Advertise Here / 412-628-5048 - Joann Quinn-Smith   Positively Pittsburgh Live Magazine   Find out about Positively Pittsburgh Live Magazine and how you can participate.  

Video Tutorial: What is a Page and how do I use it?
Video Tutorial: How do I view shows and listen to audios?

Publish date:02-27-2014 18:33:00

  Subscribe to this Page's Posts:
via Email
Subscribe via email | via RSS Right-click the orange icon and click 'Copy the Link Location' (Firefox) or 'Copy Shortcut' (IE). Then paste it into your Podcatcher


Hometown Tourists in Pittsburgh! Everyday Pittsburghers reviewing events as they see them. Reviews on Pittsburgh Cultural Events, Dining, Night Life, Arts and Business Events.


Roving Pittsburgher Report - A Review of Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Feb 26th 2014 Performance

Porgy and Bess, an American Operetta
A Review of Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Feb. 26th 2014 Performance

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Joanne Quinn-Smith  |  Feb. 27th 2014

Some would like to call Porgy and Bess a Folk Opera, I prefer the work operetta. Even though there was serious content about a close knit group in Charleston's fabled Catfish Row, there still was light hearted banter at times and light footed music also. It might also be called a folk opera because of the cultural and political milieu when the residents of Catfish Row refer to the sheriff as "Boss."
Alicia Hall Moran as Bess
Nathaniel Stampley as Porgy
(photo courtesy: Michael J. Lutch) 

The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was first on the stage in 1935. Now the Tony award winning musical graces the Benedum Stage from February 25 thru March 2, 2014.

A musical playwright and composer can of course never go wrong opening any production with Summertime, one of the most recorded songs of all time.

Accompanied by a lush 23-piece orchestra, this re-envisioned Broadway production includes such legendary songs as Summertime, It Ain't Necessarily So, and I Got Plenty of Nothing.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is set in Charleston's fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the courageous Porgy. Porgy and Bess's relationship is threatened by her volatile lunk of a lover, Crown, and the seductive narcotic enticements of the dandy vice purveyor Sporting Life. The role of Sporting Life was originally developed by Sammy Davis Jr. but Kingsley Leggs and the ensemble reproduce a movie moment with It Ain't Necessarily So."

Porgy and Bess' unconventional romance triumphs as one of theater's most exhilarating love stories.

Kingsley Leggs as Sporting Life
(photo courtesy: Michael J. Lutch)
The power couple in the musical are young parents Jake and Clara, played with warmth and strength by Pittsburgh native David Hughey and Ms Ali. Jake is a fisherman and captain of the Sea Gull. He is willing to brave any danger to provide for his wife Clara. Jake believes with hard work, he can help his son go to college, but he's also part of a testosterone-fueled culture where men are judged by their muscle, and gambling and drinking are expected among peers. He leads the ensemble in the only half-joking "A Woman Is a Sometime Thing." But it makes no matter what scene he is in David Hughey commands the stage each time in duets and ensembles. His tall muscular frame is almost anachronistic in a musical. But he manages to create exaggerated movements reminiscence of a panther and the audience has a hard time keeping their eyes off his majestic presence. You could certainly see this at the end of the production when he and Sporting Life receive the most applause. Sumayya Ali's version of "Summertime," will haunt you long after you leave the theatre.

When it was introduced on Broadway in 1935, "Porgy and Bess" was a revelation not only for its depiction of a close-knit black enclave in the South, but for its mix of musical genres.

Director Diane Paulus and writer Suzan-Lori Parks have revived the classic folk opera of American theater. With all of its cultural stereotypes, still it brings a powerhouse production to a very receptive 21st Century audience.

Additional Performances at the Benedum Center:
Thursday, Feb 27th  |  7:30 PM
Friday, Feb 28th  |  8 PM
Saturday, Mar 1st  |  2 PM  and  8 PM
Sunday, Mar 2nd  |  1 PM  and  6:30 PM

Written By: Joanne Quinn-Smith
Joanne Quinn-Smith, Award winning internet radio broadcaster, blogger, author and internet radio and TV network editor and publisher. Joanne is the owner and CEO, Creative Energy Officer, of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, a successful Pittsburgh-based marketing company. She is a grandmother and great grandmother, an unlikely trendsetter for online journalism and broadcasting.

Joanne is internationally known as the Get Your Google On Gal, but better known as Techno Granny„c to over one million accumulated online listeners worldwide. Joanne has created a revolutionary online NEW MEDIA platform in Internet broadcasting, blogging and other social media participation that represents the new second generation of World Wide Web interactions, known in technology circles as Web 2.0. JQS is the online publisher of, an online community magazine to disseminate the Positive News for Positive Pittsburghers. PPL Mag is Pittsburgh's First Internet radio and TV network with syndicated channels and online radio and TV capabilities.

Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
(c) 2014


RovingPittsburgher 's Offers


Archived Episodes
Publish Date: 04-14-2014 03:30:00

Magical Inspiration
Review of the PSO's Bolero and the Sorcerer's Apprentice March 14th 2014 Performance
From: Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By: Josh Kurnot  |  March 15, 2014

Walking down the aisle to row k, right in the middle of the orchestra, I notice the grand piano on the forefront of the stage. I wonder what celebrity the orchestra would entertain on their stage that night. Little did I know, some of the world's most powerful fingers were waiting just off stage left. I cannot place the feeling at first while taking my seat, but there is a kind of quiet anticipation lingering in the theater. My only precedence to this performance is the childhood memory of the Disney movie Fantasia. In my ignorant bliss, I sit with my date grinning from ear to ear waiting to reminisce on fond innocent memories from my younger years, but little did I know¦

With due respect, the audience graciously welcomes Maestro Leonard Slatkin to the stage. Prodigy to his parents, the founders of the famed Hollywood String Quartet, Slatkin was born to conduct this very show. The show opened with French composer Paul Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This is the familiar tune from Disney's movie Fantasia, and its sounds coming from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's stage are just as whimsical and magical as I remember it as a kid. The simplest theme of the entire show was perfectly and playfully portrayed in this first piece, repetition. The Lucian tale of a sorcerer and his apprentice tell the story of how an apprentice's eavesdropping on the master's incantation to turn a common household broom into a drone for filling the water basin from the well leads the novice to an almost certain demise. The repetition in the orchestra starts low and mysterious as the sorcerer's stern words work in private. It then grows in volume and multiplies seemingly uncontrollably as the apprentice attempts to stop the drone from overflowing the water basin by chopping it in half; only creating yet another. The magnitude of the impending doom on the apprentice is magnificently displayed by the alternating unison of the violin section's two explicit parts. While the bows of one violin part are thrust into the air, the bows of the other part are pulled swiftly back down the opposite direction creating a magnificent but furious dancing effect atop the heads of the entire violin section. Towards the end of the piece, this effect is sustained for so long that I think it would last forever, leaving no refuge for the poor apprentice. Although I don't particularly care for all of the antics of Mr. First Violinist, I found quite a bit of entertainment in the fly away hairs of his bow flailing frantically about during this ferocious first piece. And at the end of it, Mr. First Violinist proudly grasped those few retired hairs from his bow and most triumphantly ripped them right out of their roots.

Michel Camilo
Photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
The next appearance on stage is Michel Camilo. The audience welcomes him with kindly as he takes his seat on the front of the stage at the keys of the grand piano. As Camilo's fingers began to strike the first few notes of his Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, Tenerife , his Latin heritage and Jazzy style are instantly apparent. Camilo's inspiration for this piece is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. In his own words, My intention was to compose about its great majesty, reflect on the warmth of its people, and portray the vibrant light so full of contrasting texture and color I have always perceived there. The first movement is inspired by a visit to the island's volcano and does an excellent job of personifying this wondrous place giving it absolute strength, a mind of its own, and a heart beat. Matching the strength of this volcano is Camilo's left hand pounding away at the repetitious rhythm that is the heart beat of this beautiful place. The community and warmth of the island's people is found in the echoing rhythms of the symphony orchestra. As the power of the volcano has a rhythm, so do the people who live who live in its shadow. This appearance marks the debut of Michel Camilo's performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. At the end of the first act finishing the third movement of Tenerife the crowd exploded with applause and cheers, especially from the balcony. So long did we applaud and cheer, not accepting no for an answer, that Camilo had to feel obligated to end his performance with a little extra personal flair. Not only did he flair, but his fingers fumed as Slatkin, the Symphony Orchestra, and entire crowd listened in awe.

Additional Performances:
Saturday, March 15th | 8 PM | Heinz Hall
Sunday, March 16th | 2:30 PM | Heinz Hall

Written By: Josh Kurnot
 Josh Kurnot is a student of engineering at West Virginia University in his senior year. He loves to visit relatives in Pittsburgh and attends as many cultural events as he can. He is an award winning photographer whose photograpy was featured on PositivelyPittsburghTV in a video, Roving Pittsburgher and Mountaineer Cheerleader, Josh Kurnot Tour the Strip.

Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 04-14-2014 02:46:00

A Superlative Combination
Review of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Evening with Mandy Patinkin Performance April 5th 2014

From: Roving Pittsburgher and
Written By: JoAnn R. Forrester, Host of Empress of Biz  |  April 6, 2014

On Saturday evening April 5 downtown Pittsburgh was filled with two types of fans, baseball and music. Both type of fans excited and looking for their team to deliver a winning performance. And my team, starring the Pittsburgh Symphony with Mandy Patinkin delivered a superb win. Our star player, Mr. Mandy Patinkin, singer, actor, performer well known for his Broadway roles in Evita and Sunday in the Park with George and beloved for his characters from film and television, such as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride and Saul Berenson in Homeland, the Tony delivered an unforgettable evening of popular song and Broadway Classics.

Mandy Patinkin musical range from baritone to tenor is incredible. His choice of songs demonstrated his amazing range of voice. His charismatic performance had all of us in the palm of his hand. Opening the show slow, easy and whimsical with It's not Easy being Green, he proceeded to deliver 90 minutes of pure Broadway delight with the following On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," Mr. Arthur's Place," Bohemian Rhapsody - dedicated to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," "Anyone Can Whistle," "Sunday in the Park With George" medley, "Rock Island"/"Ya Got Trouble, The Band Played On"/"Marie"/"Once Upon a Time," "Soliloquy," "Sorry/Grateful" and "Being Alive."

Mandy's performance was infused with wonderful personal stories with an easy interplay with the Pittsburgh symphony orchestra. He brings everyone along on his musical journey and personal memories on his career. It was fascinating for me to hear how he started as a teenager, with his first role as Billy Bigelow in "Carousel" and how he evolved and eventually performed with many of the great stars of Broadway.

The evening started with the Pittsburgh symphony led by conductor Fawzi Haimor. They played three selections with Broadway and movie themes: the "West Side Story" overture, selections from "My Fair Lady" and a medley from "Pirates of the Caribbean." I thoroughly enjoyed the symphony and their Fawzi Haimor exuberant and enthusiastic leadership of the symphony.

Hey Pittsburghers! Isn't it great that we have so many fantastic winning choices here in town? And if you wanted to make sure you had a winning outing then it's to the Pittsburgh Symphony you would be going.

JoAnn R. Forrester
Written By: JoAnn R. Forrester
Host of Empress of Biz
Anchor Internet Radio Show on

JoAnn R. Forrester is co-host of the Empress of Biz Talkcast and co-founder, president and partner in S. I. Business Associates, Small Business Solutions, LLC and Celebrate and Share. She is an entrepreneur, writer, business growth specialist, teacher, columnist and award winning writer. JoAnn specializes in helping small businesses grow and prosper. She is the co-developer of the PRICE IT PERFECT„c cost management system for small business, and has secured over 40 million dollars in loans and investment for her clients.
For more information visit Empress of Biz on

Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 04-13-2014 11:30:00

"Once" Not Enough, Must See Again!
Review of the Once the Musical's March 11th 2014 Performance
From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  March 12th 2014

From the get-go, Once the Musical had the audience of the Benedum Center captivated and it remained that way the entire performance. Lacking jazz hands, kicklines, hammy acting and spontaneous group song and dance numbers, Once the Musical felt more like an episode of tv sit-com How I Met your Mother peppered with organic radio-worthy music that was somewhere between the style of the Lumineers and Lady Antebellum. It was awesome. I loved it. And you should totally go see it!

Apparently the show is based off of the 2006 movie also called Once, which didn't fair so well at silver screen box offices. Obviously I didn't see it. But I'm telling you the musical is terrific. It is a romantic comedy and romantic tragedy in one. Fresh and set present day;  Witty and tender;  If you've ever loved, been heartbroken, felt loss, or felt giddy anticipation, you'll see yourself in the story and music of Once the Musical. Laughter and tears included.

The very organic and intimate feel of the entire production is initiated 15 minutes before the show begins when audience members can join the cast on stage of the Dublin pub set for drinks and music. As audience members are privately asked to take their seats, the cast continues to play another couple of songs and seamlessly transition into the show. The house lights finally go down a solid 10 minutes into the show as the unnamed Czech Girl enters the pub after hearing the moving voice and guitar playing of unnamed Irish Boy.

The typical romantic story unfolds. Stricken by woes of the heart, Boy swears off playing music; classically trained pianist, Girl has Boy fix her Hoover vacuum, Girl helps Boy piece his life back together; annoyed humoring begets a tentative friendship; friendship begets romantic hopes; but there's always something that complicates things¦ life, commitment, bad timing. I won't give away the ending, but will say true love is powerful.  Equally relatable themes are the importance of family and community:  small family business, loss of a parent, the new life as a widow, struggling to advance professionally.

The content of the show was touching, but how it was delivered was unique as well.  Every character plays an instrument.  Not only are they the cast, but the orchestra too.  And to prove it the pub set is lined with framed mirrors, which showcased the piano playing skills of Girl and brought a dimension to the set that pulled you in more.  To create different scenes great lighting was used and encouraged the imagination of the audience, including when they were on top of the set looking out into the ocean.

The whole experience was a fresh take on "going to a Broadway musical" and it was great.  I loved it so much I came home and downloaded the music on itunes and looked up when the show would be in the cities of my parents and siblings and told them that they had to go.  So I'll say to you too, take a break from kicklines and showtunes, not that I don't love me some traditional musicals, this is a show that you don't want to miss!

Additional Performances at the Benedum Center:
Wednesday, March 12th  |  7:30 PM
Thursday, March 13th  |  7:30 PM
Friday, March 14th  |  8 PM
Saturday, March 15th  |  2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday, March 16th  |  1 PM and 6:30 PM

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 03-15-2014 20:50:00
A Journey to the Past, Present and Future

An Iliad, a modern adaptation of Homer's Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, is the time-honored story of the Greek-Trojan war updated with modern language, contemporary references and future implications of the continued horror that is war.

Teague F. Bougere provides an enthralling performance is this one person show.  Alternately actor and narrator, Bougere as The Poet weaves the story of mortals and the gods of Greek mythology interspersed with references to conflicts throughout history up to 2014.  The epic story of Achilles and Agamemnon, Athena and Apollo, Helen of Troy and Hector, Hecuba and Hermes, Paris and Priam, and last, but not least, Zeus is told with an understandable pace, bringing this story with a historic sensibility to a current audience.

Bougere appears dusty and road-weary, then energized by the audience while engaging in easy banter, then repulsed by the dialogue of the classic tale.

The stage of Pittsburgh Public Theater's O'Reilly Theater has been transformed to a quasi-construction site cum battlefield.   The rough-hewn table becomes Paris' bed, then a platform for the recitation of conflicts and wars of far-reaching implications.  The scaffolding/ramparts provide a vantage for the observation of the historic battles from afar, as the majority of the audience experience war.

The Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of An Iliad, a 90 minute show without intermission, plays at the O'Reilly through April 6, 2014.

Reviewed  by Joyce Kane on behalf of Positively Pittsburgh Live Magazine.  Joyce is the owner of Cybertary Pittsburgh, a Virtual Business Support business that helps solopreneurs, business owners and individuals work 'on' their business rather than 'in' the business.


Publish Date: 03-07-2014 16:00:00

Oh My Stars, Sequins, and Symphony
A Review of the PSO's March 6th 2014 Pops Concert

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  March 7th 2014

What I fun concert! I don't know how else to start this review, other than that. I was seat dancing practically the whole concert and singing like a song bird all the way home. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Jack Everly presented All That Jazz , a musical montage of hits from Cabaret, Chicago, The Act, Kiss of the Spider WomanNew York, New York and more.

Jack Everly
(photo courtesy:
Michael Tammaro)
As the show opened with "Overture", I was thinking, with the Oscars having been just this past weekend, this sounds very movie-musicy sounding. (Yes, I have a music degree and that is a technical term, movie-musicy, well at least it should be.) Anyway, I knew we were in for a treat, because we would hear some of the most well known musicals in robust symphonic stylings. And then out came the singers to join in.

With a proper Willkomen from Ron Remke, the musical celebration of the songwriting duo Kander and Ebb was in full swing. Remke was joined by Nikki Renee Daniels, Ted Keegan, Pittsburgh native Kirsten Scott and Tony award-winning Beth Leavel. Though there were only five singers this was no park n' bark stuffy concert. The audience was both dazzled by the singing stars and bedazzled by all the glitzy costume changes.

Ted Keegan, who has previously sung the role of the Phantom on Broadway, whisked us away with First You Dream from Steel Pier. His voice will make you melt. He later showed a light-hearted comical side singing Mister Cellophane from Chicago. He is phenomenal!

The girls started spicing things up with Two Ladies and Everybody's Girl from Cabaret. One could totally see how Beth Leavel won a Tony. She is a total ham and your eyes will never leave her because she is such an entertainer on every level. The trio of gals kept the heat coming in the second half with City Lights from The Act and Cell Block Tango from Chicago.

