Paul Shaffer and World’s Most Dangerous Band Play Palace; The Courtney’s at Cattivo (Sun., 4/2/17)

1) Kevin Bacon has appeared in so many movies with so many other actors that some very creative individuals developed the Kevin Bacon Game in which they would see how many degrees of separation existed between Kevin Bacon and other actors. If one was looking to produce a musical version of that game, a good candidate would be Paul Shaffer. He was one of the lead musicians on “Saturday Night Live” from 1975 to 1980. Starting in 1982, he was the musical director for “Late Night with David Letterman” and its World’s Most Dangerous Band. After Letterman moved the show to CBS, Shaffer continued as the musical director, this time for the CBS Orchestra.

Shaffer has also been the musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies since it started in 1986 and led the band for the “We Are the World” finale of Live Aid. I would imagine there aren’t many degrees of separation between Shaffer and almost any musician! He will be appearing with The World’s Most Dangerous Band and vocalist Valerie Simpson (formerly of Ashford & Simpson) at The Palace Theatre. There is a meet and greet VIP ticket also available. This would bump you up to just two degrees of separation from many top musicians. 7:30 p.m. 21 West Otterman St., Greensburg. 

2) The Courtneys are a Vancouver, British Columbia, trio whose sound harks back to ’90s alternative bands such as Pavement, Sleater-Kinney, and of course Hole. After releasing their 2013 self-titled debut on Vancouver-based label Hockey Dad Records, The Courtneys quickly spread their wings, touring much of the United States and Canada and opening for Tegan and Sara. The road also took The Courtneys to Australia and New Zealand. The latter country is home to Flying Nun Records, which is itself home to some of the trio’s favorite bands, such as The Clean. The music video for “Silver Velvet” pays homage to the video “Splat” by Bailter Space, also on Flying Nun. You can probably guess which label is releasing their sophomore LP, The Courtneys II. Pittsburgh fans need not book an international flight to see them. Simply bike, Uber, or take one’s favorite Port Authority bus line to Cattivo. Hearken and Side Eye open. 7 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. (CM)

Prince Calaf (tenor Thiago Arancam) will not be denied in 'Turandot.'

Prince Calaf (tenor Thiago Arancam) will not be denied in ‘Turandot.’ photo: David Bachman.

3) Turandot was Giacomo Puccini’s last opera, and it is a spectacular but gruesome romance. The story, derived from an old folk tale, concerns a Chinese princess who refuses to marry unless a suitor appears who can answer three riddles—and the guesses don’t come free, as one wrong answer means death. In the opening act, a charming but erroneous young man is dispatched even while the crowd sings a plea for mercy. Naturally a suitor emerges who solves the riddles, but this infuriates the cruel princess, leading to further grim twists before the match is made. Puccini died in 1924 while working on the grand closing sequence of Turandot. Fellow composer Franco Alfano finished the opera, which premiered in Milan two years later. Considered musically brilliant if somewhat heavy-handed dramatically, the work has become an enduring favorite. 2 p.m. pre-show talk from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Last day. Pittsburgh Opera performs Turandot at the Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.

Homer (Raphael Nash Thompson) speaks in modern English in 'The Guard,' but it works. After all, ancient Greek was modern Greek back then.

Homer (Raphael Nash Thompson) speaks in modern English in ‘The Guard,’ but it works. After all, ancient Greek was modern Greek back then.

4) The title character in Jessica Dickey’s play The Guard is a museum guard—the kind who patrols galleries and shoos you back behind the no-step line if you get too close to the art. But rules are made to be broken. In this story the guard and his sidekick, a young new guard, strike up a friendly chat with an art student. They allow and even encourage her to touch the canvas of a 17th-century masterpiece. And when she does, all three are pulled into the world of the painting: Rembrandt’s Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer. This dream-world blossoms into multiple worlds, as Homer himself makes a dramatic appearance and incidents from Rembrandt’s chaotic personal life are replayed. The Guard explores the interplay of life and art along with themes of love and death and of time and mortality. City Theatre is staging The Guard here as part of its mission to present notable new and recent plays; see our review for more. 2 p.m. Ends today. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. (MV)

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Rick Handler

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