Don’t Cry, “Evita” at Benedum; Sing Along With Joe Firstman, Cordovas at Club Cafe (CPs Tues., 7/8/2014)

1) Pittsburgh CLO is proud to present Evita, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s blockbuster musical about Eva Perón, Argentina’s First Lady from 1946 until she tragically died of cancer in 1952, at the age of 33. A passionate advocate for the poor, Perón was immortalized on the British stage by Webber and Rice in 1978. The show opened on Broadway in 1979 and was the first British musical to win a Tony Award for Best Musical, though not everyone enjoyed it. The title role was originally played on Broadway by Patti LuPone, who was famously critical of the character that she said “could only have been written by a man who hates women.” The criticism didn’t slow the show, though, and it has been running in various forms ever since, including the 1996 film starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. It’s opening at the Benedum Center tonight at 8 p.m., with additional performances every day through Sunday. 803 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.

2) The Cordovas were founded in Nashville by singer-songwriter and band leader Joe Firstman, a self-made man who traveled from North Carolina to Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus to launch his musical career several years earlier. Firstman found quick success out west, signing a deal with Atlantic Records and touring with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Willie Nelson. He released six studio albums as a solo artist and even saw some TV time as the band leader for four years on “Last Call With Carson Daly.” In 2011, Firstman founded Cordovas, and they have been busy since, releasing two albums and touring nationally. The lineup currently consists of Firstman, Graham Spillman, and Pat Heraghty. They’ll be at Club Cafe with special guests Brandon Sensor and Douglas Lowell Blevins for an 8 p.m. show. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

3) In 1853, the steamboat Arabia was built and launched in Pittsburgh. Three years later, it struck a tree and sank beneath the murky waters of the Missouri River, filled with numerous necessities  for frontier life. In 1987, after years of searching, Missourian Bob Hawley and his sons unearthed the remains of the Arabia and found thousands of artifacts perfectly preserved in the mud. Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia at the Senator John Heinz History Center features nearly 2,000 of those objects, eyewitness accounts from passengers aboard the doomed vessel, and even a memorial to the wreck’s only casualty—a mule left tied to sawmill equipment on a lower deck. The exhibit runs through Jan. 4, 2015. Heinz History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. 1212 Smallman St., Strip District.

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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