Save The Dates: EQT Children’s Theater Festival 2017

Save the dates for Fun and Fantastic Performances! Continue on to keep reading the Press Release from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.


Source: Festival: EQT Children’s Theater Festival 2017, Cultural District on Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Pressroom


Pittsburgh, PA–The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the EQT Children’s Theater Festival will be held May 18-21, 2017 in the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh. In the 31st annual celebration of international children’s programming, attendees are encouraged to enjoy six sensational performances, including a United States premiere, in addition to more than 35 family-friendly activities. The festival is presented by the Children’s Theater and Festival division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Single tickets for the featured performances go on sale to the public on Monday, January 30, 2017.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 31st EQT Children’s Theater Festival with wonderful international performances and expanded programming for all ages,” shared Pamela Komar, Director of Theater, Music and Youth Programming and Executive Director of the Children’s Theater Series and Festival at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Once again, we are excited to invite performers from around the globe to foster cultural exchange and wonder through the performing arts. From popular stories coming to life to interactive outdoor theater performances, festival activities are created to inspire and engage all ages. We look forward to creating memories at this year’s festival!”

The 31st EQT Children’s Theater Festival features ticketed performances by six award-winning theater companies from Australia, Mexico, the United States, Denmark and Northern Ireland. A mix of teen-focused performances, like Simple Gifts, and child-centric shows such as The Way Back Home, this year’s festival has something for everyone. The schedule includes the United States premier of Pulse, a theater experience carefully designed for the youngest of theatergoers using texture and lively games to invite infants and toddlers into a creative space. More than 35 free activities designed to complement featured performances, including hands-on activities, public art and music at numerous indoor and outdoor spaces will take place throughout the Cultural District.

For the fourth year, the EQT Foundation, the charitable affiliation of EQT Corporation, will serve as the lead and title sponsor of the Children’s Theater Festival. Established in 2003, the EQT Foundation provides educational opportunities for children, as well as adults, values the development of liveable communities, and is committed to the preservation of natural resources. The EQT Foundation prides itself on being a responsible corporate citizen and invests in programs that promote an understanding of culture and heritage.

“The EQT Foundation is honored to return as underwriter of the EQT Children’s Theater Festival, an exceptional event that brings international performing and visual artists to the region for our children to experience first-hand,” said Charlene Petrelli, President, EQT Foundation.  “We are proud to share these outstanding arts and educational programs with our region’s youth and provide opportunities to promote awareness of global cultures, as well as local heritage.  The EQT Children’s Theater Festival never disappoints with its array of extraordinary events for the enrichment of all attendees.”

For 31 years, the EQT Children’s Theater Festival has brought the community the diversity and culture of international arts and entertainment without having to leave the Pittsburgh area! The festival has featured performing artists from around the world, spanning six continents, and is known for presenting unique, globally-inspired arts, music, one-of-a-kind installation, premiers and free hands-on activities for any age. The festival welcomes everyone to participate in the educational and cultural experiences that bring people together when enjoying elements of fun and surprise. The festival serves as a gateway for children of all ages to experience professional performing arts programming that inspires, challenges, educates, and stimulates respect for and an understanding of all cultures in an entertaining and enlightening way.

Featured Ticketed Performances
All ticketed performances will take place in the Cultural District.  Single tickets for the featured performances go on sale, Monday, January 30, 2017.  For tickets and information, please visit, call 412-456-6666, or visit the Theater Square Box Office at 655 Penn Avenue.  Groups of 10 or more, please call 412-471-6930 or visit:

For a full description of each Featured Ticketed Performance, including performance times, please visit 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters – An African Tale by Dallas Children’s Theater
United States
Ages 5-11 | 65 minutes
Venue: August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue

When Mufaro learns that a great African king wants to meet the most worthy and beautiful women in order to choose a wife, he decides that both of his daughters should go.  During their journey to the King, Mufaro’s beautiful daughters Manyara and Nyasha encounter mysterious situations that test their courage, kindness and strength of spirit.  Celebrate goodness, generosity and love with traditional chanting, rhythmic drumming, and glorious African song in this beautiful Zimbabwe-based Cinderella tale based on the 1988 Caldecott Honor Award book by John Steptoe.  The story was adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott, with music and lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa.

