‘The Lion’ Continues its Run at City; Spitfire Grill Remains Open for Biz at Front Porch (Thurs., 6/2/16)

1) Theater fans needing a vacation from dystopian satire and postmodern irony might do well to catch Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion. Scheuer, a singer/songwriter based in New York, has created a one-man stage musical that is said to be warmly humorous and unashamedly uplifting (see the video above). And before you say “Yeah, yeah, for that we could stay home and watch Julie Andrews movies,” consider that the show has been a hit with discerning avant-garde audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, off-Broadway, and elsewhere. The Lion is an autobiographical piece. Scheuer sings and talks about confronting various misfortunes in his life, from his father’s untimely death to his own diagnosis with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (The performer discussed that episode—musically, of course—in a TEDx talk, and he’s currently cancer-free.) City Theatre has Scheuer and his multi-award-winning The Lion here in Pittsburgh for a three-week run. 8 p.m. Performances through June 5. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. (MV)

2) The Front Porch Theatricals company does two musicals per year and they’re always interesting choices. Past shows have included Next to Normal, the Pulitzer-winning rock musical about mental illness, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. Front Porch starts this year with The Spitfire Grill, wherein the heroine is a woman paroled from prison after serving a sentence for manslaughter. Seeking a new start, she lands a job at a small-town restaurant where strange adventures await. The Spitfire Grill was adapted by off-Broadway theater artists James Valcq and Fred Alley from a 1996 movie of the same title and has been a cult favorite among regional theater companies. Front Porch is staging it at the New Hazlett Theater. 8 p.m. Through June 5. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)


3) Money Monster  Jodie Foster takes on her fourth directorial assignment with this narrative look at the financial meltdown of 2008. George Clooney plays the host of a cable financial television show (think Jim Cramer and Mad Money) a bombastic, insufferable narcissist always happy to pimp the latest Wall Street “can’t lose” offering. Jack O’Connell is a regular investor (a.k.a. sucker) who fell for Clooney’s pitch and, eventually, lost everything when the stock mysteriously tanked. He bursts into the studio where Clooney and his producer, played by Julia Roberts, are broadcasting live and threatens to blow himself up (along with everyone in the building) unless he gets answers regarding the financial chicanery. The movie plays out in real-time as the principals seek to undercover the truth. Giancarlo Esposito and Dominic West also star. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)