Public Presents “Noises Off”; Russell Peters Visits Pittsburgh Improv (CPs Thurs., 5/29/14)

1) Pittsburgh Public Theater concludes its Masterpiece Season with the acclaimed post-modern farce Noises Off. Penned in 1982  by English playwright Michael Frayn, Noises Off is a play within a play. Specifically, it presents the first act of a play called Nothing On three different times, from three different perspectives, at various points during the cast-within-a-cast’s mastery of the play. The first (first) act takes place during an early rehearsal, the second during a Wednesday matinée shortly after the play’s opening, and the third near the end of the play’s run. The word “mastery” is used loosely here: Over the course of the play, the cast and production slowly unravel due to theatrical ineptitude and personal tension. Interestingly, the play’s program has traditionally featured a fictional program within its program—with fictional advertisements to boot. Directed by Don Stephenson. 8 p.m. Through June 29. O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown.

2) Russell Peters brings his kinetic observational humor to the Pittsburgh Improv. Active for over 25 years, this Toronto-born Indo-Canadian comic isn’t the type to pull punches—he gazes upon race, class, and culture with a refreshingly honest (and often vulgar) attention to detail. His bluntness has, in turn, jettisoned him to success, making him one of the highest-paid comedians in the world. Though many of Peters’ punchlines riff on his own Anglo-Indian background, no one is safe; his act is all-inclusive, a veritable melting pot of racial humor. His aim is not to offend anyone—but merely to tell the truth. Very much the product of a multicultural society, Peters has created an act that relies heavily on masterfully crafted impressions—not of celebrities but of a remarkable array of accents, languages, and dialects. The one language he doesn’t speak? Political correctness—so leave it at the door. 21+. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Through June 1. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

3) R5 brings its boyish (or, in Rydel’s case, girlish) good looks and Radio Disney pop-rock sensibilities to Stage AE. The name R5 is derived from the names of Colorado-born siblings Riker, Rocky, Ross, and Rydel Lynch—three brothers and a sister, respectively—who formed R5 in 2009 with their friend, drummer Ellington Ratliff. They’re natural-born entertainers, with component members having been featured on shows like Disney’s “Austin & Ally,” and FOX’s “Glee.” The titular five pride themselves on having fun and their positive attitude. Says Riker, “…if someone is feeling down, and they listen to our music and come to our shows, hopefully for that one night they can forget their problems and feel like nothing else matters.” Scoff if you’d like, but your young daughter probably likes R5; don’t be surprised if you find yourself in attendance. 6 p.m. 400 N. Shore Dr., North Shore.

4) According to WhyHunger, nearly 15 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2009, unsure where they would find their next meal. Indeed, WhyHunger is dedicated to finding a cure to this deadly epidemic. New York City singer-songwriter Jen Chapin performs at Club Cafe, with proceeds benefiting WhyHunger’s noble mission. Chapin appears not only as a representative of the Artists Against Hunger & Poverty initiative, but also as a board member of WhyHunger and the daughter of founder Harry Chapin. Smooth and breezy, Chapin’s urban folk music has been featured on national programs like “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”; here, she plays selections from her new release, Reckoning. She is joined by Pittsburgh native Damaged Pies, also a member of the Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program. 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th  St., South Side.


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Dan Hoyt

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