The Way Back HomebyTeater Refleksion and Branar Theater

Denmark and Ireland
Ages 3-8 | 40 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: he flies into outer space!  Millions of miles from earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake.  The boy makes a daring landing on the moon where he realizes he’s not alone up there.  Based on the book by Oliver Jeffers, The Way Back Home explores the boundless imagination of children through puppetry, wonderful music, and creative wordless storytelling. 

We Built This City by Polyglot Theatre
All Ages | 30 minutes
Venue: 7th Street & Penn Avenue, Outdoor interactive installation, with partial tent

The whole family will enjoy building the cities of their dreams in this giant cardboard construction site.  Thousands of cardboard boxes take over in this interactive performance where children build entire cities and towns of skyscrapers, tunnels, and sprawling estates that reflect the time and place of their immediate culture.  With a rocking soundtrack and Polyglot Theatre artists roaming the site, We Built This City is one of the happiest projects you will ever experience.  We Built This City is made possible in-part by the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment.  Established in 2015, the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment supports adventurous theater for young audiences.

Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In a Play!
The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour
United States
Ages 3-8 | 60 minutes
Venue: Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street

Elephant Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through plenty of pachydermal peril and swiney suspense in Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!  This vaudevillian romp of a musical is based on Mo Willems’s beloved, award-winning, best-selling children’s books.  Together, these best friends face fundamental questions like: What do you wear to a fancy pool costume party? Should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Backed by the nutty backup singers The Squirrelles, the duo even gets the audience involved in the action. You’ll be doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance all night long!  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series.

*Sensory Friendly Performances, which will include interactivity, rhythm, repetition, reduced sound levels and gentle lighting is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Simple Gifts by Cashore Marionettes
United States
Ages 7+ | 60 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

Experience a series of touching and poignant scenes from everyday life told through a beautiful and skillful manipulation of marionettes.  Set to music, this theatrical and artistic program will provide an entertaining and sensitive vision of what it is to be human.  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 EQT Bridge Theater Series.  

Pulse by Teatro al Vacio
Ages 0-2 | 30 minutes
Venue: Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue

Carefully designed for the youngest of theatergoers, Pulse uses textures and lively games to invite infants and toddlers into a safe, positive, and friendly environment that will stimulate their sense of creativity. Actors create an extraordinary space ready for exploration, connecting with simple materials to transform their surroundings into a world of play.  This event is a U.S. premiere.

Sensory-Friendly Performance Schedule
Sensory-friendly events during this year’s festival include Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In a Play! taking place at the Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Sensory-friendly performance will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

The festival grounds and featured performance venues are fully handicap accessible. ASL interpreters are provided for featured performances upon request when requests are made at least 10 business days in advance. For information and questions, please call (412) 456-6666.

Other accessibility offerings include:

  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms located at Theater Square.
  • ADA-compliant cable covers are used throughout the outdoor pop-up spaces, where applicable.
  • Guide animals are welcome in all festival locations.
  • Large-print programs are available at information booths.
  • Sensory-friendly performances.

For more on accessibility, please visit

Festival Logistics
The festival grounds will include a variety of food options and vendors, visual art programming at local galleries, pop-up green spaces, free hands-on activities, and free outdoor performances coordinated with Youth Express. Festival hours are 10:00am-2:00pm on Thursday, May 18 and 10:00am-6:00pm on Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Information booths will be open during festival hours providing information, tickets and merchandise. Each Featured Performance venue will have staff on-site 60 minutes prior to show time.

Tickets and Information
Tickets are $9 for features performances. Multi-show packs are available and offered for as low as $6 per show! Flex Vouchers from the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series and EQT Bridge Theater Series are honored for all ticketed events taking place during the festival.  Visit, call (416) 456-6666, or pick up tickets in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call (412) 471-6930, or visit

Parking and Transportation
Reserve parking vouchers in the heart of the Cultural District at Theater Square Parking Garage. A limited number of vouchers will be held for festival visitors each day. To reserve your parking voucher, call 412-456-6666 or visit the Box Office at Theater Square.

Festival travel as convenient and comfortable as possible! For information about parking lots and garages in the Cultural District, visit This site shows real-time parking availability in over 20 downtown parking lots with parking inventory updates every 30 seconds.The Cultural District is serviced by public transportation options through the Port Authority of Allegheny County. For more information, visit

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for their participation and support of the 2017 EQT Children’s Theater Festival. 

Special Thanks To

EQT Foundation

Citizens Bank

Gateway Health

Giant Eagle, Inc.

