Quantum’s ‘Looking for Violeta’ Continues in Frick Park; ‘Cabaret’ Onstage at Little Lake Theatre (Thurs., 8/15/19)

Posing archival-photo style are the cast members of ‘Looking for Violeta.’ Standing, L to R: Kelsey Robinson, Raquel Winnica Young, and Eugene Perry. In front are Emily Pinkerton, Jerreme Rodriguez, and Carolina Loyola-Garcia as Violeta. (photo: Heather Mull)

1) On the heels of staging King Lear at Carrie Furnaces, Quantum Theatre returns to the great outdoors—this time in Frick Park—with a world premiere titled Looking for Violeta. The subject is the late Chilean folksinger and artist Violeta Parra. Though not a household name in this country, Parra was (and still is) a legendary figure in Latin American folk music. During the course of a stormy life and career, she: became known as an interpreter of folk songs from throughout Central and South America; devoted herself to curating Chilean folk music; composed and performed her own songs; lived in and toured from Paris; exhibited her art at the Louvre; returned to Chile; recorded prolifically; and had two marriages, a longtime partner, children, grandchildren, and a famous brother. Violeta Parra committed suicide at age 50 in 1967.

Looking for Violeta is a play with music, or perhaps music with a play. Written by Venezuelan theater/screen artist María José Galleguillos, it includes original music by Pittsburgh-based singer-songwriter and ethnomusicologist Emily Pinkerton. Playing the lead role is performer and multidisciplinary artist Carolina Loyola-Garcia, professor of media arts at Robert Morris. The famous brother—poet and theoretical physicist Nicanor Parra, who died last year at age 103—is played by bass-baritone Eugene Perry. And who pulled this whole thing together? Quantum Artistic Director Karla Boos, of course. Looking for Violeta is performed under a tent at the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Greens, See our review. 8 p.m. Performances continue through August 25.  7300 Reynolds St., Point Breeze.  (MV)

Violeta Parra (Loyola-Garcia) dancing with her brother Nicanor Parra (Perry) as the ensemble joins in the fun.

Violeta Parra (Loyola-Garcia) dancing with her brother Nicanor Parra (Perry) as the ensemble joins in the fun. (photo: Heather Mull with processing by Boom Creative)

2) Cabaret is not a rock musical, but it officially rocks. A Rolling Stone readers’ poll ranked it one of the 10 best musicals ever. Set in Germany amid the Nazi takeover between the World Wars, Cabaret is a story of people trying to party or at least lead normal lives while their society goes nuts. It has everything from great songs to ironic humor to gripping drama, and each production seems to bring out new dimensions of this 1967 Tony Award winner. The 1972 movie featured an ultra-chilling rendition of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” Multiple stage revivals starred Alan Cumming as the extremely kinky Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub. Little Lake Theatre presents Cabaret with Jeff Johnston as the Emcee, Ashley Harmon as Sally, and Jared Pfenningwerth as Cliff. 8 p.m. Runs through August 24. 500 Lakeside Dr. South, Canonsburg (MV).