“Teacher from the Black Lagoon” Creeps Up (CPs Sun., 2/16/2014)

1) Many of us had that one teacher who just scared us to pieces. Mine happened to be my sixth grade math teacher, and to my 12-year-old self, she was terrifying. What I didn’t know at the time (and didn’t realize until I taught my first class) was that all those teachers are human, just like the rest of us. The musical revue of The Teacher from the Black Lagoon follows Hubie and his friends as they explore and conquer their fears. Based on the book of the same name, the performance also features stories from other whimsical children’s books, including Dogzilla, Splat, and more. You can find your courage today at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School in Harmony. With a run time of 60 minutes, this show is perfect for younger children. 2 p.m. 126 Seneca School Rd., Harmony.

2) If the Olympics in Sochi have given you an itch for Russian culture, Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet, Swan Lake, will satisfy it. A vital staple for ballet enthusiasts and novices alike, Swan Lake draws from Russian folklore to depict the tale of Princess Odette, turned into a swan by a sorceress. With Tchaikovsky’s light-as-air melodies and dancers to match, as demonstrated in “Cignet’s Dance,” the Benedum Center may feel more like St. Basil’s Cathedral. Standing the test of time, the ballet is still referenced in current movies like the dramatic Black Swan and the lighter Despicable Me. Enjoy the music, pageantry, costumes, and dancers for a mid-winter treat to warm your soul. 2 p.m. 237 Seventh St., Cultural District.

3) Blurring the lines between morality and written law, Keith Huff’s play  A Steady Rain deals with tough questions many of us are afraid to ask. Now being staged by barebones productions at the New Hazlett Theater, the play focuses on two Chicago policemen who find that neither the law nor morality are entirely black and white. When a seemingly innocent job of returning a scared boy to his uncle turns deadly, these longtime friends must look into the gray area to save their friendship, their jobs, and their lives. Covering topics such as infidelity, racism, alcoholism, prostitution, and everything in between, A Steady Rain is more than a drizzle; it’s more like a hurricane on the emotional scale. 2 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square W., North Side.

4) If you’re making an Oscar movie checklist before the big night—just two more weeks—you’ll want to find a showing of Dallas Buyers Club. Based on a true story, this drama follows electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) after his 1985 diagnosis of HIV, when doctors told him he had a mere month to live. Not going down without a fight, the foul-mouthed Woodroof does whatever it takes to stay alive. Ultimately he bands together with others to search for, and share, new treatments that haven’t yet been FDA-approved.  With strong performances from Jennifer Garner as Dr. Eve Saks and Jared Leto as the transgendered “club” member Rayon, the movie offers a stirring (and at times unsettling) portrayal of the earliest AIDS fighters who refused to accept their diagnosis as a death sentence. Flying under the radar during its initial release, Dallas Buyers Club is now getting well-deserved attention with six Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Leading Actor (McConaughey), and Best Supporting Actor (Leto). Fair warning to the ladies who decide to have a movie date: you may need tissues.  The film is on several local screens; search “Dallas Buyers Club Pittsburgh” for theaters and show times.

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Jessica Dayhoff

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