Allegheny Regional Asset District

The Buhl Foundation

The Fine Foundation

The Grable Foundation

The Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The Sprout Fund


Alco Parking Corporation


City of Pittsburgh

Katie’s Kandy

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Roving Art Cart

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Media Partners

91.3 WYEP



Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Saturday Light Brigade

Youth Express

Families and Festival Friends help the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to continually present affordable, high quality theater productions. Giving $100 or more grants Members access to reserved seating at the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series, EQT Bridge Theater Series and EQT Children’s Theater Festival. As a Member, you’ll also receive many other terrific benefits for a full year ! Visit or call 412-471-3518 for more details.

The EQT Children’s Theater Festival (celebrating its 31st year in 2017) is one of only four international children’s theater festivals in the nation.  The festival is known for performances and area premieres from artists around the world, free outdoor arts, music and installations, and unique free hands-on activities for any age. The festival welcomes everyone to participate in the educational and cultural experiences that bring people together while enjoying elements of fun and surprise.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. For more information, visit

Follow us on Twitter @CulturalTrust, and like us on Facebook.

Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents Twelfth Night

“Very Funny, Well Acted. Well Done.” 

Last night, we had the chance to see Twelfth Night at Press Night. Thank you, as always, to the incredible staff and volunteers of the Pittsburgh Public Theater for their patronage and support!

The Company delivered a clever and well choreographed production, definitely worth the price of admission for an intimate performance of a sophisticated comedy.

Gretchen Egolf Performs as Olivia
Mitchell Jarvis performs as Feste
Brent Harris performs as Malvolio







A Comedy by William Shakespeare  January 26 – February 26, 2017 O’Reilly Theater   Continue to read the Press Release: Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents Twelfth Night Director Ted Papas…

Source: Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents Twelfth Night

Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents Twelfth Night



 A Comedy by William Shakespeare 

January 26 – February 26, 2017

O’Reilly Theater

Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger


Continue to read the Press Release:

Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents

Twelfth Night

Director Ted Pappas celebrates love and laughter with a lively new production of William Shakespeare’s rowdy and romantic comedy.

PITTSBURGH (January 12, 2017) Pittsburgh Public Theater plays on in grand style with William Shakespeare’s masterpiece of comedy, Twelfth Night. Directed by The Public’s Producing Artistic Director, Ted Pappas, Twelfth Night runs January 26 – February 26, 2017 at the O’Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater’s home in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District. For tickets call 412.316.1600 or visit Twelfth Night is presented by Highmark.

William Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night as a brilliant entertainment to end the holiday season for the Elizabethan court. Ted Pappas sets his production pre-World War I, with jazzy original music composed by Michael Moricz. The songs are sung by Feste, who is played by Broadway veteran (Rock of Ages) and Carnegie Mellon grad, Mitchell Jarvis. Accompanying him live on stage are Curio (Chad Bender on piano) and Valentine (Andrew Miller on guitar).

The action takes place in Illyria, where outspoken Viola (Carly Street) washes ashore after a shipwreck. The fact that she has a twin brother, Sebastian (Max Rosenak), complicates things as the play unfolds. Pretending to be a boy, Viola serves Duke Orsino (Timothy D. Stickney), who burns with unrequited passion for the noblewoman Olivia (Gretchen Egolf). But Viola’s gender disguise leads to an outrageously out-of-whack love triangle among the three.

Also causing a stir in Olivia’s household are carousers Sir Toby Belch (John Ahlin) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Daniel Krell). Along with the not-so-gentlewoman, Maria (Helena Ruoti), they trick pompous steward Malvolio (Brent Harris) into ridiculous public displays of affection for Olivia. Rounding out the cast in this play that’s both funny and moving in equal measures are Tony Bingham, Don DiGiulio, and Drew Stone.

The design team for Twelfth Night is James Noone (Scenic), Gabriel Berry (Costumes), Kirk Bookman (Lighting), and Zach Moore (Sound). Casting is by McCorkle Casting. The Production Stage Manager is Ruth E. Kramer and the Assistant Stage Manager is Phill Madore.

Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger

Pittsburgh Public Theater Presents

Twelfth Night

January 26 – February 26, 2017

Performance Schedule

Tuesdays at 7 pm.

Wednesdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm (except Feb. 8).

Saturdays at 2 pm (except Feb. 4) plus 2 pm on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Sundays at 2 & 7 pm (except Feb. 26 when the final show is at 2 pm).