John Kander and Fred Ebb
(photo courtesy:
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
While most of the music of the evening was upbeat, there was no mistaking the beautiful soaring voices of Nikki Renee Daniels and Carnegie Mellon graduate Kirsten Scott. Daniels beautifully performed one of the more tender pieces of the night, Go Back Home from The Scottsboro Boys. Scott sang gorgeously as well as showcased some sizzling and sultry dance moves in Roxie and Hot Honey Rag from Chicago.

The works of the super successful songwriting team John Kander and Fred Ebb have become contemporary musical classics. Their recipe of steamy and provocative story lines, snappy lyrics, and jazzy orchestration led to 5 decades worth of hit musicals and films.

Orchestras for musicals are normally much smaller, maybe to fit down in the close quarters of the pit. But, the PSO brought a robust and studio recording-like sound to these musical favorites, without sounding clunky. It was a great opportunity to hear snappy character and a jazzy side of the PSO's playing.

Guest Conductor, Jack Everly made two promises to the audience at Heinz Hall - we would leave the concert happier than when we arrived, and though we would hear both songs we knew and some we didn't, all would be great. He was absolutely right on both counts.

Additional Performances:
Friday, March 7th  |  8 PM  |  Heinz Hall
Saturday, March 8th  |  8 PM  |  Heinz Hall
Sunday, March 9th  |  2:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 03-01-2014 19:15:00

Witnessing Unmatched Musicality
Review of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's
Joshua Bell and Symphonie Espagnole Performance Feb. 28th 2014

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Hank Walshak  |  March 1, 2014

Gianandrea Noseda
(photo credit: Sussie Ahlburg 2012)
Something in me likes to watch professionals, whatever their line of work. This personal bent served me well when I witnessed Joshua Bell display his violin artistry and Maestro Gianandrea Noseda masterfully lead our Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 21 of Edouard Lalo.

For me, watching Joshua Bell is like viewing a professional tight-rope walker quickly skip along a 60-foot rope hundreds of feet in the air, and doing somersaults on the rope at the same time. This kind of doing the seemingly impossible happens only a few times in one's life, and Bell's execution was one of these rare times in my life.

To say, he performed the violin solo, would be to vastly understate his performance. He played through the Symphonie Espagnole as though the notes, the phrasing, the melodies, the movements emerged from somewhere within him, not from Lalo's score. He played as though born into the music, moving forward to punctuate hard-hitting parts, moving back to elicit the more subdued sections of the piece.

Joshua Bell
(photo courtesy:
Lisa Marie Mazzucco)
Talk about violin prowess. From exploring sonorous tones in the lower register to parts that called on his lyricism and flexibilities to those that challenged with incredibly intricate fingerings in the upper register, Bell moved through the Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra with the unerring grace of a male, ballet dancer interpreting the most physical demanding dances without even breaking a sweat.

A brief look, eye to eye now and then, was all Bell and Maestro Noseda as they worked in synchronistic togetherness during the performance. Just as Bell's body moved in resonance to each symphony part, so too. Noseda physically conveyed his musical intentions to the orchestra by his deft, dance-like movements. He attacked the piece with all the agility he could muster and moved slowly from side to side to convey more lyrical intonations to the orchestra.

Watching Bell and Maestro Noseda was like seeing two, Olympic athletes move in unison as they performed feats of precision one could hardly believe. They complemented each other so nicely without ever once stealing the sunshine away from the other's performance.

How fortunate for us in the audience to experience these two musical geniuses performing together in a not-to-be-matched rendering of Eduouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra.

Additional Performances:
Saturday, March 1st  |  8 PM  |  Heinz Hall
Sunday, March 2nd  |  2:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall

Written By: Hank Walshak
Founder and President of Walshak Communications, Inc.

The Communications Expert for Experts
See my video promo on You Tube
See my latest blog postings at Content Marketing Express

Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 02-23-2014 17:00:00

Dandy Dreams
A Review of Paul's Case, Feb. 22nd 2014 Performance
From: Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By: Stephanie Curtice | Feb. 23, 2014

Some things have not changed since 1906. Times are tough, but America still is the land of opportunity. In school, society encourages kids to dream big and work hard to be successful. But young, starry eyed Paul went off the rails at the work hard part. When the young and dumb blaze their own trail and buck the system, there can be stark consequences to pay.

Last night Paul's Case fittingly made its local debut at the Pittsburgh Opera. The 2013 American opera is half set in Pittsburgh, including the Carnegie Music Hall. Based on the like-titled 1905 story by Willa Cather, composer Gregory Spears and co-libretist Kathryn Walat bring together minimalistic and baroque musical elements to depict Paul's self-centered life.

Paul's Case at the Pittsburgh Opera
(photo courtesy: David Bachman)
Paul is a polite, but smart-alecky high school student who wants to break free of the working class life of Pittsburgh and enjoy the glitz and glam of New York City's easy street. The allure of the shiny stage lights and fame are fed by his part-time job as an usher at the Carnegie Music Hall. After getting expelled from school his father shows Paul some tough love by forcing him to work a real job.

After stealing a hefty sum from his new employer Paul a makes run of it in New York City. He uses his stolen funds to bankroll a lavish up-scale life with new dapper duds and residency at the Waldorff Astoria. With one poor decision after another, he spends a drunken night on the town, only to find himself waking to more than a hangover. He is found out and his actions begin to catch up with him. Revolver in hand and no further dreams than living the high life, young Paul goes into a tailspin.

The cautionary tale is chock-full of hopes and dreams, disappointment and failure, depicted with dissonant tonal clusters, large oscillating jumps, and repetitive melodic snip-its. The performance featured fine singing, a small chamber orchestra, and very minimalistic production. Of the small 7 person cast, Daniel Curran (Paul) and Alex DeSocio (Father) were my favorites with clear and beautiful singing that was easy to understand. The intimacy of the Pittsburgh Opera in the Strip District was the perfect setting for this opera. The engaging performance will leave you feeling truly connected to Paul and his father, and bewildered by the tragic ending.

Additional Performances:
Friday, Feb 25th  |  7 PM  |  Pittsburgh Opera
Friday, Feb 28th  |  8 PM  |  Pittsburgh Opera
Sunday, Mar 2nd  |  2 PM  |  Pittsburgh Opera

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 02-22-2014 16:30:00

Symphonic Test of Endurance
Review of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's
Casella, Prokofiev and Schumann Feb. 21st 2014 
From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  Feb. 22, 2014

Gianandrea Noseda
(photo courtesy:
Sussie Ahlburg 2012)
A flurry of musical energy filled Heinz Hall as guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a vivacious set of works that some may find a little less well known. The intensity each of the works demanded was shown in the aerobic conducting, feverish bowing, hustling percussion, and dramatic playing by piano soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

The concert opened with two sets from Alfredo Casella's 1932 opera La Donna Serpent. Both featured bombastic martial themes peppered with lush melodies that beautifully highlighted the woodwinds. The second set began with a tinge of Middle Eastern sounds in King Altidor's Dream, and then with each piece layering more and more energy the work culminated with a return to the blustering fury of War March.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
(photo courtesy: Paul Mitchell)
The intensity of the concert continued with Sergei Prokofiev's Concerto No. 5 in G Major, featuring Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. The work has numerous thematic passages that are woven together through five movements with the complexity of a patterned friendship bracelet. Each of the colored strands represented by the piano soloist, trumpet proclamations, and swelling strings, intricately patterned with jarring syncopations, tangled dissonances, and large leaps in the prickly keyboard part. And as erratic as the piece itself maybe, Bavouzet played with a flair and confidence that both balanced with the orchestra and brought the chaotic piece into a very appreciable focus.

A delightful and fun addition to the concert was a quick little encore by French pianist, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, playing Debussy's La fille aux cheveux de lin.

After a well deserved intermission break for Noseda and the orchestra, the concert ramped back up to finish with Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C Major. The robust work had a stirring feel that culminated in a Beethoven Ode to Joy feel that was victoriously grand and full of inspiration.

The programming of this concert was intense and a test of endurance. After noticing a smile on the face of almost every cellist during the second movement of the Prokofiev, I spoke to principle cellist Anne Martindale Williams. She said that pieces were fun, and confirmed the demand of this concert both due to the nature of the music itself and because they are less frequently played pieces. The exciting evening of symphonic grandeur was celebrated with standing ovations both at intermission and the end of the concert.

Additional Performances:
Sunday, Feb 23rd  |  2:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall

By:  Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 02-19-2014 02:41:00


Publish Date: 02-16-2014 17:00:00

Dance of Heritage
Review of Dhirana Feb. 15th 2014 Indian Classical Dance Competition

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  Feb. 16 2014

Stories of the Indian culture and Hindus religion were brought to life Saturday night with lively dancing, bright costumes, and ethnic music. Eight college teams from across the country gathered at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus for Dhirana 2014, an Indian classical dance competition. The very unique routines included grace like a ballet, transitioning floor work similar to a marching band, dramatic energy akin to Broadway musicals, and multi-level formations that were almost cheerleader-like. The dancing was amazing and unlike anything I have ever seen.

