Pittsburgh Public Theater Previews ‘Pride and Prejudice’; ‘A Comedy of Tenors’ at Apple Hill Playhouse (Thurs., 9/27/18)

Actor Andrew William Smith proudly holds the red ball high in his role as sister Mary in the The Public's 'Pride and Prejudice,' and who knows what the others are up to? (Photo: Michael Henninger)

Actor Andrew William Smith proudly holds the red ball high in his role as sister Mary in the The Public’s ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and who knows what the others are up to? (Photo: Michael Henninger)

1) Pittsburgh Public Theater begins its first season under new Artistic Director Marya Sea Kaminski with a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The adaptation is by theater artist Kate Hamill, who also starred in last year’s New York premiere as lead character Elizabeth Bennet, with her real-life partner as Elizabeth’s suitor Mr. Darcy. The Public doesn’t have such casting, but it has a play that’s sure to evoke delight and/or controversy among Austen fans. Whereas Austen wrote her 1813 novel in undertones of sly, ironic humor, Hamill’s stage version takes it over the top. This Pride and Prejudice opens with the ensemble, in period costume, performing a song: the 1965 rock hit “The Game of Love,” from Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders. There’s more mindbending to come. The actors play out Darcy’s courtship of fiercely independent Elizabeth (here called “Lizzy”) amid rapid-fire stunts that include role-switching, cross-dressing, and cheeky flippancy galore. Altogether, the characters’ “game” of dancing around social conventions in pursuit of true love becomes a sort of theatrical speed chess. But is it true to Austen’s spirit? Those who approve say “Check, mate.” 8 p.m. Continues through October 28. At the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

2) A COMEDY OF TENORS by Ken Ludwig. It’s sequel time, as we get the follow-up to Ludwig’s 1989 Broadway hit Lend Me a Tenor. The titanic but troubled tenor Tito Merelli returns for a comical encore which finds him caught up in Parisian shenanigans with three other tenors. 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through September 29. Apple Hill Playhouse. 275 Manor Rd., Delmont. (MV)