Press Night is Thursday, Feb. 2. Opening Night is Friday, Feb. 3.

Ticket prices: $30 – $62. Tickets for students and age 26 and younger are $15.75.

Discounts for groups of 10+ are available by contacting Casey Helm at 412.316.8200 ext. 704 or

Ticket prices are subject to change.

For tickets call 412.316.1600, go to, or visit

the O’Reilly Theater Box Office.

Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger
Photo credit: Michael Henninger

Kinky Boots is Back!

Tonight is opening night… will I see you there? Show starts at 7:30 PM!

Other showtimes include:

  • Wed, Sep 21 @ 7:30 PM
  • Thurs, Sep 22 @ 7:30 PM
  • Fri, Sep 23 @ 8 PM
  • Sat, Sep 24 @ 2 PM
  • Sat, Sep 24 @ 8 Pm
  • Sun, Sep 25 @ 1 PM
  • Sun, Sep 25 @ 6:30 PM

Get your tickets (starts at only $34.00)!

KINKY BOOTS is Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit! With songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. Inspired by true events, KINKY BOOTS takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan.

(, 2016)


Click here to read more from The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Review: Matilda the Musical

Ok – I am one of those people. You know the ones… who never saw the movie, or knew that the movie was based on a book… yet, accepted the RSVP for the Matilda show with the intentions to treat my daughter to a night of culture. Together we read the Playbill introducing the cast, and by the plot summary we thought it sounded true to movie… or at least what we caught from the trailer on YouTube two hours before the performance.

#matilda Thank You Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh CLO #pncbroadwayseries #pncbroadwayinpittsburgh

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Winner of 50 international awards, including the Tony Award®, and one of the biggest hits on Broadway, MATILDA THE MUSICAL is the story of an extraordinary  girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Rolling Stone calls the show “hands down the BEST MUSICAL of the season.” Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, MATILDA continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

– Matilda The Musical, 2016

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The Stage

The show begins with a fast paced introduction to Matilda’s life’s disposition. Now, I could introduce you to characters or break down the story act for act. But, unlike me, I’m sure you have heard the story before, and know to expect a pair of rotten parents, a nasty schoolmistress, an a super powered little girl who moves objects with her eyes, and changes opinions with her big, loud mouth. She always speaks her mind when she feels something isn’t right, a trait all little girls should aspire to have. And then a sweet and soft spoken super hero comes into Matilda’s life and by pure coincidence… or was it in the stars for the two worlds to collide and change everything they knew of the universe.

The children in the cast deserved every ovation. The production casts 3 Matildas, and Lily Brooks-O’Briant was the actress at center stage last night (June 1). Her performance was truly flawless. Her notes, on point. Those words… how does a 9 year old girl know such long, complicated words so well to sing, and pronounce and dance along to the beat. What talent these children have! The adults were okay too, I guess. I will be honest – the adults’ acting was a little too heavy and overdone, the accents were thick and made it difficult to understand the conversations. Though it was not hard to follow the action. The special effects and choreography repeatedly outshines the screenplay with each number, and built up the audience reactions perfectly timed. It was a pleasant night made for extraordinary memories.

To get tickets to one of the remaining shows, please visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Website. Matilda The Musical runs from Tue, May 31 – Sun, Jun 12, 2016 at The Benedum Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.


Review: The Illusionists

Intensity. That is probably the best word I can find to describe the feeling being among the audience watching “The Illusionists, Live from Broadway”. Absolutely chest tightening, what’s going to happen next type intensity. As warned, I discovered this wasn’t your standard everyday magic show.

And, yes, they warn you.

#411inthe412 #theillusionists Thank you @culturaltrust #trustarts

A post shared by Carri Finkbeiner (@411inthe412) on

It begins with a quick introduction, continues with a little humor and some audience participation. (and if you were there, you’d know we Pittsburghers showed off some pretty slick Improv skills. Dale, those gloves… priceless)

Seamlessly, acts moved from one to the next showcasing mind-blowing talent of trickery and amazement. Each performer had a specialty, some defying death for the sake of a challenge.

Fire, music, acrobatics and dancing… but no smoke and mirrors. This magic is the real deal. I thought by the closeness between my seat and the stage that I would see something television hides. Nope. I saw cards go blank before my eyes, and one guy shoved a quarter behind his eye. But he was fine. He cut open his arm and squeezed it out of an artery. How the hell did he do that?

