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Publish date:04-17-2017 12:26:02
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Publish Date: 03-28-2017 11:05:00
 


2017-2018 PNC Broadway Pittsburgh
Season Line Up of Musicals



The PNC Foundation joined the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust on Monday, March 20, 2017 at the Byham Theatre to introduce its 2017-2018 season lineup of Broadway musicals that will be performed at various theatres throughout the Pittsburgh Cultural District.  The theme, Your Wish is Granted couldn't be further from the truth, because you just had to be there to witness the roar of the crowd as the following musicals were announced: 


School of Rock NY Times Critics' Pick and an inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz! (Entertainment Weekly).  Based on the hit film, this musical follows the adventures of Dewey Finn a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-Astudents into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.  The musical includes 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and includes all the original songs from the movie and musical theatre's first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage.  Playing October 17-22, 2017 at Benedum Center.



The Color of Purple Winner of 2016 Tony Awards and Best Musical Revival.  Hailed as direct hit to the heart (The Hollywood Reporter), this American classic is directed by Tony winner John Doyle as a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, and is a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a young woman's journey to love and triumph in the American South.  Martina Sykes belted out an amazing solo performance of theme song I'm Here. Playing November 14-19, 2017 at Benedum Center.



Love Never Dies If you loved Phantom of the Opera, then you won't want to miss this musical!  Cited by Chris Boyd in The Australian as the best thing Lloyd Webber has written in the quarter century since Phantom of the Opera, this musical takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride of intrigue, obsession, and romance back to 1907, just 10 years after the Phantom disappeared from the Paris Opera House to live among the screaming joyrides and freak shows of Coney Island, NY.  In this new electrically charged world he finds a place for his music to soar but never stops yearning for his one true love and musical protГgГe, Christine Daae.  Jazmine Gorzline gave a stunning solo performance of the theme song, Love Never Dies. Playing January 4-7, 2018 at Benedum Center.






The Bodyguard   Based on the smash-hit film, this musical stars Grammy Award-nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox plays Rachel Marron of Rachel Marron and Company.   Former secret service agent Frank Farmer is hired as a bodyguard to protect Rachel from an unknown stalker.  Each expects to be in charge but they don't expect to fall in love.  The musical boasts irresistible classic hits including Queen of the Night; So Emotional; One Moment in Time; Saving All My Love; Run to You; I Have Nothing; I Wanna Dance with Somebody; and I Will Always Love You.  If only Whitney Houston could grace us with her presence today by singing solo for this musical; sure to be a smash hit! Playing February 27-March 4, 2018 at Benedum Center.


Waitress This winner of 4 Tony Awards hit musical features original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (Brave, Love Song ), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland).  Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, Waitress portrays the story of Jenna, a waitress and pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage.  Will Jenna be able to muster the strength and courage to rebuild her own life?  Let the audience be the judge!  Charity Dossen gave a joyous solo performance of the hit song, I Didn't Plan It. Playing March 6-11, 2018 at Benedum Center.



Rent This 1996 original rock musical, a Pulitzer Prize & Tony Award-winning masterpiece first opened on Broadway by a little-known composer, Jonathan Larson, and will be coming to Pittsburgh next year during its 20th anniversary touring production.  Rent is bound to attract audiences across generations and around the world, as it forever changed the landscape of American theatre.  A re-imagining of Puccini's La Boheme, Rent tells the story, over a one-year period, in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.  Rent will deliver an inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, celebrating friendship and creativity that reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that matters most: Love. Playing March 27-April 1, 2018 at Heinz Hall.



Aladdin Hailed by USA Today as Pure Genie-Us, this hit Broadway musical features all your favorite songs from the film and includes new music written by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty & the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).  Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!), this musical also boasts behind-the-scenes expertise from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots), and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris).  Jacob Dickey gave a heart-rendering solo performance of the hit song, Proud of Your Boy.   Playing August 21-September 9, 2018 at Benedum Center.


Season Specials
Season ticket holders can secure the best seats at the best price to the following added attractions before they go on sale to the general public by swapping out of one season show or purchasing the shows separately.  Season ticket holders are permitted to swap tickets from one season show to another, or to one of the specials below: 
(NOTE: Season specials are not part of the season ticket package.)

Motown - The Musical (The Songs. The Sound. The Story.) Playing November 21-26, 2017 at Benedum Center.


Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical Playing December 19-24, 2017 at Heinz Hall.


Wicked The Musical (Returns to Pittsburgh, with a special show for the Autism Audience) Playing January 24-February 11, 2018 at the Benedum Center.



Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella Playing May 22-27, 2018; Heinz Hall.


Coming in the 2018-2019 Season
Just when the audience thought this was the end of announcements for the upcoming season of musical Broadway entertainment to be embellished, the PNC Foundation and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced a preview of what's ahead in 2018-2019:



Hamilton An American Musical Season ticket holders from the 2017-2018 season will have first access to Hamilton when they renew their subscription for 2018-2019.  Playing at Benedum Center; Dates to be Announced.
Clearly, Pittsburgh is the prime destination for Broadway entertainment, and the PNC Foundation and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are delighted to offer multiple venues for these musicals in the upcoming season.  If the roar of the crowd at this preview was any indicator, then what's in store can only be described as a fulfillment of wishes for the best that Broadway has to offer without even traveling to New York City!


For more information, contact the Pittsburgh Trust for Cultural Resources, Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222; www.trustarts.org/broadway.

Submitted by Randi Koenig, Roving Pittsburgher Reporter; March 21, 2017

Randi Koenig is the PPLMag Events Calendar Co-ordinator and a Roving Pittsbugher Reporter. You can check out her very extensive coverage for local events and what's happening in Pittsburgh at:  PPLMag Calendar.  She is an independent marketing and sales professional who specializes in working with non-profits and is an excellent net worker and promoter of  http://www.positivelypittsburghlivemagazine.com .  She is also an excellent marketing and promotional writer as  you can see from this Roving Pittsburgher Report


The Roving Pittsburgher Report is one of sixteen good news segments on the PositivelyPittsburghLive podcast and is one of the good news pages on http://pplmag.com, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network and Pittsburgh's Premiere Podcasting Portal.

