“Fixing King John,” running July 18 – August 2 at Off the Wall Theater, by Kirk Lynn is a triumph in both parody and irony. This contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King John” capitalizes on vulgarity and juxtaposition in order to create a beautiful trashy train wreck that works in every respect. On top of the fantastic script, Steven Wilson’s directing and the acting of No Name Players highlights every nuance needed to carry this splendid and hilarious piece of writing into the realm of healthy endearment for Shakespeare.
Pittsburgh music-lovers were out in full force at the Twentieth Century Club on Friday evening, July 18, when “SummerFest” gave them a taste of grand opera by a German composer – a treat they get only a couple of times each decade. Richard Strauss’s music was more than welcomed by a good-sized throng, who gave the piece one of the most demonstrative receptions the writer has heard a Pittsburgh audience bestow on an operatic performance in quite some time.
“The Fantasticks” opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village on May 3, 1960, and chalked up 17,000 performances before closing on January 13, 2002, making it the world’s longest running musical.
Those who attended this “SummerFest’s” first performance of the musical on the evening of July 12 left the Twentieth Century Club with a new appreciation of the piece, as quite a few audience members confessed to having seen the show on a number of previous occasions. The rest of us left with a brand new understanding of the work’s enduring popularity.
The Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s “SummerFest” is in full-bloom at the Art Deco Theater in Oakland’s Twentieth Century Club. On Friday evening, July 11, its first performance of Franz Lehár’s perennial operetta, “The Merry Widow,” pleased what should have been a capacity audience. The fine cast, staging, orchestra, costumes and general excellence of the production will hopefully be enjoyed by even larger numbers when it is repeated on Saturday, July 19, at 7:30, and at the 2:00 matinee on Sunday, July 27.
World premieres are an interesting and scary thing, in the sense that you never know what you are in for. They are especially interesting and scary when it is written by a local playwright, as is the case with Cactus by Philip Real. It is a big task for a company to take on a developing script, and 12 Peers Theater has done just that with Real’s Cactus. However, Real’s script takes on some lofty issues, but falls flat.
The great thing about theater is that you don't always need a lot of something to make a great thing. Essentially you just need a good story and good creative minds to execute it. And all of that is present in an independent production I saw of The Pillowman. Great script? Check. Good cast? Check (In this case, all are recent Point Park graduates). Good location? Check. This play takes place in a basement.
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