Natya from Rutgers University
Winning 1st place and the Most Traditional Dance Award, Natya from Rutgers University showcased the story of how the Hindu deity Genesha came to have the body of a man and head of an elephant. The way the team created a formation to portray the elephant flapping its ears and trunk was very creative. Second place Pulse from Georgia Tech brought big time intensity of fast moving floor work to the competition with the theme of Ravana: The Tragic Hero. Some of the other themes included Pandora's Box by Boston University's Dheem, Navarasas (9 Emotions) After the Storm by Johns Hopkins University's Shakti, and Ravanasura's Fall to Rama by Penn State's Natya.

Indian classical dance is very different from Western styles. Compared to ballet, which emphasizes leg action, a still upper body, lightness, high jumps, and pointed toes, Indian dance utilizes very active upper body movement, expressive hand and facial gestures, bent legs, low jumps, flat feet and intricate stamping foot work. Both styles have one very important aspect in common though. They both require masterful control to execute the dances with fluidity and grace.

Moksha from University of Maryland
(3rd Place)
Indian Classical Dance has a rich heritage dating back to 2nd century B.C. and broadly encompasses two main aspects. Nritta, pure dance, is the expression of rhythmic movement primarily through the use of hands and feet mostly in specific poses. Nitrya is more of an interpretative dance which uses gestures and facial expressions to show the poetic or emotional meaning in combination with rhythmic gaits and postures. Specific Indian dance styles showcased in this competition included Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, and Manipuri. These styles utilize elaborate prescribed postures of the torso, hands, neck and even eyes. They also involve intensive footwork, acrobatic energy, and very stylized pantomime.

Nrityamala from
University of Pittsburgh
The competition also featured several exhibition acts. The show opened with world renowned Carnatic vocalist Arthi Kumar singing Prayer Song, accompanied by violin and percussion. The host dance team, Nrityamala, performed two classical dance routines including Pushpanjali. Two local teams also performed, showcasing more contemporary styles from Western India that are very high energy dances. PantheRass danced in the Garba and Raas styles, which utilized props and acrobatics. And Steel City Bhangra danced in the popular Punjabi folk dance style Bhangra.

The dancing was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen before, but also impressive were the students who hosted the event. Not only did they plan, produce, and dance at the event, but the hosting Pitt University students also chose to donate the proceeds to Birmingham Free Clinic, the only local free healthcare provider. They also honored the memory of Vasu Srinivasa Prasad Gutti, who was not only a local, but worldwide champion of South Asian Performing Arts. Srinivasa Prasad International Fund for the Performing Arts (SPIFPA), the foundation created in tribute to his legacy, was the lead sponsor of Dhirana 2014.

I'd like to say a great big Thank You! to Mrs. Cardiology, Sunita Pandit and her husband Dr. Santosh Pandit for not only the invitation to attend this great event, but also sharing their cultural and religious insight throughout the show.

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2014


Publish Date: 02-14-2014 17:00:00

Are You a Good Swan or a Bad Swan?
Review of Swan Lake, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Feb. 13th 2014 Performance

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  Feb.14, 2014

I have been to many classical performances, yet at this one I found myself as one of those people confused about when to clap. At the symphony, don't clap between movements. But, at the ballet? I didn't know. Surprisingly, I had only been to a ballet one other time, as a child when I went for a school field trip to the Nutcracker. This is, of course, another ballet composed by Tchaikovsky. I don't know why I hadn't gone more, but I'm glad this was my first big kid trip to the ballet. And what better one, than the quintessential Swan Lake? It was beautiful and astonishingly athletic. I was worried that I wouldn't follow the plot without words or singing, but there was no need. The story line was clear and medium of ballet told it perfectly. I was surprised of how moving the story was. It was truly beautiful.

Julia Erickson
(photo credit: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)
So, being the New Girl in the Burgh but a Kansas girl at heart, I'd have to ask. Are you a good swan or a bad swan? To which Odette would reply, Oh, I'm not a swan at all¦ I'm a princess. One could tell from the opening night crowd at the Benedum, Swan Lake is a classic fairy tale. There were many tutu and crown wearing little girls gazing in aw of the swan princess ballerina story. Very cute!

The ballet begins kind of like Cinderella. The Prince Siegfried (Robert Moore) at the castle, being told by his Queen Mother there will be a ball. And to that ball all eligible princesses shall attend, each in hopes that he will choose her to be his bride. After planning, the Prince and his friends go hunting in the forest. Then taking aim at a beautiful swan, he sees the most amaizing thing. The white swan magically turns into a beautiful maiden named Odette (Julia Erickson). They quickly fall in love and she tells him of her curse.

Julia Erickson, Robert Moore, and swans
(photo credit: Nick Coppula)
The third act begins at the ball where the Prince is presented several princesses, who showcase dances of their native lands. Though he still has Odette in his heart, he is captivated by Odile, whose likeness is of Odette's but darkly enchanting as a black swan. As he professes his love to Odile (also danced by Julia Erickson), the evil Sorcerer (Nurlan Abougaliev) exposes his disguise and trickery.

After a second intermission, Odette and the other swans share in their sadness of the curse, turn of events, and impending doomed life of forever living as a swan. The Prince arrives to beg for forgiveness and their true love is reaffirmed. Unfortunately, because the Prince was tricked into falling for Odile, Odette is destined to remain a swan forever. The only way to break the curse and kill the evil Sorcerer at this point is Odette's death. Together in true love, the Prince and Odette leap to there deaths, off of a cliff, into the lake. The end.

Ok, so maybe instead of fairy tale like, its more Romeo and Juliet like, and the happily ever after is more suggested to be restricted to the afterlife. But I think that minor detail floated right over the heads of all of the little princesses in the audience.
    Yoshiaki Nakano
    (photo credit:
    Rosalie O'Connor Photography)
    Things I did not know about Swan Lake the ballet:
    • There are a few prescribed sets of choreography for the entire show, and the choreography used in this presentation was by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, circa 1895.
    • There are multiple possible endings for the ballet.
    • Originally Odile was just an enchantress, not a swan/girl like Odette
    • The score most frequently used is actually an arrangement by Tchaikovsky's brother Modeste and Ricarrdo Drigo.
    • The Swan Theme was used in Dracula, the 1931 film starring Bela Legos, and The Mummy, the 1932 film starring Boris Karloff.
    How you might ask do I know these super informative tidbits? Well, that last one was compliments of my sweet boyfriend, who loves old movies. And for the others, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre posts a very useful resource for called the Audience Production Guide at their website. If you are a fledgling ballet attendee, like myself, I would definitely recommend checking it out before you see the show.

    The evening was full of graceful dancing including the signature fluttering of wing by the swans, fun and athletic leaps by the Jester (Yoshiaki Nakano), pristine pirouettes by Odette, and festive dances by the hopeful princess guests in the Czardas, Spanish, Neopolitan and Mazurka styles. Every aspect of the dancing and finely played music was engaging. It was a great first experience at the ballet!

    Additional Performances:
    Friday, Feb 14th  |  8 PM  |  Benedum Hall
    Saturday, Feb 15th  |  2 PM  |  Benedum Hall
    Saturday, Feb 15th  |  8 PM  |  Benedum Hall
    Sunday, Feb 16th  |  2 PM  |  Benedum Hall

    By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter
    (c) 2014


    Publish Date: 02-12-2014 17:00:00

    A Review of Mamma Mia the SMASH HIT Musical on Feb. 11th 2014
    Roving Pittsburgher and
    Written By: JoAnn R. Forrester, Host of Empress of Biz  |  Feb. 12, 2014

    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
    Mamma Mia¦was Fun! Finger snapping, toe tapping, bouncing up and down in my seat fun¦And shades of ABBA did I need that to get me through the Winter That Will Never End Curse that some evil Cleveland Browns fans has wished upon us.

    Part of the fun of the night was to walk into the theater with people smiling who were ready to celebrate with the music of ABBA. As soon as the first scene opened with Sophie played by Chelsea Williams singing I have a Dream the audience was wrapped up and jumping on the Mamma Mia Love Boat as portrayed by ABBA.

    The play, Mama Mia is about our favorite theme¦Youthful rebellion, Youth Looking for Love, Finding love, Misunderstanding, Separation, (21 years) Love Lost, REUNION, LOVE FOUND and LIVING HAPPILY AFTER all played to the 22 tunes of ABBA.

    All the familiar scenes played with youthful energy and a little more sexual dash and innuendo than the movie. I did find myself missing the beautiful background of the Mediterranean Sea and wishing that they had more visual scenery or a video of the sea playing in the background.
    (photo courtesy:
    Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

    The story of reunion plays well¦ First starting with the three young girls coming together to celebrate the wedding of Sophie , while the friends of the mother, Donna , played by Georgia Kate Haege arrive to lend their moral support to the marriage of their friends daughter. All soon, young and old friends, become involved in keeping Sophie's secret. She has found her mother's dairy and read it¦and oh my three possible fathers. So what does she do? She invites all of them to her wedding and figuring that somehow she will know who her Father will invite him to walk her down the aisle. Oh my Days of our Lives soap opera played out on a Greek Island.