 

Publish Date: 01-23-2017 15:36:00
 



130 people Multi-meetup Steeler Game Party @ Corner Market & Ale!

Updated 11 hours ago
Don Rohsner and Frank Halling invited 11 meetup groups and setup some Facebook Events to watch the Steelers Playoff Game vs the Patriots. We were at the NEW Bar Restaurant Corner Market and Ale in 
Greentree. Had 130+ people overall and had a decent time.
with DJ & Dancing! 5-
Thanks to Corner Market and Ale for having us! We look 
Hope to see you at the Next Large Meetup Events coming upPLEASE RSVP, it helps convince others to go to the events!9pm https://www.meetup.com/pittsburgh-free/events/236552848/


Pittsburghers will use any excuse to party and even though the Steelers lost to the Patriots, there was still the unique Pittsburgh closeness and friendly environment. 

Here are some of the Better Events coming up! (20-100 meetup people showing)
MULTI-MEETUP HAPPY HOUR AT SOUTHSIDE STEEL CACTUS Thurs Jan 26th
https://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Events-Social-Meetup/events/236977097/
Cross-Posted on 9 meetups n 2 Facebook events should have 40-70 people which is good for a thursday.

FREE ADMISSION to the WARHOL MUSEUM for the Good Friday's Party at the Warhol!
Friday, Jan 27th
Good Fridays Party at the Warhol, has Free Admission (normally they charge) a Bar, DJ and Food and free run of the Warhol Museum!  Non-Hosted Meetup event, just something awesome n fun! https://www.meetup.com/pittsburgh-free/events/236905611/

Multi-Meetup Happy Hour for Friday February 3rd at Dorthy 6 in Homestead w DJ and Dancing https://www.meetup.com/pittsburgh-free/events/236552848/
Cross-Posted on 11 meetups n 2 Facebook events should have 80-120 people which is normal for a friday meetup happy hour w DJ & Dancing.

Tuesday February 7th Free Comedy Night at Buckhead Saloon plus one dollar tacos! https://www.meetup.com/pittsburgh-free/events/236552848/    Good Comedy 4-5 comedians for FREE.   We normally get 20-40 meetup people to show up to this event.

MEDICAL MARJIUANA CONVENTION at David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh.  April 21st-22nd 
NFL STAR Ricky Williams will be there and speaking!  For Patients, Caregiver, Doctors, Nurses and others interested in PA's Medical marijuana industry.  Use code Frank20 to save 20 on entry fee.  Pass this on if you know anyone with Chronic Pain, Autism, PTSD, Glaucoma etc.https://www.meetup.com/Medical-Marijuana-Compassionate-Certification-Centers/events/235275842/


This Meetup is for EVENTS that have a ticket/cover of $5 or LESS or even FREE! 
5-10% of the Events here on FREE & Almost FREE are SOCIAL
90-95% of the Events here are just informing you about cheap/cool/awesome stuff happening in the burgh region.  
So when there is a SOCIAL EVENT on this page with a HOST expect a couple extra emails to help make that meetup WORK and have a decent critical mass of people to make it decently fun! 
        There are a lot of activities in Pittsburgh that are free, or almost free - free days at museums, free concerts and films, free outdoors festivals, free cultural events ... . In addition to these (can't beat the price!), we'll post "almost free" ones where the cost is low (at most $5) compared to the fun that can be had.

         We're always looking for more ideas. YOU CAN POST YOUR OWN EVENTS HERE. If you have one, please click "+Schedule a New Meetup" and we will add it to our calendar as a "suggestion" ... and let me know so that I can turn it into a Meetup event.





 

Publish Date: 12-12-2016 13:11:00
 

Review of Homemade Food and Hometown Hospitality at PapaGallo's

by

Good News Reviewer Joanne Quinn-Smith aka TechnoGranny


PapaGallo friendly rooster
When Chef Len Spampinato decided to open PapaGallo in July 2010, he realized that, in order to make PapaGallo a breakfast and lunch restaurant that would truly stand out, he could use only the freshest ingredients. To make a breakfast that really rises and shines means that he has to offer more than just the classics.
The experience has a sweetness all of its own, with its irresistible food and friendly atmosphere, it is quickly becoming a favorite spot among locals and visitors to the area. As a child, Chef Len's grandfather used to sing a song about roosters to him and his 7 siblings. This fond memory has made its place in the PapaGallo name and rooster-themed decor. Located in Collier Town Square (1597 Washington Pike in Bridgeville), it is a ray of sophisticated sunshine in the middle of many fast-food establishments. With its rooster-themed decorations, PapaGallo is sure to become one of your favorite breakfast and/or lunch destinations.


The above paragraphs are straight from the PapaGallo website but we couldn't have said it better.  Len seems to live by the Will Rodgers motto:  "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet."  Once you come back you are greeted with a handshake or a hug from this smiling chef who will come back from behind his open space chef area. Yes you can watch Len cook your food.
It's not just the rooster themed decorations that will send you into admiration but the celebrity autographed pictures on the walls also.
Some unique things you will find to let you know you are welcome:  strawberry candies in the spotless ladies room along with a notebook to leave a note about your visit.  I "borrowed" it from the ladies room on one visit and all the comments are lovely and positive. In case you missed it, on the way out the front door is a side table with another notebook that you can leave comments on.
Here are some of my favorites from Len's breakfast menu:
The Phil Henry Omelette* $10.95
Julienne vegetables fire-seared, w/asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes & spinach. Served with your choice of toast.
Crisp Bacon, Italian or Turkey Sausage, Grilled Ham $3.50
Chorizo & Eggs* $11.95
Grilled peppers, onions and tomatoes w/melted Jack cheese w/warm tortillas, with a side of home fries.
PapaGallo Soup to Go
Len also has a Gluten Free Menu and takes requests so substitutions are given joyfully and if you ate a special there on a visit before and it's not on the specials menu and Len has the ingredients he will make it up special for you.  Of course made to order means you must have some time to wait for it but it's always worth the wait.  So bring along a friend with whom you can have some great covnersation but if you can't get a lunch date then bring your tablet or Ipad and enjoy his free Wi-Fi.

