PBT ‘Mixed Repertory #1’; ‘The Evening’ at New Hazlett (Fri., 10/23/15)

1) The season opener for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is one of the company’s specialties: an eclectic evening of short modern ballets, put together to give audiences a sampling of the state of the art. This time the three ballets—Western Symphony, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, and Sinfonietta—are the works of choreographers George Balanchine, William Forsythe, and Jiří Kylián, respectively. The late Balanchine, born in Russia, immigrated to the United States and became more American (and more creative) than apple pie; his Western Symphony is an homage to the West where cowboys roamed. Forsythe and Kylián are still alive and working. Their ballets are more avant-garde and unlikely to send you home hummin’ and hoppin’ to a buckaroo tune. 8 p.m. Performances through Sunday. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)


2) Playwright/director Richard Maxwell is from North Dakota, which may help explain why the experimental theater pieces he creates with his current outfit—the New York City Players—have a spirit that’s a cross between far-out and down-home. Heard the one about two guys in a bar? Actually, two bozos and a broad (she’s the bartender), with electric guitars thrumming seemingly at random, and with soliloquies and confrontations that induce a state of aesthetic excitement tempered by confusion and dread? That is Maxwell’s The Evening, presented in Pittsburgh by the Andy Warhol Museum and the New Hazlett Theater. The video review at the beginning of this piece should help illuminate the experience. 8 p.m. Tonight only. At the New Hazlett, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)

3) One would be hard pressed to think of a more socially relevant play than Water by the Spoonful, by Quiara Alegría Hudes  It also happens to be very good—having received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012—and Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts is giving Water its premiere production in Pittsburgh. The characters include a hard-luck veteran of the Iraq war, his upwardly mobile but frazzled sister, and their mother, a recovering crack addict—plus a motley crew in various locations who frequent a recovery-oriented Internet chat room organized by HaikuMom, as she calls herself online. So you might say it’s all there in Water by the Spoonful: the human tragicomedy in its many modern manifestations, as it is lived in urban America and in cyberspace. 8 p.m. Continues through November 1. At the Henry Heymann Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (MV)

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Rick Handler

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