    The dancing troupe was very energetic and pulled you along in a joyous activity. Love the women who played the older friends, Tanya (Gabrielle Mirabella) and Rosie Carly Sakolove who was a great scene stealer.

    And of course the men, Harry Bright (Mark A Harmon), Bill Austin (Michaek Colavolpe) and Sam Carmichael, (Jeff Drushal) all were funny, delicious and amusingly perplexed as they discovered they may be the father of Sophie. All the men played and sung their parts well. Although gotta admit in my heart I was half expecting Pierce Bronson to show up.

    When the play ended and the cast came out to take their bows and do the well known encore reprise the audience jumped up as one and was ready to dance and sing to all their favorite ABBA songs. And sing in dance we did. When it ended and we left the theater there were still many humming and singing along as they dance walked out the theater¦Good time was had by all.

    The PNC Broadway Across American series has itself another hit. We are really fortunate here in the burgh¦our theater and art's team consistently produces hits.

    Great show¦now if I could just stop singing and tapping my toes to the Mama Mia songs in my heard.

    Additional Show Times:
    Feb 12 - 13  |  7:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall
    Friday, Feb 14  |  8:00 PM  |  Heinz Hall
    Saturday, Feb 15  |  2:00 PM and 8:00 PM  |  Heinz Hall
    Sunday, Feb 16  |  1:00 PM and 6:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall

    JoAnn R. Forrester
    Written By: JoAnn R. Forrester
    Host of Empress of Biz
    Anchor Internet Radio Show on

    JoAnn R. Forrester is co-host of the Empress of Biz Talkcast and co-founder, president and partner in S. I. Business Associates, Small Business Solutions, LLC and Celebrate and Share. She is an entrepreneur, writer, business growth specialist, teacher, columnist and award winning writer. JoAnn specializes in helping small businesses grow and prosper. She is the co-developer of the PRICE IT PERFECT„c cost management system for small business, and has secured over 40 million dollars in loans and investment for her clients.
    For more information visit Empress of Biz on

    Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
    (c) 2014


    Publish Date: 02-08-2014 17:00:00

    Science and the Symphony
    A Review of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's
    The Planets- An HD Odyssey Feb. 7th 2014 Performance
    From: Roving Pittsburgher and
    Written By: Sunita Pandit,  Host of Mrs. Cardiology  |   Feb. 08, 2014

    Mrs. Cardiology believes we must control stress in our lives. So-o-o with Valentine's day falling on a Friday making a quiet relaxed evening with Cardiologist hubby Santosh Pandit a challenger. . .  Proactive Solution: I "preponed" Valentine's Day by one week and took him to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for their performance titled: The Planets an HD odyssey.

    Manfred Honeck
    (photo courtesy: PSO)
    As always, the symphony played up to its stellar reputation under the graceful guidance of Maestro Honeck. They impressed hubby (who does not enjoy sitting still for a classical piece!). . .

    His comments: "The performance was excellent! It was a very good experience¦ I enjoyed it thoroughly!" That's a mouthful of praise coming from a cardiologist. The video complemented the music allowing us to fully appreciate the intricacies of the composition. The NASA pictures kept us engaged with the music. I wonder if the PSO could use the video screen to show us the musicians that are sitting the back especially when they are actually playing the instruments? My husband and I could only appreciate visually the violinists¦He especially would like to definitely see the rest of the orchestra. We hope the PSO arrangers are listening. Santosh hopes wife takes him for a post Valentine's Day date! Thank you to for providing the tickets and giving us the opportunity to review this amazing musical odyssey.

    (photo courtesy: PSO)
    The concert opens on earth with "The Elements, a PSO commission and world premiere, five small pieces about Pittsburgh's land and history written by local composers for the PSO's Year of Pittsburgh Composers.

    Bomi Jang's "Awake," is about Pittsburgh's dwindling urban forest. Ms. Jang used a water gong, rolling bass drum, scratchy strings piccolo to create musical pictures for the audience.

    "Eliza Furnace," by Mathew Rosenblum, musically depicts Pittsburgh's iron mill workers effectively using metallic instruments, brass and percussion to capture the sound and effect of the inside of a working steel mill.

    Amy Williams' chaotic "Flood Lines" auspiciously about the 1936 flood culminated in an almost upbeat piano solo.

    Reza Vali's "Ravan," represented well the Youghiogheny River. We could almost feel the river dancing. And during all of these wonderful pieces NASA pictures allowed our imaginations to soar, "Where no man has dared to go."

    Mrs. Cardiology a raving Starwars, Star Trek, Star-anything fan sat mesmerized. . .  Dang! I was expecting a star ship to show up. . . ˜Hailing Captain Pandit¦ this is the interstellar Star Patrol. Please respond. Your mother is looking for you¦ you are late for dinner!' Ah sci-fi fantasy at the PSO. . .  I never thought I would experience it. Awesome! Out of this world! . . .  Ahem. . .

    Just make sure you experience not only my favorite part but the rest of the story! We puffed our chests with pride of knowing that Pittsburgh boasts real live music composers this talented ˜who needs New York?' What an extraordinary way to experience nuances of Pittsburgh life! Another notch in the Most Livable City on Earth! ET come home to the classics like no other place in the world!

    Additional Concert Times:
    Saturday, Feb. 8th  |  8:00 PM  |  Heinz Hall
    Sunday, Feb. 9th  |  2:30 PM  |  Heinz Hall

    Mrs. Sunita Pandit and
    Dr. Santosh Pandit
    Written By: Sunita Pandit
    Host of Mrs. Cardiology
    Anchor Internet Radio Show on

    Weekly program on heart tips not tricks garnered from Fireside Conversations with her cardiologist husband, Dr. Santosh Pandit.
    For more information visit

    Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter
    (c) 2014


    Publish Date: 02-08-2014 17:00:00

    From McKees Rocks to Easlibberdy, Pittsburghers Should Be Proud
    A Review of Judge Jackie Justice, Feb. 7th 2014 Performance

    From: Roving Pittsburgher Report and
    Written By: Joanne Quinn-Smith | Feb. 8, 2014

    From the very beginning of "Judge Jackie Justice", director, writer and co-star, Jason Coll (the bailiff Henry) gets the audience involved in singing the refrain, "Judge Jackie Justice" each time a new scene starts. The effect in the intimate environment of the cabaret theatre is noticeable audience camaraderie.

    Another reporter (Stephanie Curtice) and I were seated with a delightful married couple at our table for four very near the stage, second row table actually. What a treat to be able to see up close the antics of the performers and especially the facial expressions of Kara Mikula (Judge Jackie Justice). Jackie Justice is a seemingly hard as nails replica of most TV judges. And therein, without issuing a spoiler alert, lies the comedy and pathos of this "warm your heart on a cold winter night" musical comedy.
    Kara Mikula as Judge Jackie Justice
    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

    Each skit performed by cast members, Connor McCanlus and Maggie are extreme takeoffs on the ridiculous cases aired on reality court TV. In the intimate Cabaret Theatre you will be watching "Reality Dinner Theater" with real cases involving zombies, spaceships and a Super Star father and daughter. Character insets like Henry's "Like Your Mother Does" hysterically explores the "mama's boy" stereotype as Conner McCanless "drags it up" as Henry's overbearing, belittling mother.

    There are also comically tender scenes like "If You Only Knew" where Henry (Jason Coll) proves that he is not just writer and director but a versatile actor and singer as well.

    Also if you have seen the local presentation of "Oklahoma" by the REP then you will be amazed at the versatility of Jonathan Visser as Shane (played Jud Fry in Oklahoma). He easily transforms from tragic hero to comedic villain as Judge Jackie's ex husband.

    This is also a Pittsburgh centric play with loads of Pittsburghese sandwiched in with references to the audience being from McKees Rocks. My associate Stephanie is newly here in Pittsburgh from Kansas so at times she needed an interpreter, but needed no interpreter when Shane pulled her out of the audience to participate as his newest 23 year old flame. When he mentioned her being "nimble" Stephanie unprompted lifted up her leg with her hand and pulled it up to her shoulder. Now that is improvisation from the audience! Wish we could have taken a picture!

    If you want to laugh until you cry you must attend one of the upcoming performances of Judge Jackie Justice to experience, good writing, great comedy, and a touch of old time burlesque theatre--the real stuff, where you had to pay attention to really enjoy the humor. And pay attention you will!

    Judge Jackie Justice will be holding court through Sunday, April 27, 2014 at the CLO Cabaret Theater

    Written By: Joanne Quinn-Smith
    Joanne Quinn-Smith, Award winning internet radio broadcaster, blogger, author and internet radio and TV network editor and publisher. Joanne is the owner and CEO, Creative Energy Officer, of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, a successful Pittsburgh-based marketing company. She is a grandmother and great grandmother, an unlikely trendsetter for online journalism and broadcasting.

    Joanne is internationally known as the Get Your Google On Gal, but better known as Techno Granny„c to over one million accumulated online listeners worldwide. Joanne has created a revolutionary online NEW MEDIA platform in Internet broadcasting, blogging and other social media participation that represents the new second generation of World Wide Web interactions, known in technology circles as Web 2.0. JQS is the online publisher of, an online community magazine to disseminate the Positive News for Positive Pittsburghers. PPL Mag is Pittsburgh's First Internet radio and TV network with syndicated channels and online radio and TV capabilities.