Recently the soup of the day was Butternut Squash Soup and since both my guest and I had early dinner plans we just had that, yummy.  


And one of his special gourment oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with cranberries and nuts and other healthy stuff.  Yes, I said healthy, that's how I determine that it's okay to eat something so decadent but since I am off sugar I only reward myself with half a one occasionally.  They are rich enough to share with a friend but if you know you are going order them in advance as he runs out early. Did I mention that all of his delectable soups are available to go?

Some of my lunchtime favorites.

Vine-ripe Vegetable Panini $9.95
Balsamic grilled vegetables with fresh mozzarella. Served with freshly-made salad.
Crab Cakes $12.95
Jumbo Crabcake sandwich with tartar or cocktail sauce and fresh lemon. Can also be served as a salad.
Soup to Go has picture on website
Pesto Chicken Panini $9.95
Grilled chicken with basil pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Golden Fish Tacos $11.95
Fresh fish with Asian cilantro vinagrette and chili lime cream served with creamy coleslaw, and crisp fries.
Freshly Baked Gourmet Cookies $1.00


PapaGallo Roasted Vegetable


Breads and Muffins
Cranberry Bread $1.95
Fruited Muffins and Cinnamon Rolls $2.10

Interactive Gourmet Culinary Class with Chef Len
Savor the idea of selecting your favorite culinary delicacies from a menu or hors d'oeuvres, entrГe and dessert.  Imagine savory aromas wafting throughout the warmth of your home or PapaGallo's CucГna. Hear music, friends' laughter and the sounds of corks popping as you celebrate creativity.


PapaGallo Mushroom Prosciuto Asiago


Len's Custom Gourmet Catering

PapaGallo has always been known for gourmet breakfast and lunch and that quality continues with our gourmet catering. Whether it is a corporate event, birthday party, first communion or a bar/bat mitzvah, you can depend on Chef Len's custom gourmet catering to make a lasting impression on your guests.
Oh by the way, if you are expecting dinner, you will not get it at PappaGallo's as Len closes at 2:30PM thru the week and 1:30 on Saturdays.  He reserves the rest of the time for family and of course his amazing private catering.  You could get him to cook dinner at your house for family and friends!  Just saying! If you invite me that wouldn't make me mad.
Great parking:
Collier Town Square
1597 Washington Pike
Bridgeville, PA 15017

Hours of Operation

Mon Fri: 7 AM to 2:30 PM
Sat: 8 AM to 1:30 PM


http://www.papagallo.us/


 

Publish Date: 12-10-2016 12:46:00
 

Reviewed by Good News Reviewer
Clarine Lizana

As the curtain goes up on the Pittsburgh Opera's 2016 presentation of Strauss's " Salome" the audience was immediately drawn in by the exquisite set design of Boyd Ostroff. Creating the illusion of fluidity and change in a one-act Opera is not easy, but between the beautiful bas-relief of the set design and the ever-changing mood reflected in the moon, the stage becomes a vibrant part of the production.

Based on the play by Oscar Wilde, Salome reimagines the biblical story of King Herod, his stepdaughter Salome and John the Baptist - Jochanaan. "Salome" provides one interpretation of why exactly Salome forced Herod to give her John the Baptist's severed head on a silver platter.



Salome, Op. 54, is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann's German translation of the French play SalomГ by Oscar Wilde. Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer.[1]

Salome is not an opera that needs much help holding the audience's attention, however, steeped as it is in some of the vilest characteristics of the human race lust, incest, and necrophilia. It is truly amazing that the opera was not banned in major cities when originally released because of the notorious dance of the seven veils. Nudity pales in comparison to the desires of the main characters of Herod, Herodias and Salome.

Patricia Racitte's Salome was outstanding, not only for her musical ability, but also for the physicality she brought to the role. When she is on stage she rules the stage and she holds the audience's attention throughout her performance. Her actions seem neither forced nor stilted, but create a moving montage of lust, anger and desire. This was her Pittsburgh debut so we hope to see her again.



Dance of the Seven Veils could have been long and painful but was so expertly choreographed by Michele de la Reza of Attack Theatre that it held the audience spellbound.

     Jonathan Boyd as Narraboth and Two-time Grammy winner Nmon Ford as Jochanaan both gave excellent performances. Boyd's voice and diction were exceptionally clear and even off stage Ford's voice was commanding. Robert Brubaker as King Herod had some comical moments despite the tragic them and Michaela Martens is absolutely imperious as Herodias.

Pittsburgh Opera had not performed Salome since 2001, and is performed a different production than the previous.  The production is ˜traditional'- meaning that the sets and costumes make it look like the biblical era in which it takes place.



     Although the story is extremely tragic, the actions and reactions of the characters were often comedic. Overall it was an interesting and pleasurable opera.  It would be a shame to wait another fifteen years to bring it back.  



The Roving Pittsburgher Report is one of sixteen good news segments on the PositivelyPittsburghLive podcast and is one of the good news pages on http://pplmag.com, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network and Pittsburgh's Premiere Podcasting Portal.





Clarine Lizana is a retired electrical engineer who is a former native of Republic, Pa and returned to Pennsylvania after retirement. She was formerly a training director at Crater Lake Electrical. She now lives in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and spends her retirement crafting, visiting family, golfing and travelling, having just returned from a trip to Italy where "La Trviata" of course was

 

Publish Date: 12-09-2016 21:15:00
 


If you were in Market Square at the Holiday Market on December 5, 2016 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, you may have wondered if you were in a time warp that took you back to Halloween. Unsuspecting visitors to the Market Square Christmas Village were treated to a new kind of holiday experience.  Interspersed among the merry making shoppers and visitors were, creatures that appear to be the antithesis of Christmas.





