St. Paul & The Broken Bones Play Stage AE; Pittsburgh Playhouse Has ‘Spring Awakening’ (Wed., 3/16/22)

1) St. Paul & The Broken Bones closed the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival with a roar heard ’round the Point in 2017. St. Paul (née Paul Janeway) sings with a Sam Cooke-esque range and depth of soul. The Broken Bones, resplendent with horns, further lift his voice. The band is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and has released four albums, most recently this year’s Alien Coast.. Sharp songwriting matches the moving instrumentation. “Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 1,” “Pt. 2,” and “Pt. 3,” from 2016’s Sea of Noise, allude to a Winston Churchill quote. St. Paul and the Broken Bones have toured around the world and have played the mother of all opening gigs: playing before the Rolling Stones. They will perform at Stage AE. Special guest is Three Sacred Souls. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., R.H.)

SPRING AWAKENING (musical) by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, from Frank Wedekind’s play. Conservatory Theatre Company at Pittsburgh Playhouse. March 16 – 20. 

2) During the 1890s, while Sigmund Freud was investigating the psychic roots of sexuality (or was it the sexual roots of the psyche?), a German playwright named Frank Wedekind could not find a company willing to produce his play. Spring Awakening was about young teenagers and sex. The subject matter included masturbation, abortion, incest, rape, and teen suicide. Wedekind had written the play to criticize repressive social attitudes, by showing the problems young people can get into when they don’t learn to deal with sex openly and sensibly, but nobody would touch it. For more than a century, Spring Awakening was rarely produced anywhere. Then two Americans, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, turned it into a rock musical. This Spring Awakening won eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical) in 2007 and became a global cult hit. The musical, like the original, is set in 1890s Germany and follows Wedekind’s plot closely, amping it up with songs like “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally Fucked.” The onset of spring is a fine time to see Spring Awakening. Point Park University’s Conservatory Theatre Company presents the musical at Pittsburgh Playhouse. 7:30 p.m. 350 Forbes Ave., Downtown. (M.V.)

3) Celtic Thunder has now been entertaining audiences for over ten years. Featured singers Damian McGinty, Ryan Kelly, Michael O’Dwyer, Emmet Cahill, and Neil Byrne backed by an eight-piece band that includes strings, guitar, percussion, and pipes, has something for everyone. You’ll get smooth and mesmerizing vocals along with crisscrossing genres of traditional Irish, classical, and adult-contemporary music when the super-group stops in Greensburg for a performance at the Palace Theatre. With deep and complex harmonies, as in “Amazing Grace” and “Toora, Loora, Lay,” Celtic Thunder may give you some of those “oh-my-gosh-that-was-amazing” chills. 8 p.m.21 W. Otterman St. 

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Rick Handler

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