    Posted By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter,,
    © 2014


    Publish Date: 02-07-2014 17:00:00

    Ogre Love Conquers All
    A Review of Shrek the Musical, Feb. 6th 2014 Performance

    From: Roving Pittsburgher and
    Written By: Stephanie Curtice | Feb. 07, 2014

    We all grew up with those classic fairy tales of damsels in distress saved by a handsome prince, where love triumphs over the wicked, and everyone was perfect, pretty, and happy. Well Shrek the Musical, which opened February 6th at Pittsburgh's Byham Theater, was a perfect toe-tapping love story just like that well mostly.

    Shrek the Musical
    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
    The dashing hero Shrek (Billy Mason) is not quite prince charming, because you know it ain't easy being green. The shunned ogre was content to live in the quiet of his swamp. That was until it was invaded by misfit fairy tale characters, banished from the kingdom of Duloc by the droll Lord Farquaad (Tim Hartman). The pint-sized ruler offers a challenge for Shrek to regain his stinky swamp. All he needed to do was rescue Farquaad's bride-to-be from a dragon protected tower.

    With the help of his charmingly witty and relentless noble steed, Donkey, Shrek rescues the beautiful maiden Fiona (Emily Lynne Miller) narrowly escaping the pink dragon, a singing diva. At first unimpressed with the efforts of the outcast ogre, Fiona warms up to Shrek and a few commonalities break wind for an unexpected romance. But, Fiona bearing her own curse and is not who she seems. Now in love with Fiona, Shrek tries to break up her wedding to Farquaad. Meanwhile, the renegade fairy tale characters storm the castle in their own revolt against the mini monarch. Happy ever after comes for all as they fly their "Freak Flag" with pride and Fiona's true identity is revealed by power of true love's kiss.

    Shrek the Musical
    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
    Now even before the show I was wondering what differences there would be from the movie. Shrek the Musical was adapted from the popular 2001 animated film by DreamWorks and the children's book by William Steig. It was directed by Colleen Petrucci, with a score by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Like the movie it was laden with numerous pop culture jokes and fairy tale spoofs. But it additionally had spoof references to other musicals like Les Miserables, Gypsy, The Lion King, Wicked, and Chorus Line including one classic style tap dancing number, I Think I Got You Beat.

    The show featured a Pittsburgh native too. Tim Hartman, who played the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad, hilariously hammed it up for the hometown, all while scooting around on his knees the whole show. Shrek the Musical was full of fun, upbeat music, comical spoofs, witty jokes, a great message of acceptance, and incredible costumes, like Pinocchio's trademark growing nose. The singing was outstanding and the acting superb. I know its still cold out, but don't just pop in the DVD. Go out, take the kids to see Shrek the Musical live, you won't be sorry. The family friendly show is one you and your kids won't want to miss!

    Special shout out to my 7th grade neighbor Ishmael, who joined me at the show.  His favorites were Donkey for the laughs, great singing and accent by Shrek, and special effects like Pinocchio's growing nose.  He gave the show two thumbs up too!

    Additional Performances:
    Feb 7th and 8th  |   7:30 PM
    Feb 9th
      |   2:00 PM
    Feb 14th and 15th
      |   7:30 PM
    Feb 16th
      |   2:00 PM

    By: Stephanie Curtice

    Good News and Cultural Reporter

    (c) 2014


    Publish Date: 02-02-2014 17:00:00

    Hip Hop Dance Mashup is Smashup
    A Review Compagnie Kafig's Feb. 1st 2014 Performance

    From: Roving Pittsburgher and
    Written By: Stephanie Curtice | Feb. 02, 2014

    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

    What do you get when you mix MMA moves and dancing? Or more specifically a dance mashup of Capoeira, Brazilian martial arts, with contemporary and hip hop dancing? An exhilarating and physical dance show by Compagnie Kafig. Choreographed by Mourad Merzouki of France, the 11 member male dance troupe had the packed house of the Byham Theater in aw all night, Feb. 1st.
    Compagnie Kafig
    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

    The first half of the show was called Correira, Portuguese for running. It was a fun exploration of movement about running here, there and every where. Alone, together. Fast and slow. In circles and in place. The show opened with three sets of feet running in the air and as the lights opened more join, others begin circling around fast. The chaos of groups coming and going grew into an amazing display of breaking, popping, locking, waacking, hip-hop, house, Capoeira, and acrobatics, all while running in some way.

    The second half was called Agwa, and was a fun piece with tribal-like flare about the fluidity of water. It opened with two dancers navigating around 20 towers of clear plastic cups stacked 3 to 5 feet high, only one fell over. Then with the dashing of the other dancers across the stage they were all scattered. With the spot light on an amazing display of pop and lock dancing by one, the rest of the troupe crawled in the dark setting up the disheveled cups into 15 rows of 20 cups partially filled with water.
    Compagnie Kafig
    (photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
    The lights came up and the piece picked up the pace with a dancer doing flips and back handsprings across the stage never hitting a single glass. As the whole group joined in, not a single drop was spilled as they danced, flipped, and crawled around the stage. The glasses were gathered and water combined as part of the dance. Then after the humorous taunting of one dancer, they all appear in clear raincoats almost as if they were the cups. Continuing we saw yet another use of the cups with each dancer reappearing with a stack of 50 - 100 cups, manipulating it like a snake. As the intensity came to a head, literally with a guy breakdance spinning on his head, the glasses all flew into the air and showered down.

    With a roaring crowd the troupe, reappeared with an encore of dance solos among the scattered cups. Critics waffle between how to label the dancing of Compagnie Kafig's as contemporary dance or just street hip-hop. Here's what I know¦. I know I couldn't do any of the moves they did and practically worked up a sweat just watching them. This show was the most captivating, high-intensity, and fun dance performance I have ever seen. It was a smash!

    Upcoming Cultural Shows presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust:
    Shen Yun Chinese Dancing | February 19th and 20th | Benedum Center
    Soweto Gospel Choir | February 27th | Byham Theater
    Celtic Nights | March 6 | Byham Theater

    By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter

    (c) 2014


    Publish Date: 02-01-2014 17:00:00

    B 3 = Bach x Beethoven x Brahms
    A Review of the PSO's Jan. 31st 2014 Concert
    Manfred Honeck
    (photo courtesy: PSO)
    Though the opening tune was one that is frequently associated with vampires emerging from their caskets or spooky Halloween scenes, it was no scary start to the Grand Classics concert Friday night at Heinz Hall. Led by conductor and music director Manfred Honeck, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra played works of three great composers Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

    The PSO opened with Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ, transcribed for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski. Complete with the bombastic but still eerie beginning, the wall of sound was impressive. But it was the intricacy of crazy quick fugal sequences, originally meant for nimble keyboard hands, that was a true test and showcase of precision.

    Helene Grimaud
    (photo courtesy: PSO)
    Sandwiched between Bach and Brahms was Beethoven, the star of the show. Symphony No.4 in B-flat major, Opus 60 opened with swells of dramatic flare and then quickly contrasting, quiet suspenseful passages. The second movement featured a beautifully played clarinet solo by Michael Rusinek! The piece culminated in an exhilarating dance of flurry which is classic Beethoven and fun to hear played so well.

    The final piece, Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15 by Brahms, featured Ms Helene Grimaud of France. Though it features robust orchestration paired with the piano soloist, Gimaud held her own well and was not washed out by the full sound. She also played the rich and expressive solo passages with great skill and brought out the passion filled melodies beautifully.

    The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hit the trifecta with this concert and received a fitting standing ovation from the audience.

    Additional Concert Times:
    Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter
    (c) 2013


    Publish Date: 01-30-2014 17:00:00

    Freedom to Sing
    It was cold outside, but inside the Byham Theater hearts and souls were warmed by the tight harmonies, high-kicking energy, and inspiring message of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The four time Grammy Award winning, singing group from South Africa shared not only their beautiful music and rich culture, but an uplifting message of love, peace, and harmony.

    Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed in the early 1960's by Joseph Shabalala with the mission of preserving South Africa's musical and cultural heritages. Maintaining that mission is also a family tradition. Five of the ten current singers are 2nd or 3rd generation family members. And their newest album Always With Us, is a tribute to Nellie Shabalala, Joseph's late wife and matriarch of the family.

    Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    (photo credit: Erica Gannett)
    They sang in a style called isicathamiya, with origins from Zulu men, who worked far from their homes in mines and factories before 1900. The men would come together in small groups singing in call-and-response about themes ranging from the brutal working conditions and homelessness to the things they missed about from their homeland and dreams for their future.

    Now about the kicking¦ While some of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's songs are about sad or challenging subjects, the end messages are of hope, perseverance and victory. And those are to be celebrated. In addition to the 4-part acappella singing of beautiful tenor melodies and robust bass harmonies, the isacathamiya style has a strong dance component. The dance moves enrich the story telling of the songs and can also feature dance solos. So, the exuberant high-kicking while singing was a sign of celebration of promise and joy. They also clearly had fun doing it. It was fun and entertaining for the audience too!