The Krampus Krawl participants who dress as Krampi wear anything from a mask and set of horns to a full blown goat-man costume. Some of the ladies come as fauns. The wild creatures make quite an impression as they visit each of the taverns on the often improvised route. 


This was the start of the Third Annual Krampus Crawl in Pittsburgh.  Some horror story enthusiasts may remember the movie "Krampus" released December 4, 2015, by Universal Pictures.[3][4] It's an American Christmas comedy horror film based upon the eponymous character from Germanic folklore, directed by Michael Dougherty and written by Dougherty, Todd Casey and Zach Shields. The film stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen and Krista Stadler.

In the movie, a boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.  When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family's home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Krampusnacht, a European tradition that honors Krampus, a horned "half-goat, half-demon" who is said to punish misbehaved children during the Christmas season, took place in Market Square on December 5.


What is Krampus?
In German-speaking Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure. According to traditional narratives around the figure, Krampus punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts.


Revelers dressed up as Krampus and posed for photos before embarking on the Krampus Krawl, a bar crawl following the old European tradition called "Krampuslauf." According to the event's Facebook page, "the procession often takes on the appearance of a parade, with the hairy beasts performing for onlookers." There was also a balloon artist and the band The Cheer'ly Men performed for onlookers.


Some 100 people showed up for the miscreant revelry for in many cases, was their first glimpse of Krampus, the horned anthropomorphic figure known in Germanic folklore at St. Nicholas' counterpart.
Krampus is a hundred year old European holiday that Mark Menhold brought to Pittsburgh.  Mark wore an elaborate Krampus costume at ˜Krampusnacht,' Pittsburgh's first-ever Krampus celebration. Mark is also known for his creative work with Pittsburgh's popular Zombie Fest.



It's a little Halloween, a little bit of Christmas.  Santa Claus rewards the good childrenand Krampus punishes the naughty ones. Mark was heard to tell onlookers.

Krampusnacht is traditionally celebrated in many European countries on the Eve of St. Nicholas.  This goat like creature is the exact opposite of Santa Claus and Krampusnacht was followed not by milk and cookies but by a Krampus Crawl, a pub crawl that made its way to several downtown bars and taverns where patrons were expected to buy Krampus schnapps for the Krampus impersonators. 
Reviewer Buddy Smith dressed as Krumpus







Krampusnacht in Market Square was for the naught and the nice to celebrate the holidays in a unique way and for some children to discover that there is a sidekick of Santa Claus who would not just withhold gifts but would also punish them for bad behavior.  




Joseph Budd Smith III is a Retention Specialist for American Income Life Insurance Company.  American Income Lifeprovides life insurance and supplemental health benefits to working families in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.  Budd is also an adult gaming enthusiast and a Shakespeare fan.

 

Publish Date: 12-09-2016 14:41:00
 

Reviewed by Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer Angel Quinn

A Christmas Story, The Musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle (You'll shoot your eye out kid! ). An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a double-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish. Chock-full of delightful songs and splashy production numbers, A Christmas Story, The Musical has proudly taken its place as a perennial holiday classic for the whole family. The New York Times writes I was dazzled. You'd have to have a Grinch-sized heart not to feel a smile spreading across your face. A Christmas Story, The Musical premiered on Broadway in 2012 and was nominated for three Tony Awards including Best New Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical.



This hysterical musical presents that he will do whatever it takes to make it known that he really wants one. From writing a story about it in school, leaving notes around the house for his parents to even asking Santa-who thinks it's a horrible idea. Thus, the "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" comment.  He'll have to wait until Christmas morning to see if he gets what he wants. This comical rendition of A Christmas story is for all ages and will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit.  It's no wonder that the TV movie version has traditionally amused and entertained families down through generations for years.

In a pre-war 1940 in small-town Indiana, Christmastime turns 9-year-old Ralphie (Austin Molinaro) into an almost maniacal, bespectacled, obsessed child fiend because of his rampant wish that Santa leave an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot BB gun on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Story, the Musical, has been adapted from the ever popular nostalgic Christmas movie of the same never.  Ever popular with baby boomers, the desire to see this movie has been passed on from grandparents to grandchildren and even great grandchildren.  Like the movie the musical takes us back to a time when stay-at-home moms were cooks and dressed like Donna Reed.  Pardon the baby boomer mention, for us millennial, look it up.  My mother in law had to tell me this one. Mothers of the time, wiped noses, scolded, ran up to the school which was close enough to do then when the children got into trouble and dispensed sage advice about bullies.

The songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book writer Joseph Robinette sentimentally stayed close to the movie that runs endlessly on TV during the holidays. But they added their own individuality to with big production numbers by choreographer Warren Carlyle and a dozen singing, dancing kids.

The most fun thing about this musical was the kids.  Often the two Ralphies are onstage together singing about disasters and triumphs and being an older brother and bullies and the general would be malaise of childhood.  
You'll shoot your eye out, is an oft-repeated phrase and the title of a big second-act dance number for Miss Shields. Ralphie fantasizes that Miss Shields is a sexy flapper and his schoolmates do a Gene Kelly type tap with an impressive tap solo by Lucas Marinetto.
Just like the movie there are allusions to the horrendously gauche leg lamp that emits the soft glow of electric sex, as Ralphie puts it; his pal Flick getting his tongue stuck on a flagpole, the ridiculously fru-fru pink bunny suit sent to Ralphie by a well-meaning aunt and the Old Man's mumbled curses. 

What a musical funfest for the entire family, young and old.  It was a bit edgy and your mind could wonder to adult unsaid content if you let it and there is of course the hysterical slide scene with the bad Santa in the department store but overall it's a funny story narrated by the adult Ralphie which recounts his hysterically amusing childhood which wasn't so hysterical to him.  And then there were the kids and I wonder if they will be as nostalgic about their performances as fans are about the movie and the musical.  Another great feather in the cap of Pittsburgh as it brings grand theater and musicals to Pittsburgh.


