2014. Recent concerts include his 50th birthday celebration in January at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. On his Facebook page last year, he called The Calm Before the Storm “a beautiful, beautiful night,” when he gets to celebrate his culture “(properly) with some of my most cherished (talented, singers, musician and poet) friends.” The tradition continues. 8 p.m. 56 – 58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

 2) PBT: NEW WORKS (modern ballet)—The show presents world premieres of seven short pieces choreographed by PBT dancers. Principal dancers Amanda Cochrane, Julia Erickson and Yoshiaki Nakano and Corps de Ballet members Jessica McCann, William Moore, JoAnna Schmidt and Cooper Verona have each choreographed a work for the program. They’ll also dance in the works by other choreographers in the performance. March 16-25, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

3) Comedian Craig Shoemaker takes the stage at the Pittsburgh Improv this month. Shoemaker is a purveyor of observational comedy, including relatable jokes about pop culture, parenthood, and nostalgia, as well as many other topics. He is especially known for his fun, raunchy, deep-voiced character The Lovemaster. The character was even made into a feature-length film. (Hey, if SNL can do it, why not Shoemaker?) A voice actor by trade, Shoemaker uses spot-on impressions (his coked-out Barney Fife impression is on point), and often engages the audience beyond the clichéd “what’s-your-name, where-you-from.” With a career spanning more than 25 years, Shoemaker has received numerous awards for his stand-up performances and even had his own special on Showtime. He has had appeared in a number of television shows, including “Parks and Recreation,” “Spin City,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and in his first role, as an entertainment reporter on “Matlock.”  Film credits include Scream 2, Safe House, and National Lampoon’s Totally Baked: A Potumentary. Currently he is a writer for the Netflix sitcom “Fuller House.” A native of Philadelphia, Shoemaker attended Temple University and then transferred to California University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in radio, television and theater. Shoemaker has an inspirational nonprofit called Laughter Heals which he founded in 2003. 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Performance through tomorrow. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead. (EC, RH)