    To celebrate the life of South African President Nelson Mandela, they sang Long Walk to Freedom, which carried the familiar biblical sentiment of Well done my good and faithful servant.

    They closed their concert with the unifying South African folk song Shosholoza. Mandela said, the song compares the apartheid struggle to the motion of an oncoming train" and that while imprisoned "the singing made the work lighter." Ladysmith Black Mambazo's music was a moving testament to the power of music to unify people and sustain hope - hope for freedom for all.

    By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News and Cultural Reporter
    (c) 2013


    Publish Date: 01-24-2014 17:00:00

    Hooray for Hollywood¦ Music! 
    (photo source: PSO)
    If ever you were thinking of dabbling your senses into the world of symphonic music, this would be the concert to do it. But don't just dabble or dip your toes. Jump in! Take the plunge with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra into the chum filled, shark infested waters of Jaws. This movie music experience is a must-see blockbuster.

    It's not locked in a Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter).  The fact that John Williams is a genius at composing dramatic, emotion-rich music for the big screen that whisks us away. His music has transported movie lovers from beautiful secluded islands overrun with dinosaurs, to the Black Hills of Wyoming and eerie close encounters; from galloping through the battle fields of World War I, to magical lands of wizards, sorcerers, and quiddich matches; and from lost treasure troves in the deserts of Egypt to the outer edges of deep space.

    You know the music of John Williams. I'm positive you could even sing it. It's iconic.  Surely you've interrupted a game of Marco Polo, with your hand above your head like a shark fin singing that suspenseful two note motive, Da Dum, Da Dum? Or wielded a light saber to The Imperial March ?

    PSO Resident Conductor
    Lawrence Loh
    So, unless you've been living under a rock, you will recognize every piece in this concert. But in case you do need your movie memory jogged, fear not, because Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh is not your run of the mill orchestra conductor - he has clearly put in his popcorn time. He along with the talented members of the PSO bring to life some of the most memorable cinematic moments of the last 30 years with music from War Horse, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and even gears us up for the upcoming Winter Games with that hopeful spirit evoked by the Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

    The powerful and moving music of John Williams takes the movie experience to new heights and leaves viewers with lasting memories. Didn't you ever camp overnight in your backyard, snacking on Reese's Pieces and gazing at the stars, wondering if you too could someday have your own ET friend that would zoom back into space to ? I have to think that the boyishly cute, thirty something guy in a dapper grey suit a few rows in front of me did. After intermission he brought back a bag of those tasty candies, which were featured in the 1982 movie, to share with his expecting wife.

    The music of these movies has left a lasting impression in our hearts and memories. Taking a moment to look around at the audience Thursday night was like watching a groom watch his bride, as she walks down the aisle. Heinz Hall was filled with beaming smiles, the biggest and cutest smile maybe being that of Conductor Loh. This Olympic gold medal worthy concert is one you don't want to miss. My review is to not miss this family-friendly Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pops concert! It is FUN!!!

    Additional Concert Times:
    Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM
    Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 8:00 PM
    Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    By: Stephanie Curtice
    Good News Reporter & Contributing Journalist
    (c) 2013


    Publish Date: 01-21-2014 15:50:00

    Roving Pittsburgher Report, Mangiare Bene! 

    PapaGallo Cucina in Bridgeville

    When my friend and publisher Joyce Faulkner asked me to meet her at Papa Gallo Cucina in Collier Plaza in Bridgeville,  I was more than delighted always willing to try out a new restaurant especially an Italian one.  Joyce was so excited she said it was truly an experience to experience Chef Len Spampinato's hospitality and the amazing daily specials and the ambiance of the restaurant. 

    Well she did not lie about a single thing.
    There were so many wonderful things on the menu that I did not know where to start but I settled on one of the daily specials which was a chicken and fresh pear salad with fresh blue cheese.  Wow.  Joyce does not eat carbs and Len accommodated her with a plate of chicken salad smothered in cheese with fresh vegetables.  Also on the specials was chicken with mushroom and blue cheese risotto.  Chef Len's combinations are unique and delicious.

    PapaGallo's hours are short during the day
    Mon Fri: 7 AM to 2:30 PM
    Sat: 8 AM to 1:30 PM
    He rents out the restaurant in the evening for private parties and lends his incomparable gourmet talents to private catering in the evening.

    Len's breakfast offerings range from the traditional eggs to the exotic including Huevos Rancheros:  Spiced Black beans topped with two eggs, spicy tomato salsa and melted jack cheese; over warm tortillas.and also Rebecca's Omelette which is 
    Freshly Whipped Eggs with onions, artichokes and melted Feta cheese or Triple Berry Pancakes.

    For lunch you can have Fish Tacos, Crab Cakes or Pesto Chicken Panini or a Vine-ripe Vegetable Panini or anyone of the amazing specials that Chef offers daily. 
    Cannot wait for my return trip to try many more of his signature dishes.

    Now here is something that you won't find a restaurant owner doing.  The atmosphere was so delightful that we stayed way to long and the restaurant was about to close but I wanted to take home some of what looked like and proved to be the most amazing chocolate chunk cookies ever.  Unfortunately as Len said, "They go fast." But he was accommodating and offered to make some for me as we chatted.  What a guy! Should have asked if he had any single brothers. So here are pictures of Len making his amazing cookies and I left with the warm aroma of the cookies tempting me on my drive home.

    Did I mention that Chef Len is Sicilian and so am I, so there is a bit of nepotism here.  But truly if you want to try some legendary, unique Sicilian cuisine then this is the place to do it.  But as we say in the Burgh" yunz gotta get up early" because Papa Gallo is only open most days until 2:30 PM.  ""Mangiare bene!

    Collier Town Square
    1597 Washington Pike
    Bridgeville, PA 15017

    (c)Joanne Quinn-Smith and 2014

    Joanne Quinn-Smith, Award winning internet radio broadcaster, blogger, author and internet radio and TV network editor and publisher. Joanne is the owner and CEO, Creative Energy Officer, of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, a successful Pittsburgh-based marketing company. She is a grandmother and great grandmother, an unlikely trendsetter for online journalism and broadcasting. Joanne is internationally known as the Get Your Google On Gal. But better known as Techno Granny„c to over one million accumulated online listeners worldwide. Joanne has created a revolutionary online NEW MEDIA platform in Internet broadcasting, blogging and other social media participation that represents the new second generation of World Wide Web interactions, known in technology circles as Web 2.0. JQS is the online publisher of, an online community magazine to disseminate the Positive News for Positive Pittsburghers. PPL Mag is Pittsburgh's First Internet radio and TV network with syndicated channels and online radio and TV capabilities. 


    Publish Date: 01-19-2014 18:01:00

    Exploration of Emotion
    A Review of PSO's 2014 January 17th Concert - Haydn & Zarathustra

    A clever start to the concert brought a smile to my face.  Now of course, I should let on that I'm partial to this era of music and the one before it.  So in my opinion Franz Joseph Haydn and his contemporaries of the first Viennese School hit that sweet spot.

    What I love about Haydn's Symphony No. 22 in E-flat major, The Philosopher is the cheekiness that
    Christoph König
    (Photo from
    emerges amidst stuffy austerity, a kind of Jane Austen feel.  Guest conductor Christoph KГ¶nig maintained the beautiful dichotomy of this piece in every way.  While the piece begins with an adagio, it can sometimes, unfortunately, be almost dirge-like, but KГ¶nig maintained the perfect and unyielding tempo.

    With a continuo that oscillated between solid but not plodding, delicate but not tentative, and firm but not harsh, the perfect foundation was laid for the antiphonal cleverness that Haydn was known for.  Soaring above, and woven into the continuo, were the subtle blossoming of long arching swells in the Adagio, suspenseful rumblings both vivacious and robust in the Presto, and a delightful Menuetto that pleasantly whisks you away.  The Finale begins with an intense drive to reinforce control and above it a beautiful call and response plight.  This work showcases the diverse spectrum of tone created by the French and English horns, from warm to pungent tones paired with mellow but crisp strings.

    The concert then turned from flirting with danger to living in danger.  Richard Danielpour's symphony Darkness in the Ancient Valleydepicts the struggle of an Iranian woman living in an abusive relationship, choosing to not respond to violence with yet more violence.  Every night I watch the national news, thankful that I live where I do.  The stories that Elizabeth Palmer reports are unfathomable to me.

    Hila Plitmann
    (Photo by: Marc Royce)
    Danielpour created a beautiful cacophony of sound that dramatically creates whining horn sirens of distress, a careless romp of tyranny, frantic bells attempting to flee, brief melodies of hope, strings crying of agony and a single violin pleading praying.  Then the terror-filled pursuit continues, full of intense chases alternating with very brief moments of relief, until finally being trapped with no where to turn.