 Angel Quinn is a graduate pharmacy technician and business student at Carlow University, a wife, mother and sometimes Wonderwoman and also Hometown Tourist Reviewer for Roving Pittsburgher Report and pplmag.com

The Roving Pittsburgher Report is one of sixteen good news segments on the PositivelyPittsburghLive podcast and is one of the good news pages on http://pplmag.com, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network and Pittsburgh's Premiere Podcasting Portal.


 

Publish Date: 10-15-2016 06:40:00
 

The Fallen Woman Theme Inspires Once Again in "La Triviata."

by Hometown Tourist, Clarine Lizana

The story of a fallen woman with a noble heart has inspired theater and opera goers for centuries. The Pittsburgh Opera opened their 2016-2017 season this month with Verdi's La Traviata , as did the Florentine Opera. La Traviata translates as The Fallen Woman , a subject that may seem a little trite and sexist in this day and age. The heart of the story, however, deals with the life choices made by young people of every age, the decision to lead a life of hedonistic pleasure, or a life of true devotion. Whether to another person, a cause or an ideal, this sublimation brings the fullness of life and joy. Sadly for Violetta, this realization comes too late in life.



The performances of the cast and orchestra were excellent. Danielle Pastin as Violetta sets the bar for any who would follow her on the Pittsburgh stage. Her voice is not only strong and precise, but has a certain melodic quality that makes one wish that she were available to lullaby them to sleep at night. Every note that issued from her throat mesmerized me. The pairing of the two lovers, Danielle Pastinas Violetta and Cody Austin  as Alfredo Germont was powerful and touching but could not compare to that of Sebastian Catana as Giorgio Germont.  I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.




The minimalistic set design created a stark contrast to the ornate costumes of the era. A large framed painting, present during the first and third act, made to resemble a fresco created an excellent backdrop to the story. It gave an old world feel to the opera setting. My only complaint was with some of the staging, which allowed performers to be turned from the audience or blocked by other performers.  

Sung in Italian with English subtitles, this two hour and twelve minute opera with two intermissions left you wanting more instead of wondering when it would end.
For late comers, you can still see La Traviata on Sunday at October 16 at 2PM.  Well worth the trip.

As an opera enthusiast, my greatest joy of the night was the size of the crowd. For a Tuesday night, the theater was quite full. Even more exciting was the fact that a good portion of those in attendance appeared to be 30 years and younger. Perhaps the millennials will bring a revival in the arts.


Clarine Lizana is a retired electrical engineer who is a former native of Republic, Pa and returned to Pennsylvania after retirement. She was formerly a training director at Crater Lake Electrical. She now lives in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and spends her retirement crafting, visiting family, golfing and travelling, having just returned from a trip to Italy where "La Trviata" of course was playing.

 

Publish Date: 10-14-2016 11:44:00
 


Back to the Future
A Retro Blast to the Past! 
Film with Orchestra
Performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
 Summer with the Symphony Series
Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh  
Reviewer:  JoAnn R. Forrester, Empress of Biz, Listen, Learn, Prosper





Whoawait a minute here. Wasn't it only a few years ago that the hit movie BACK TO THE FUTURE was released?   And now in 2016 it is being proclaimed a classic!  And it being shown as one in a series of shows in the Summer with the Symphony Series performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony. What happened? Have I somehow been transported to the future?

 Nope! It is just something that happens along the way when one is raising a family, starting and running a business and just living life.  Ok, now that I am somewhat over 30 years that has come and gone in a blink of an eyelash let's focus on the review.
 
Back to the Future is celebrating a 30 year anniversary.  It was a mega hit when it debut in 1986.  To celebrate its 30th anniversary the Pittsburgh Symphony in its Summer with the Symphony has come up with a fun and captivating way to present it.  The movie was shown on a big hi-def screen with a full symphony orchestra performing Emmy and Grammy Award composer Alan Silvestri's dazzling musical score in synch with the movie.  As a special treat Silvestri composed an additional 15 minutes of music to enhance a live performance with an orchestra. 

live characters opening show

It was fun to go Back to the Future and watch another grand escapism adventure by Steven Spielberg.  It was very enjoyable to relive the performance of the exceptional cast, Michael J.Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover as they deal with various twists and turns and quirks of time travel.  The movie hods well and does not appear out of date..it fits admirably into our gadget loving crazed era.  Young and old in the audience were enthralled, calpped and cheered periodcially and gave a rousing ovation at the end.  

As usual the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, led by
Francesco Lecce-Chang performed superbly.  And it was fun watching a few members posing as the main characters with a real DeLorean for photo opps.   The Summer with the Symphony series is a hit.  It is a great way for people to come downtown and become familiar with our excellent Pittsburgh Symphony. 

The most amazing thing about the show was being able to see the symphony play right below the screen and feeling disappointed for them that they had to concentrate on the music and not enjoy the show.  

Now if I could just find those 30 years that flew byewhere is my flux capacitor?  

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

 

Publish Date: 06-01-2016 10:45:00
 


"39 Steps is Non-Stop Hilarity."

by Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith

If you want side splitting laugh a minute entertainment then see Tony Award Winning Hit Comedy thriller, "39 Steps" at the Cabaret Theater.  What an uproarious experience in minimalistic stage effects with maximum hilarity. Four players take you through the twists and turns of a comedic plot using 1940's or Mel Brooks type music spots to hi-light the intense "drama."  Sorry, no drama just madcap hysteria. 


It's interesting to note that everything old is new again as the original globe theater had no curtain to rise and fall between scenes and 39 Steps was not much different.  The Cabaret Curtain fell possibly once during intermission.   In Shakespeare's time a wall and a door were used to signify comings and goings, in this slapstick comedy there was no wall, just a door. For comings and goings and quick changes of characters costumes and being able to actually see some of that going on, added to the comedic impact of the actors.

Allan Snyder and Luke Halferty, photo:  Matt Polk

There is no lack of talent either on the part of the actors, Quinn Patrick Shannon and Allan Snyder are the perfect clowning partners reminiscent of old time comedy such as the Keystone cops and Abbot and Costello playing multiple parts of spies, law enforcement and husband and wife (yes wife) villains and innkeepers.  Please don't discount the element of outrageous drag in this play.  Did I say 39 Steps has something for everyone? And it' s hard to believe that with all this hilarity the show could be G rated, not even PG.


