‘The Summer King’ Steps Up to Bat at Pittsburgh Opera; The Me Toos’ Album Release Party at Spirit (Sat., 4/29/17)


1) Pittsburgh Opera is staging the first world premiere in its 78-year history, and it is an opera about one of the city’s legendary baseball stars. The Summer King is based on the life of Josh Gibson, who during the 1930s and ‘40s played for both of the area’s prominent Negro Leagues teams, the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Gibson, a catcher and prodigious hitter, is now enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame and is rated one the game’s greatest players ever. He also had a tumultuous and ultimately tragic life: he traveled out of the country at times to play in Mexico and the Caribbean; hoped to break baseball’s color line by being invited to join a Major League team (but was not); and died young—of a stroke, at age 35—in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Portland, Maine-based composer Daniel Sonenberg, an avid baseball fan, has collaborated with librettist Daniel Nester to write The Summer King. It’s an opera of epic scope that sets out to capture the drama and discord of Gibson’s times as well as the high and low points of his star-crossed career. 8 p.m. Pre-opera talk from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Continues through May 7. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) The Me Toos is a Pittsburgh-based group who feature a blues-based sound with accents of rock and roll, garage, and punk. Several bands that the group says have influenced them include: The Sonics, The Velvet Underground, Guided By Voices, and Ty Segall. The Me Toos formed in 2008 and have previously recorded three digital albums. They are set to drop their fourth, Ghost Fly By, with a release party at Spirit. Special guests are The Spectres and Vertigo Go. 10 a.m.  No cover. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville.

3) Do you like a band that can deliver a wide range of cover tunes with tightness and great musicality? If so, we submit for your approval The Move Makers Band. Songs from Motown, Michael Jackson, Rick James, as well as recent songs like “Blurred Lines,” “Moves Like Jagger,” and “Get Lucky” are all part of their repertoire. They will get the women (and men) up and dancing. So make that move right now to Headliners at The Meadows. 8 p.m. No cover. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.

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Rick Handler

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