For that matter, how the hell did they do any of it? I was locked out of my house once and it took me over an hour to do what the Escapist did with 2 handcuff locks and a padlock with only a paperclip in three minutes, holding his breath, with his eyes closed. I’m still holding my breath in anticipation and the deed has been done. It takes an incredible passion, and a lot of practice, to be among their league.

And just when we’d thought spring had finally sprung, The Inventor brought back the snow. Don’t know I’m talking about…? Get tickets, go see the show. I would spill more details about the show, but it would be completely unfair to spoil the story. Find out for yourself why I am still wondering how that egg got into the bag.

2016-04-20 21.34.01

The Illusionists are in town until Sunday. To get tickets please visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s website at


This mind blowing spectacular showcases the jaw dropping talents of seven of the most incredible Illusionists on earth. THE ILLUSIONISTS– LIVE FROM BROADWAY™ has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. This non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions. (, 2016)



Thank you as always to @culturaltrust #trustarts for their continuing support. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust always has something for all ages.

2016-04-20 19.23.26

Review: Rain, A Tribute to The Beatles

Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles returned to Pittsburgh this Monday, for a one night only performance. My 19 year old son was excited to be my date, as he grew up listening to me grow up with my parents listening to them grow up with The Beatles. Whew!! Three generations of adults all whom have found a special love for the greatest band of all time.

2016-02-22 19.33.59
What an amazing collage. Photo credit: 411inthe412
2016-02-22 19.33.47
My son and I Photo credit: 411inthe412

This was my second time experiencing Rain, and many of my friends asked me, “Are they any good?”

Well, let me tell you a little story that goes like this… two, three, fo –

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” Imagine a concert, a play and a history lesson with a little bit of audience participation all wrapped up into two acts of music and imagery. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful stuff and not your everyday cover band. Decades of performing together have bonded the Fab 4 to perfect melodies, harmonies and even individual body language, facial expressions and quirks of the boys themselves.

Their day names are Steve, Paul, Joe and Aaron… but at night they are John, Paul, George and Ringo (Ob-la-di Ob-la-da). They play the music of The Beatles, live with instruments, as nothing is prerecorded or lip synced. They endure 5 costume changes between video clips taking you through the Magical Mystery of the 60’s and how The Beatles came to Let It Be.

What started as a cover band has become an incredible Broadway production appropriate for all ages of music lovers. Thirty nine songs composed this night’s performance; although many of the infamous twenty seven #1 hits were played, they squeezed in some lesser popular songs to give it the real feel of the flip side. Some included, “In My Life”, “Girl” and “If I Fell”. And, each member wowed with their own solo renditions including Paul’s “Yesterday”, John’s “Across The Universe”, George’s “Here Comes The Sun” and Ringo’s “A Little Help From My Friends”.

My first experience last year left me in tears, and this year was no different. I sprouted goosebumps more than once and found myself singing, dancing and hugging my son during every love song. It was magic.

As compared to the first time I experienced Rain, it just seems to get better, like a fine wine. Or, perhaps my Beatle appreciation is growing and I’m finding more to enjoy about the show. Either way – I hope they come back next year.

I love you @raintribute

Click here to order essential Rain Gear!

Thanks as always for the continuing support of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust @culturaltrust


Review: Cabaret

Meine Damen und Herren,
Mes dames et Messieurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen…
Guten Abend! Bon Soir! Good Evening!

und welcome to the Cabaret!

Willkommen beinvenue welcome! #Cabaret @culturaltrust Thank you!! @411inthe412

A post shared by Carri Finkbeiner (@411inthe412) on

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, The Roundabout Theatre Company made its way to the Benedum Center this week as part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh Series. I danced at the opportunity to see their production of Cabaret, as I was a virgin. Don’t believe me? Just take my word for it. This was my first time at the Cabaret. Call it a pilgrimage.

Photo Credit: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Photo Credit: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Cabaret (re)visits a turbulent era, between world wars, when an aspiring novelist from America visits Berlin to find boarding and inspiration. Naive Clifford Bradshaw arrives. Within hours he meets a series of people who will stage for the plot of his wildest adventure: a charismatic burlesque performer, and her whims. Sally Bowles, who has been in Berlin for too long, and tries to initiate an instant romance with Cliff, is worldly, decadent and intoxicating. All is marvelous, until crises arise, and too many are left facing whether its nobler to do the honorable thing, or walk away.