The femme fatale of the play, Megan Pickrell also moves easily between three parts from the manipulative spy to the farmer's wife and the aloof career woman. On the other hand Richard.  Luke Halferty as Richard Hannay only plays one part through multiple assumed identities that allows for everything from comedy to drama and slow motion silent film effects.

Luke Halferty and Quinn Patrick Shannon, photo by Archie Carpenter

The Director Guy Stroman deserves huge commendation for a great work of comedic art.  This is also the one time that I must mention the technical side of the show and all deserve equal kudos.  Scenic Desinger Tony Ferrieri, loved "the car and its lights."  Lighting Designer, Andrew David Ostrowski, were you responsible for the dancing stick puppets?  Costume Designer Stephanie Shaw, what genius in designing quick changes for comedic transition of characters!  Sound Designer Bob Bollman's precision with sounds at the mention of "39 Steps" and the scenes behind the opening and closing of doors!  And not to be left out Production Stage Manager Tim Brady!  All I can say is, "wow." 

The cast, photo by Archie Carpenter

Enough! Enough, I could write for hours about this play.  This reviewer personally thinks it is the best play that the CLO has done at the Cabaret.  Just go see it, it runs thru August 14, 2016.  And bring the out of town visiting relatives, they will love it too.



Joanne Quinn-Smith, Award winning podcaster, 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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 05-12-2016 21:42:00
 

Cirque de la Symphonie
PNC Pops 2015-2016

reviewed by Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith

Cirque de La Symphonie which performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra April 29 thru May 1, 2016 is a breathtaking bucket list addition if you have not seen it.  It is quite simply a marriage of exciting movement and music with unique elements of danger and comedy when the aerial hoop and aerial silk artists swing out over the symphony crowd.
The sound track other than the music were gasps, chuckles and sighs of relief just when you thought an aerial movement would not make it.  This performance had something for everyone both the casual circus crowd and the elegantly dressed regular symphony devotees. 

Every time I attend I think "oh my granddaughter would love this but I am always so excited to attend myself that I do forget to see if she can come out on a school night.  Sorry Anaiyah.  Next year,
remind me.

Many of the performers perform double acts as Ms. Gavre and Mr. Binayamin.  Talk about role reversals, in their performance to "Por Una Cabeza," in an acrobatic tango.  Ms. Gavre lifts Mr. Binayamin proving that a petite woman can actually balance a muscle bound man.
Mr. Tsarkov is quite resplendent in the most colorful and comedic sequined jester's outfit as he performs to "Devil's Dance," juggling like you have never seen it before.


If you studied geometry in high school or college you might wonder how Mr. Streltsov managed to twirl large cubes on the palm of his hand to the upbeat tempo of "Les Toreadors."
Ms Gavre again proves her strength and dexterity with the spinning hoops dangling high above the stage and the audience. Not to be outdone Ms Tsarkove does a ballet on the uneven pedestals with spinning acrobatics and poses.  The audience is
sure she would have no trouble getting a date as she poses very sensually to "Bacchanale" from "Samson and Delilah"  She is also the quick change artist, donning six different outfits right on stage.

But the PSO is not to be outdone by all of this "big top" excitement and performs stupendously on their own with "Espana." and later "A Comedy Tonight" from "A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

Mr. Steltsov and Ms Van Loo are spectacular on the aerial silks performing dreamily to the Waltz from Swan Lake and also sprach Zarathustra, Opus 30.

The big moment though as you can see from the pictures was the big top finale of Jarek and Darek acrobatics, what feats of strength and synchronicity and seemingly impossible acrobatic poses.  Some will remember Jarek and Darek from "America's Got Talent."

For those who stayed for the post symphony talk, the conversation from performers and conductor Jack Everly was both humorous and informative.  Conductor Everly's banter in between numbers during the performance kept the audience enthralled with not only his symphonic ability but his glib sense of humor.

In a town where sports is king and the symphony is like the regal Queen of England, both symphony audiences and sports fans cheered so loudly it could have been over one of our hometown teams having a big win.  This was definitely a big win for the Pittsburgh Symphony and La Cirque.




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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 05-12-2016 19:28:00
 


Le Corsaire
A Pirate Saga with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Orchestra
April 15, 2016

by Roving Pittsburgher Reporter, Joshua Kurnot 

                My love affair with ballet begins with Le Corsaire. Friday April 15, 2016 was my second, live, full-scale, professional ballet theater experience. I was quickly seduced with its dynamic and explosive character, movement, and scenery. In contrast, I did not fall in love with ballet during my first experience during the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's season opening performances showcasing William Forsythe's work. That stuff was way over my head, too modern and stark for my understanding as a novice ballet spectator. Le Corsairse's classic themes made it easy to sympathize with.
                The stunning sets for this performance were made in Germany and brought from Uruguay after only their first use there. Most striking was the grotto where the pirates hid out after stealing their prize girl and looting the village. The rippling rocks of the cave walls sparkled with gem stones and the allure of its hidden treasures within while the captain of pirates, his bare chested slave, and his newly stolen beauty danced to entertain the troops, but mutiny quickly ensued.


                The obvious crowd favorite that night was the bare-chested slave to the pirate captain being
danced by Ruslan Mukhambetkaliyev. This guy was the muscle behind stealing the prized beauty for the pirates and also stealing the entire show that night. It was a shame that the ladies didn't even have the chance to really captivate the audience, but that's because the ballet wasn't created to showcase the female dynamic. This Russian style ballet showed off the power and strength of the male dancers. Ruslan's training at the Almaty Ballet Academy in Kazakhstan and later performances as a soloist with the Moscow City Ballet and principle with the Russian National Ballet made him perfect for his role. His jumps were the highest, his lines were the strongest, and his endurance was obvious as he effortlessly performed big trick after big trick while being fueled by the excitement and cheers from the audience. The coolest part of having a live orchestra in the pit was that when Ruslan or any other dancer got on a role breaking out the really impressive moves, the maestro could sense the excitement from the audience and direct impromptu repetitions in the musical arrangements to accommodate and accentuate their performances. The synergy between the dancers, musicians, and audience was totally and completely electrifying.




