Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at MCG Jazz; The Public Running ‘Disgraced’ (Sat., 4/2/16)

1) The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra with Hubert Laws is in concert at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild as part of the MCG Jazz series. The 10-piece ensemble is led by Sean Jones, artistic director and Mike Tomaro, associate director, The goal of the orchestra—which features many of the top names in the Pittsburgh jazz scene—is to bring together both established and newer musical talent  to celebrate the past and present of the city’s jazz heritage. The collaboration with NEA Jazz Master, flutist, Hubert Laws, will feature both new compositions and new arrangements. Tickets for the 6 p.m. show are already sold out, but are still available for the 8:30 p.m. show. 1815 Metropolitan St.

 

Isaac and Amir prove that you don't have to be a religious fanatic to hate the other guy.

Isaac and Amir prove that you don’t have to be a religious fanatic to hate the other guy.

2) Much of the buzz about Ayad Akhtar’s play Disgraced has focused on its hot-button subject matter. The central theme is Islamophobia, but many other forms of prejudice and social tension are explored. The play’s setup sounds like a crude ethnic joke—a lapsed Muslim, a Jew, a WASP, and an African American get together for a dinner party—and even though they’re all highly educated, progressive people, the talk turns heated and the knives come out.

Disgraced, now being given its local premiere by Pittsburgh Public Theater, received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And the play is more than socially relevant: It’s a riveting personal drama (see our review). The main character is a lawyer of Pakistani descent whose fast-track career has been interrupted when he is suspected of sympathizing with Islamic terrorists. 2 and 8 p.m. Performances through April 10. At the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

 

 

3) My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2—Now this is what you call “counter programming.” Here’s a film that’s the complete opposite of Batman vs. Superman. Cast your mind back to 2002 and the release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a tiny independent Canadian-American romantic comedy about a young woman from a very strong-willed, close-knit Greek clan, Toula, who goes and falls in love with Ian, a non-Greek WASP, leading to no end of complications with her family. Made on a budget of $5 million, the film grossed in it’s first year of release $242 million, making it one of the most profitable films of all times. Over the years, writer and star Nia Vardalos has hinted at a sequel and now she delivers. The marriage of Toula and Ian has hit a rough patch just as their teen-aged daughter Paris is dealing with troubles of her own. But things go from bad to even worse when a long-hidden family secret gets aired and everybody’s in crisis. Returning from the first movie are Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, and Andrea Martin. New to the series are Elena Kampouris, John Stamos, Rita Wilson, and Joey Fatone.  Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)