Opening Night for ‘Cabaret’ at Benedum; Cattivio Hosts Givers (Tues., 2/2/16)

1) The ruling artistic style of our time is dystopian. So many cultural products are created in this key that they ought to carry warning labels, lest the masses suffer dystopian overdose. Yet some perennial classics stand out from all the look-alikes, one of them being Cabaret, by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff, of which a new touring production visits Pittsburgh. This Tony-winning Best Musical of 1966 is not set in any shadowy, unspecified future time and place. Cabaret is drawn from Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin, set in the actual dystopia of Germany during the early 1930s. The Depression had flattened people’s spirits, and while many sought an escapist lift in kinky night spots like the musical’s Kit Kat Klub, another kind of spirit—Hitler’s—crept over the scene. If you know Cabaret from the movie with Liza Minnelli (above) and Joel Grey, you’ll find the new road show dials up the kink even further. It is produced by the maestros at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company, who did the revival that featured Alan Cumming as a deliciously wicked Emcee. Randy Harrison of TV’s “Queer as Folk” plays the Emcee here. 7:30 p.m. Performances through February 7. Benedum Center, 237 7th Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

2) Listen to Givers’ single “Up Up Up” and try not feeling, well, up! The song is all light vocals and sparkling instrumentation. (You may recognize it from a Windows 8 advertisement that was on TV a couple of years back.) That sense of optimism continues with “Record High, Record Low,” a single off the indie pop quintet’s sophomore album, 2015’s New Kingdom. Before that was 2011’s In Light, a debut which garnered them an appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Givers began in Lafayette, Louisiana after members Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco were displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. But from tragedy came opportunity—an impromptu jam with the future members at a Lafayette pub and, voilà, a new indie band was formed. They’ve opened for idols Dirty Projectors in the past; now they headline. This is the group’s second stop in Pittsburgh in less than a year. In July, Givers wowed a packed house at Club Cafe, with Lamson especially showing off her multi-instrumental prowess. This February, they come to a similarly sized venue, Cattivo. Doe Paoro opens. 7 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. (CM)

3) The Pens face off against the Ottawa Senators tonight in a 7 p.m. game at the Consol Energy Center. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are just back from the NHL All-Star game in Nashville. Sidney Crosby was not named to the All-Star team this year, hopefully that will spur him to great things in the run to the post season. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

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Rick Handler

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