Anna-Marie Holmes was the night's guest of honor. In some way she owns Le Corsaire legally, but artistically she is the absolute authority on its creative subtleties. Talk-back discussions after the performance revealed her humble dedication to the original ideals of the ballet, but also highlighted her passion to perfect it. Many questions were about the originality of the sets, music scores, and choreography. Anna-Marie's eloquent response to these prying questions was honest statements that exemplified how many of the world's greatest artistic performances were conglomerations of artistic collaboration through many decades of dedication and hard work.

Joshua Kurnot is a West Virginia University Graduate of the School of Engineering.  He was also part of the student team of West Virginia University engineering students who won the 2014 24-hour innovation competition held by Ecole de Technologies Superieure in Montreal Canada.  Joshua now makes his home in Pittsburgh and hopes to do his small part to reduce the brain drain in the Pittsburgh area by securing a job as a mechanical engineer. Contact Joshua

 

Publish Date: 03-25-2016 15:40:00
 


27
A modern Opera
Gertrude Stein and Alice Tobias
The Talk of Paris
Music by Ricky Ian Gordon, Libertto by Royce Varvrek
2425 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
 Presented by the Pittsburgh Opera
Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
 Reviewer:  JoAnn R. Forrester, Empress of Biz,  

Pittsburgh has many jewels in its cultural crown. One of the brightest jewels is the Pittsburgh Opera.
Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas
The 77th season began with the Pittsburgh premiere of 
Ricky Ian Gordon's 27.  Spotlighting larger than life novelist, poet, playwright, and Pittsburgh native Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas27 will delight you with Ricky Ian Gordon's "tuneful score" and Royce Vavrek's "quick-witted libretto." 
 The production of 27 was held at the Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters, located at 2425 Liberty Avenue in the Strip District.  This is an amazing well designed renovated space that is the ˜ training ground for the next generation of Opera Stars.  The building and the resident artist program alone deserves its own review.  What a sparkling jewel in our cultural scene crown. 
I was mesmerized by the production of 27 , the life and times of Gertrude Stein and Alice Tobias and their influence on the development of 20th century arts.  I thoroughly enjoyed score of Mr.  Gordon, evoking jazz, foxtrot and musical theater. 
 The opera 27 is in five acts and portrays the life of Gertrude Stein and Tobias from 1910 to 1946.  It demonstrates their influence and impact on the world of art through their stimulating art challenging Parisian saloon.   It was fascinating to watch Gertrude and Alice living in pre War World I  Paris creating a saloon that hosted the emerging 20th century painters, Picasso and Henri Matisse . 

Gertrude and Alice created their own world excluding those who did not accept them including   Gertrude Stein brother, Leo Stein.  Who left 27 rue de Fluerus, when Alice Tobias became a permanent part of the household.  Gertrude and Leo never spoke again. 

World War I comes and goes with all its hardships and sacrifices.  After World War I Gertrude and Alice host emerging writers of the Lost Generation such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the photographer Man Ray.  This period sandwiched in between two World Wars is lived at a frenetic pace with all are trying to make up for the upheaval and destruction of the past war.  Meantime the Great Depression is on horizon and the drums of war start to beat softly and then louder and louder until they thunder and burst on the world stage and War II erupts. 




 World War II brought a drastic change to Gertrude Stein.  Her goal for her and Alice to be safe causes her to do what is necessary to be safe and survive occupied France.  After the war the end come quickly for guilt consumed Gertrude Stein.  The last act features Alice Tobias and Picasso as they say goodbye, pack and send Picasso's picture of Gertrude Stein to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 


I thoroughly enjoyed the resident artists as they delivered this Pittsburgh premiere of 27 I was impressed with Laurel Seerdjian (mezzo-soprano) portrayal of Gertrude Stein and Adelaide Boedecker (soprano) as Alice.  Their duets together conveyed great warmth, affection and devotion to one another.  The men, Adam Bonanni, (tenor) Matthew Sciollin (bass baritone) and Brian Tobias (baritone) were versatile and in good voice in their many faceted roles.  The Pittsburgh Opera's Residence artist program is a boon to Pittsburgh and to Opera.   All those in this production of 27 are on the path to artistic success.   

It's a good bet for your money to support and enjoy the Pittsburgh opera.  If you have never attended the opera, you might start with The Barber of Seville, opening on April 2.  

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

 

Publish Date: 03-09-2016 15:36:00
 

Bridges of Madison County 

Harlequin Romance or Arthur and Guinevere?



The Bridges of Madison County that opened at the Benedum in Pittsburgh last night has the steaminess of a Harlequin Romance Novel touched with tragic illusions that date back to stories like Lancelot and Guinevere and serenendipitous lovers trapped by a chance meeting between passion, reality and honor.From a slow background start the musical wends its way through the audience's emotions like a rollercoaster between comedy, lust, broken dreams and soulful duets.  Stripped to their private thoughts, even the men in the audience would have to admit that the show tugged at their hearts and returned them to a chance encounter, a furtive one night stand or a glimpse into "what might have been."



This two time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical by composer Robert James Waller has evolved from a bestselling book by Pulitzer Prize Winner Marsha Norman to a movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood to a Broadway musical is the stuff of housewives fantasies and romantic tragedies with local color, historic flashbacks and comic relief episodes.   

The Daily News hails as one of Broadway's best scores in the last decade. It's easy to see why.  Although there are no "Oklahoma" catchy tunes that stick in your head they certainly will rap you in their magic while you are there.  There is one show stopper at the end though and both I and my theater partner wished we could have given him a standing ovation for it. With his rendition of "When I'm Gone" Charlie (David Hess) goes from mealy mouthed comic episodes to leading man status and that is one song that you wish was just a bit longer.

