Tommy James and The Shondells Play Palace; Jim Brickman Valentine’s Show at Byham; Benedum Hosts PBT’s ‘Great Gatsby’ (Thurs., 2/14/19)

1) Pop-rock blasters Tommy James and the Shondells got their start in Niles, Michigan, but their big breaks came right here in the Pittsburgh area. Unknown to James, his group’s early and near-forgotten cover of “Hanky Panky” became a hit at local dance clubs in 1965—and from there, long story short, it was onward to stardom with late-’60s singles such as “Mony Mony,” “Crimson and Clover,” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” James and the Shondells have kept on rocking through personnel changes and changing times. 8 p.m.  The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (MV)

2) Jim Brickman is a platinum selling adult contemporary musician who’s originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He’s also a two-time Grammy-nominated musician and is well-known from several concerts he did on PBS TV. Brickman has collaborated with many recording artists including Martina McBride on “Valentine.” His special performance on Valentine’s Day is being called Share the Love, it promises to be an evening of entertaining and romantic music.  7:30 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District.

Alejandro Diaz and Hannah Carter dance a romantic scene from Pittsburgh Ballet's 'The Great Gatsby.' (photo: Duane Rieder)

Alejandro Diaz and Hannah Carter dance a romantic scene from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’ (photo: Duane Rieder)

3) You read it in school; now see the ballet. East Egg, West Egg, Roaring Twenties angst, and adultery aplenty all come to life as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dances The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has been adapted many times in multiple media, notably in the 2013 Baz Luhrmann film with Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, the glamorous millionaire in love with a woman married to man who runs around with other women. It’s a story of idealism and excess dissolving into tragedy—which seems to be a recurring pattern of Western civilization—and, since the theme is embodied in personal drama, it also lends itself to dance. The Great Gatsby has been made into more than one ballet. This one is choreographed by Canadian dance artist Jorden Morris, familiar to PBT audiences for his previous ballets Peter Pan and Moulin Rouge. Music by composer Carl Davis, played by the PBT Orchestra. Attendees can expect a Jazz Age aura and are not required to write term papers. 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through February 17. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

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Rick Handler

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