Second City at Public Theater; Donny and Marie at Consol (CPs Thu., 12/12/13)

1) Turn on the TV this month and there’ll be plenty of heartwarming stuff about the holidays. But come to Pittsburgh Public Theater this week to see all that is awkward and ridiculous about them. The legendary Chicago improv troupe Second City is in town from today until Saturday with its Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue. The show has sketches about everything from uneven gift exchanges with a romantic partner to a couples therapy session with messianic parents Joseph and Mary. As with all Second City productions, some of the material will be decided by you in the spirit of improv. 8 p.m. 621 Penn Ave, Cultural District.

2) Not a mere ’70s artifact, Donny and Marie Osmond — those ever-wholesome, show-business siblings with perfect teeth — have a chemistry that has also served them through a late-’90s talk show, a ’00s Las Vegas revue, and, most recently, a tour that stops by the Consol Energy Center today. The constantly smiling musical/comedy twosome will be performing a holiday show. All their years of fame and fortune haven’t changed Donny and Marie: She’s still a little bit country, and he’s still a little bit rock and roll. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

3) “True Hollywood Stories,” Charlie Murphy’s fictionalized accounts of life as part of his actual brother Eddie’s ’80s entourage, were the funniest sketches from the “Chappelle’s Show,” a program on which nearly every bit was hilarious. (You of course remember, “I’m Rick James, bitch!”) They also utilized Murphy’s storytelling ability, a hallmark of his mercilessly gritty stand-up routine. Today, he starts a three-day stint at the Improv with The Acid Trip tour, in which he promises to confront the unreal-seeming state of America’s current reality. 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

4) The holidays are a time of warm familiarity and routine, and that certainly goes for classical musicians. Like musical groups across the U.S. this month, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is playing a Holiday Pops show at their Heinz Hall home. The program starts today and continues throughout this weekend and next Friday and Saturday. With help from the Mendelssohn Choir and a few soloists, they’ll move through such long-standing favorites as “Sleigh Ride” and “Joy to the World.” 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

5) Though it seems like everyone with a few songs on classic rock radio has inspired a horde of tribute bands, there aren’t many homages to the Allman Brothers Band out there. Maybe it’s because it takes seven musicians and load of technical talent to recreate “Whipping Post” or “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Well, Live at the Fillmore has seven musicians and loads of technical talent,  as you can see and hear for yourself when they move through a set of the Georgia band’s timeless hits tonight at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. 103 Slade Ln., Warrendale.

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Nick Keppler

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