Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Double check your deductions...
Just in time for tax season, Greenburg Civic Theatre presents the outrageous farce Love, Sex and the I.R.S. March 2-4.  Directed by Patty Rafferty, the comedy will be performed at the Greenburg Garden and Civic Center.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Babies are born everyday.

But in Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven, the current offering at Off The Wall in Washington PA, this everyday occurrence becomes anything but ordinary.

Ruth (Tressa Glover) and Anna, (Robyne Parrish)  a lesbian couple, is having a baby--with the help of their gay college friend Peter (Tony Bingham).

Trouble is, Ruth and Anna already have a family--three imaginary children who are their alter-egos: Cecil, a nine year-old genius; Henry, an eight year-old French boy; and Orphan who is 7 and was raised by wolves.

Peter believes that before their real baby arrives, these imaginary children have to go.

Under the direction of Linda Haston, the "offing" of these imaginary children is nothing short of a laugh riot.  First-nighters were complaining of sore sides and tired jaws from the non-stop laughs.

The cast is brilliant with pitch-perfect comic timing.

But it is Glover who gives the tour-de-force performance of the show.  She has three unforgettable moments.

First, she simultaneously plays both Henry and Orphan fighting over a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.

Next, she has a lengthy death scene as Orphan succumbs to rabies.

Finally, there is a very touching scene when Henri doesn't want to quietly into "that good night."

And, yes, it is an outrageous comedy--but And Baby Makes Seven does have some touching emotional moments.  Bingham portrays genuine, fearful doubts about his ability to be a good father to the child who is on the way.  Parrish has a funny emotional (but don't say "hormonal") breakdown, when pregnancy just gets to be too much for her.  However, Parrish never moves believable as a hugely pregnant woman.  She glides gracefully across the stage, never making the obvious padding convincing.

But that is just a minor complaint in what is otherwise a "do not miss" production.

Once again, set designer Paul A. Shaw finds simple ways to make the most of Off The Wall's small stage.

And while it is a play about the creation of a new kind of family, And Baby Makes seven is NOT family-friendly entertainment.  There is adult language and very adult situations--so leave the children at home!

And Baby Makes Seven runs through March 10.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A new arrival…
Off The Wall in Washington PA is presenting Paula Vogel’s play …And Baby Makes Seven from February 24 through March 10.  Directed by Linda Haston, the comedy looks at a new definition of “family” as a pair of lesbians and their best gay friend decide to have a baby!  The production features Tressa Glover, Tony Bingham and Robyne Parrish.
Joint venture…
Cup-A-Jo and 72nd Street Films are joining forces to create a new company to combine live theatre with other forms of media.  The new company is called Claochu and will present its first venture Hospitality Sweet from February 24-March 11 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  Written by Roger Rueff, Hospitality Suite explores loyalty, life and death as seen through the eys of three salesmen.
Monologues…part two…
Catch the second installment of the Pittsburgh Monologue Project this Saturday, February 25.  The evening of solo performances will be performed at 8pm at the ModernFormations Gallery.
A little bit of Lanford…
From February 24-26 the Robert Morris Colonial Theatre will present Lanford Wilson’s play The Rimers of Eldritch.  Directed by Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre, the production will be in Massey Hall.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Moliere, Money and THE MISER

The old proverb says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  For French playwright Moliere, the love of money is also the root of comedy, particularly in The Miser.
Presented by the Red Masquers of Duquesne University, director (and designer) John E. Lane, Jr. has transported this classic comedy from France in the 1600’s to New York City in the 1920’s.  This change results in a very handsome production.
Lane’s set is simple but lends itself beautifully to the action.  There is a black-and-white checkerboard floor, black walls with sconces and yard-upon-yards of red chiffon.  An old-fashioned stock ticker and mounds of ticker tape grace the edges of the set.
As a director, Lane has imbued the production with a great deal of physical humor and downright slapstick comedy.  It definitely reaches its most sublime with Daniel Jones as the Irish brogues Magistrate.  Jones (with Lane) wrings all the humor possible from a set of handcuffs!
Jay Keenan is wonderfully funny as Harpagon, the tight-fisted miser.  Keenan cuts a dashing figure in his tail coat and truly shines when he brings the audience into his confidence with his asides.  Keenan, too, proves himself adept at the physical comedy.
The production can be uneven, though, with all the performers not playing at Keenan’s level.
Sarah Weisel does a very amusing character turn as Maitriss Simone, and Jacob Wadsworth scores laughs with his slow-witted servant Brindavoine.
I had some apprehensions going to see a “classic,” but this production of The Miser blew the dust off all my misgivings.
The Miser closes February 18.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


In case you didn't notice, there's an article in today's (2/16/12) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announcing their 2012-2013 season.

Among the shows is the musical 1776 about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Artistic Director Ted Pappas notes that one of the "challenges" to doing 1776 is "finding housing for all the out-of-town performers."

I think I have a suggestion to solve this "challenge."

Why not cast some of the highly talented local Equity actorsd already in Pittsburgh?  There are hundreds of them!  And they already live here!  No need to house them!

Maybe if the Public did this, more of the local professional theatres would follow suit and hire some of the amazing talent Pittsburgh has to offer?

Just a thought...

Monday, February 13, 2012


The Heritage Players will perform the romp Bedroom Farce by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn from February 17-26.  Check out what's happening under the covers at the Bethel Park Community Center.

From February 17-25 the Three Rivers Theatre will perform a modern adaptation of Aristophenes' Lysistrata.  Women show their power over men in this classic sexual struggle.  Performances will be at the Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport.

Ron Ferrara directs Don't Dress for Dinner, a farce about a man, his mistress, the wife and a gourmet chef.  The comedy runs February 17 through March 14 at the Theatre Factory in Trafford.

Yes, February 14 is Valentine's Day, but it's never too late to say "I Love You."  Local chanteuse Cathi Rhodes presents An Apres Vantine Show with Cathi on February 18.  Enjoy dinner, dessert, drinks and love songs at Our Coal Miners Cafe in Jennerstown.

Sunday, February 5, 2012



The Pittsburgh Monologue Project launches its 2012 Season this week on February 11.  12 Peers Theatre will be presenting this series of original monologues at ModernFormations Gallery.  The first installment is called Yinzer Love and is directed by Vince Ventura.


The Red Masquers of Duquesne University will present Moliere classic comedy The Miser from February 8-18.  Noted Pittsburgh actor Jay Keenan will play the title role; John E. Lane, Jr. directs.  All performances will be at the Peter Mills Theatre in Rockwell Hall on the Duquesne University campus.


Out of the Can will mark the debut performance for One Mom Productions and Tinned Pineapple.  On February 9 and 10, they will perform a series of monologues by local playwright James Michael Shoberg.  The performances will take place at ModernFormations Gallery.