    The final movement featured soprano, Hila Plitmann singing an English translation of a 13th century poem by Rumi.  Her voice soared gloriously above huge orchestral swells of pain and doom.  The Iranian woman's bewildering and dutiful perseverance are professed, along with ethereal sounds of harp and bells and soaring strings of hope.  And she stands there, takes the final blow, and does nothing in retaliation.  I was baffled by her strength, grace and inner peace.  Her story was that of many who suffocate under an oppression most of us can not fathom.  PSO's playing and Hila Plitmann's singing of Darkness in the Ancient Valley left my heart and mind wrenched.

    After intermission, a smile returned to my face with the familiar and bombastic grand entrance of trumpets. Oh yeah, some Also sprach Zarathustra, Opus 30 by Richard Strauss! And while I do like this work, what made me smile more was the young gal in front of me was seat dancing yes bee-bopping in her seat at the symphony, with her date quietly giggling at her.  And one might think this reaction would be confined to young, inexperienced symphony goers. But oh no, a woman a few seats down and probably 40 years her elder was head bobbing rhythmically too both beaming with smiles.

    (Photo from
    PSO crushed this one.  From percussive wonderment to lush enveloping hope and ecstasy, the curious pursuit of the unknown to exhilarating happiness, an unraveling dream sequence to sounds tumbling into consequence and despair, tonal sonorities were folded in one over the other, making it growingly more complex like home made bread.   The human quest for understanding kept soaring with what seemed to have no tonal resolution, and when we thought that guy in the front (Noah Bendix-Balgley) couldn't play any higher, so beautifully, so in tune ‘ it kept climbing and soaring and searching. And then ‘ we were left hanging, wandering

    As for the young gal in front of me, well I asked her if she had ever heard the full work or just the opening.  She had, in fact, never heard the whole work, but I enjoyed the enthusiasm she had as she, without being prompted, told me how even though the piece had lots of different parts that had very different feelings that she thought it was cool how she could hear that recognizable theme resurface at various points.  I loved that she enjoyed it and was there experiencing something that seemed maybe outside the normal date-night activity.

    That was a well crafted emotional roller coaster of music.  The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra fully embodied the spectrum of human experience and emotion depicted in all three works beautifully.  Christoph KГ¶nig was a delight to watch.  He had stealthy, clean and subtle gestures that commanded rich and accurate sound and was cute in a non baby ducks sort of way.  Hila Plitmann shined bright like a diamond, shined bright like a diamond.  As a fellow soprano I'm probably most critical in this area, but she was exquisite in both sound and performance.

    My first night at the PSO #awesome!  I'm putting the PSO on my list of favorites, right up there with Jimmy and Nino Sunseri's sfogliatelle (which tastes like Christmas in your mouth).  I love to hear precision and passion in music and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has both.

    Not to go all Eminem on you, but if you missed this concert, you've got one shot, so don't miss you're chance.   Its Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 2:30 PM.
    (c) 2013

    Stephanie Curtice
    Good News Reporter & Contributing Journalist


    Publish Date: 12-20-2013 19:05:00

    Michael Bolton Holiday and Hits 

    with the Pittsburgh Symphony

    By Angel Hoffman
    Roving Pittsburgher Reviewer and Michael Bolton Fan

    The show opened with the very impressive Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. They played: "Flight to Neverland" from "Hook," Suite from "The Polar Express" and a medley of familiar Christmas Carols. What a symphonic treat for the audience.

    Following intermission, Michael Bolton (Bolton) took the stage
    with his very talented band! The crowd was eager to hear him sing and shouted, Pittsburgh loves you! Bolton was very comfortable with the audience and even invited the audience to take pictures during the concert. His voice was incomparable as he sang songs from various musical genres, including, "Said I Loved You¦But I Lied." He is quite the entertainer!

    Bolton showcased each of his band members: a female musician on trumpet, along with musicians playing saxophone, electric guitars, piano and drums. A female singer named, Kelly, sang with him on selected numbers. Michael started out singing familiar soft rock tunes and some classic Christmas carols. He delivered a powerful, yet gentle rendition of Irving Berlin's, "White Christmas,"  but then he got the crowd going with "Sweet Home Chicago," which he said was one of his childhood favorites.

    He also performed the aria, "Nessun Dorma," following a very tender tribute to his deceased friend, Luciano Pavarotti. The aria showcased his vocal range and the beauty of his voice. Bolton sang, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" from his new Motown album along with Kelly. The number one hit single which he wrote for Laura Brannigan, "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," was definitely one of the crowd favorites. However, the highlight of the evening was when he sang "When a Man Loves a Woman" and then the audience gave him a standing ovation! It was quite a night and Michael is as handsome as ever!

    Angel Hoffman
    Advanced Partners in Health Care Compliance, LLC
    Phone: 412-559-6703


    Publish Date: 12-01-2013 15:43:00

    Plaid Tidings Will Make You Jingle All the Way Home

    by Dean Quinn

    I recently attended the musical comedy called Plaid Tidings at the Pittsburgh Cabaret Theatre. This was my first experience at the Cabaret. It was an extreme pleasure that reminded me of old clubs such as the in movies like the Cotton Club and Goodfellas. There is a nice food menu provided by Meat and Potatoes with some interesting items. It also has a wide variety of drinks including a nice wine list. 

    Plaid Tidings is about a musical group sent back to earth from heaven for a unknown purpose. As the performance begins, the
    Brandon Lambert, Billy Hepfinger, Eric Longo and Quinn Shannon
    group tries to determine what that purpose is for being there. Comical situations arise. For example, the pianist goes out for a
    union smoke break in which she refuses to return to play for the group members until her break is over. One of the band members loses his glasses and says he cannot sing without them. Which sends him through the crowd singing which gives the crowd an uproar of laughter which adds to the continuous comedy throughout the entire show. 

    Brandon Lambert, Billy Hepfinger, Eric Longo and Quinn Shannon
    The musical is quite enjoyable because of the group's excellent voices. The silly choreography and facial expressions of the band members adds to the almost slapstick repertoire of the show. Eventually the group determines the reason they returned is to
    perform a holiday show and get people in the spirit. Plaid Tidings is taken aback when they realize this. There is a flashback at this point of the show, in which they recall all of their performances and how they imagined making it big. As big as being on Ed Sullivan show performing for a large crowd. This scene was the most enjoyable for the older attendees who remembered watching Ed Sullivan on T.V.

    This show certainly put me in the holiday spirit.  I would definitely would recommend this show to anyone who wants to laugh and jingle all the way home. You can still see "Plaid Tidings" at the Cabaret Theater through December 6, 2013


    Dean Quinn is an independent associate of Lincoln Heritage Insurance, serving Pittsburgh and surrounding area. He specializes in providing funeral service benefits for individuals over 50. Contact Dean at:  412-623-9864 or


    Publish Date: 11-24-2013 14:57:00

    Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Spain's Gift to America


    EmpressofBiz¦JoAnn R. Forrester

    The Pittsburgh Symphony performance of Sheherezade on NOvember 8, 2013 was amazing!  I do not know many conductors names, and seldom if ever really glow over a conductor¦ But oh my, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos is an exceptional conductor who led the orchestra and featured guests to a brilliant performance. 

    Arabella Steinbacher
    The first part of the concert was devoted to the up and coming young artists and the Symphony No 6 "Symphony of Sorrows" and composed by Leonardo Balada. This piece was commissioned in 2005 by the Barcelona Symphony and National Orchestra of Catalonia to mark the seventieth anniversary of the start of the brutal Spanish Civil War¦a miniature version of the World War II with all its devastation, sorrow and destruction.  It was a dramatic and haunting piece aptly presenting in music the horror and futility of war.

    The second piece featured was concerto No 1 in D Major for violin and Orchestra Opus 19 composed by Sergei Prokofiev and featuring German violinist Arabella Steinbacher, one of today's leading violinist on the international scene.   I enjoyed this piece greatly and especially enjoyed the rapport between Ms. Steinbacher and conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos.  His interaction with her was intense and weaved a magical circle of interaction between the two leading her to exceptional performance.   Quite enjoyable.

    Maestro Frubeck
    The second half was all Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and he led the PSO on a thrilling performance of "Scheherazade," Opus 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  I love the story of the Sultana Scheherazade weaving tales of adventure to amuse and outwit the fickle Sultan Shakira who had the practice of putting each of his wives to death after the wedding night.   Night after night Scheherazade weaves these wondrous tales and the PSO make them come alive under his exceptional direction.

    The audience was enchanted as I was and gave him a standing ovation which lasted almost ten minutes.  If you ever have a chance to hear and see Maestro Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conduct an orchestra¦you must go¦ he is exceptional and how I wish could follow him around the world and just listen to his concerts.

    Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, other numerous honours and distinctions he has been awarded include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreutz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain's most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain.  In 1998 Rafael FrГ¼hbeck de Burgos received the appointment of "Emeritus Conductor" by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain.  Since 1975 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. 

    Roving Pittsburgher Good News Reporter, JoAnn
    Forrester is the Host of "Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times," a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn and Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at:  Jo Ann has also been a regular business tip columnist at the Pittsburgh Business Times.