Randy Harrison served as “Emcee” quite deliciously. If he looks familiar, it may be from his previous TV role on Queer As Folk.  The multitalented Kit Kat Girls (und Boys) feverishly decorated the stage from beginning to end in their raunchy, indulgent ways, with and without instruments, or clothes. Andrea Goss gave a great opening night performance, enrapturing the persona of a carefree, selfish yet sincere Sally. Her solos shined, but her best numbers were choreographed with the company. Everything was just beautiful.

Even the Orchestra was beautiful.

A little FYI:

The Roundabout Theatre Company has been recognized with 29 Tonys, 41 Drama Desks, 50 Outer Critics Circle, 10 Obie and 15 Lucille Lortel Awards for its work on five stages, reaching more than 700,000 theatergoers and employing hundreds of artists each year. Bank of America is a proud 50th Anniversary Season sponsor – a partnership that makes possible Roundabout’s many productions and not-for-profit initiatives during this landmark year.

I was, in a word, overwhelmed, by my first live Cabaret experience. Religion, politics, abortion, money, sex, drugs, dancing and music. What else? Italian fruit. This Valentine’s Day, I hope to find a pineapple on my pillow. It has been the raciest show I’ve seen at the Benedum Center, which leads me to hope there may be more…

Go… see this show… leave the kids at home, and don’t tell mama.

To get tickets or more information about this production, please visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust by clicking here.

Upcoming showtimes: Wednesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.; Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (, 2016)

Thank you, as always to The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for their continuing support.

Review: The Wizard of Oz

The epic tale of Dorothy Gale (and her little dog too) made its way to Pittsburgh this week at The Heinz Hall of Performing Arts. Last night was opening night; my daughter and I were there in the 9th row during our first Mother Daughter date of the new year. This was very exciting for us, as we are both fans of the movie. It may sound cliché, but we truly had no idea what was in store when the curtain rose.

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‘Mindblowing’ is all I can think of to describe this unique journey to Kansas, to Oz and back again. The show began with a screen of clouds, and the stage was set to a gorgeous sepia lighting, giving the scene the old fashioned black and white cinematic appearance of the 1939 film. We met the lead characters in their Kansas forms as an uncle, and aunt and a few funny farmhands who haven’t the time to humor Dorothy’s drama, until Toto bites the leg of the town’s nastiest neighbor. Miss Gulch threatens to have Toto destroyed, causing Dorothy to run away from home to avoid losing him. She stumbles upon a friendly travelling Professor, who intrigues her to believe there is a place, Over the Rainbow, where she is loved and understood.

Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

But, there is no time for that now, there is a storm a’brewing.

An untimely twister scoops up the Gale house and drops it into a land, far away, full of color and magic, and more specifically on top of the Wicked Witch of the East killing her instantly. And that’s when the real story begins.

One by one we are reintroduced to our cast in their colorful counterparts of a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion (who is “proud to profess is a Friend of Dorothy” despite his lack of nerve), a Wicked Witch after a coveted pair of ruby slippers, and a Great and Powerful Wizard (or so we think. Spoiler alert: He’s not *that* great).

Sarah Lasko played a bold, and sassy Dorothy, full of spunk and wit. Her stage and singing performances were on point, and she ensured pure confidence in her presence.

New songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were weaved to the complete lineup of classics enhancing the story without straying from the original script, and giving a more personable depth to the characters, especially The Wicked Witch of the West. Honestly, The Witch’s solo was powerful enough to almost make me feel sorry for her and her disposition. Almost. Or, at the very least, I now want flying monkeys of my own.

Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

My daughter was most impressed by the high quality graphics of the many drop screens layering the lay of the land, and the three dimensional feel you get being whisked away into the eye of the storm, among the lightning bolts and flying cows. Yes, that’s right. Flying cows. This IS Kansas afterall.

I was most impressed with the loyalty to the original script. There was very little improvisation, changing lines and storyline alterations. I could almost speak the story from memory right along with the characters. Although, I was amused when Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, “I think I will miss you most of all.” And, the Lion and Tin Man replied with a big, fat and loud “Thanks a lot!!”

The Wizard of Oz will be playing Jan 6 – 11, various show times. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Click here for the official Press Release

As always, we thank The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for their continued support of our blog.