‘The Onion’ Peels Back Some Layers; Playhouse Gives ‘Sweet Charity’ (Fri., 3/24/17)

1) An onion has many layers including multi award-winning The Onion, which started as a weekly satirical print publication in 1988 by students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. A website was launched in 1993 and they moved to an all digital platform in 2013. The company has been sold several times, including for less than $20,000 by the founders in 1989. In 2009 the media company even started false sale rumors with fictional Publisher Emeritus T. Herman Zweibel stating he’d sold the publication to a Chinese company—Yu Wan Mei Corporation. They supported the gag with fake news stories and features in The Onion about Chinese-related topics. They’ve adapted with the times and now have humorous videos from Onion Studios and a sister website called Clickhole which satirizes click bait ads on websites. Now’s your chance to hear all about The Onion “straight from the horses’ mouth.” A few members of The Onion’s creative staff will talk about their process, discuss and show some of their top stories and videos, and speak about new media. The Onion has been called “arguably the most popular humor periodical in world history” by The New Yorker. Their appearance is part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trusts’ Pittsburgh Humanities Festival 2017. 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District.

2) Sweet Charity is based on Nights of Cabiria, an Italian film directed by Federico Fellini. Whereas the protagonist of Nights of Cabiria concerns a sex worker, Sweet Charity involves a taxi dancer, i.e., a dancer-for-hire named Charity Valentine. For an idea of Charity’s love life, consider that the musical opens with her boyfriend stealing her handbag and pushing her into a lake. Things change (or do they?) when she meets Oscar Lindquist, a shy accountant. Sweet Charity displays the genius of a triumvirate of Broadway legends: Neil Simon wrote the book; Cy Coleman composed the music; and Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1966 and has been revived numerous times. 8 p.m. Performances through March 26. Point Park Conservatory Theatre is staging it this month in the Rockwell Theatre at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 8 p.m. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. (CM)

3) Tonight at the PPG Paints Arena there’s a showdown between our Pens. and the New York Rangers. After this one, only eight games remain until the playoffs start.  The Pens are currently residing in third place of the NHL’s Metropolitan Division with very little space separating them from the first place Washington Capitols and second place Columbus Blue Jackets. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

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Rick Handler

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