The performance of Francesca ( Elizabeth Stanley) was of course stellar even though as a granddaughter of immigrant Italians on both sides of the family I found her Italian accent a bit wanting, but her voice could transport you to the outer limits of heaven.  The real star of the show though is Robert (Andrew Samonsky).  His "The World Inside a Frame" truly creates a picture.  Also the chemistry between he and Francesca did not need shirtless scenes to be steamy and electric even from row P in the orchestra.

Norman also has created a pair of comical neighbors, Marge and Charlie (Mary Callanan and David Hess). Marge spies on Francesca and her hippie Photographer guest through binoculars and tries to engage her passive husband Charlie jealous speculation; their banter is humorous and finally the results are homespun and touching.  Marge also has a huge musical moment along with the Radio Singers in "Get Closer."  While part of the stage is "filled" with Francesca and Robert dancing Marge has her own vicarious experience. For the chick flick or chick theater followers Robert with his superior height to Francesca has an enticing way of wrapping his tall body around Francesca.

The great thing about this show is that fantasies and reality both are all part of life and the interjections of all types of music from country to almost operatic and blues with athletic dancing and movement of scenery really made this show come to life in the theater.  From housewife to construction worker, business women, traveler or handyman everyone can relate to that one moment that "might have been."


 Don't let this be a "might have done" in your life but DO SEE  "The Bridges of Madison County playing at the Benedum on 7th St in Pittsburgh through Sunday March 13, 2016.  Tickets start at $26.00.   

Additional Info and Tickets here


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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 02-11-2016 17:04:00
 

Guys & Dolls:  A Showcase of Talent at PPT
By Good News Reporter, Megan Grabowski

When Pittsburgh Public Theater (PPT) produces a musical you are sure to be wowed.  This season, the American classic, Guys & Dolls will not disappoint.  An audience pleaser all around, Guys & Dolls is entertaining for both the musical maven as well as any theater novice.  Producing artistic director, the esteemed Ted Pappas, has covered all the bases to assure this performance is nothing less than stellar. Guys & Dolls is a must see.

One of America's most beloved musicals, Guys & Dolls takes place in mid-century bustling New York City.  Small time gambler Nathan Detroit (Joel Hurt Jones) is scrambling  to find a location for the next floating crap game, while dodging Lt. Brannigan (Tony Bingham) and  Miss Adelaide, (Kirsten Wyatt) leading performer at the Hot Box night club and his fiancГe of fourteen years.   With help from fellow hoodlums Nicely, Nicely Johnson (Quinn Patrick Shannon), Rusty Charlie (Joe Jackson) and Benny Southstreet (Gavan Pamer), Detroit attempts to arrange the game at the Biltmore Garage.  Owner Joey Biltmore (Daniel Krell) wants a $1000.00 deposit before he agrees and Detroit is broke.   He decides to earn the $1000.00 by making a wager with Sky Masterson (Charlie Brady) a man who will bet on anything. Detroit bets Masterson that he can't convince the beautiful and pious, Sarah Brown, Sergeant of Save- a- Soul Mission, to take a trip with him to Havana, Cuba.  Masterson, accepts the challenge. What follows is a quest for love and redemption depicted through an award winning score and clever choreography.
 
Charlie Brady and Doreen Burns

The four leading roles, Nathan Detroit, Sky Masterson, Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide boast notable credits ranging from live theater,  film and television, national as well as local theater.  The leading ladies are exactly what you would expect from a PPT production, refined and skilled in their craft.  Burn's operatic vocal range is resounding and at times nearly drowns out her male counterparts.  Kudos to Wyatt whose New York accent is on spot. She manages to maintain it throughout the entire performance, something I have witnessed many talented men and women struggle with on stage.   Masterson, a ladies' man, can schmooze a woman and roll a set of dice, sing and dance too.  His rendition of Luck Be a Lady was a highlight of the show but my heart melted listening to Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit sing the duet, Sue Me , it was sweet and harmonic.
Although there isn't one single cast member who disappoints, the supporting cast and ensemble are especially brilliant. The beautiful Hot Box girls, as Farmerettes, in A Bushel and a Peck , are just the right amount of risquГ.  Sarah's grandfather, Arvide Abernathy (Larry John Meyers) sings More I Cannot Wish You , a sentimental tune that warms the heart and Nicely, Nicely Johnson and the ensemble receive a roar of applause after Sit Down, Your Rockin' the Boat . 


  The O'Reilly Theater has a mid-sized stage and the choreography is tailored to the space.  Personally, when I see a strong male cast I look forward to powerful leaps and turns.  The dancing in Guys and Dolls doesn't lack these attributes but there were moments when I expected  larger.  The dancing was most engaging during Havana and The Crapshooters Dance . 

Guys & Dolls boasts bright and cheery costumes, an uplifting musical score, energetic dancing and engaging acting.  The show runs through February 28 at The O'Reilly Theater in Pittsburgh's Cultural District. 

  For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/44232/guys-and-dolls

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski
Income Maintance Caseworker at State of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Positively Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer, Professional writer, Social-Media Junkie, Community Fundraiser and Pittsburgh Enthusiast. 

 

Publish Date: 02-11-2016 13:11:00
 


Wilkommen to "CABARET" AT THE BENEDUM CENTER

An unbiased review by Mr. and Mrs. CardiologyGood News Review by Dr. Santosh and Mrs. Sunita Pandit



The air was electric as we waited for the show to begin!  This was the first time in our simple career of attending shows in the Cultural District that we really noticed the audience's feel of anticipation and awe of what was to come.  My husband,Dr. Santosh Pandit or Mr. Cardiology, as
he has been dubbed, got busy right away using the opera glasses to watch the unusual activity on the stage. There were actors limbering up and actually doing cartwheels and splits! I can understand his curiosity because the gals on stage looked from our seats in row Q as though they were wearing nothing!  They were all wearing skimpy clothing in flesh colors I noticed the stage had a second story where it was filled from end to end with musicians or were they the actors ohhhh they were doing both!



The swell of the audience's energy climaxed as the lights dimmed.  The lead, Emcee Randy Harrison came out from behind a door and started to sing.  Oh but I could not understand his words. I wanted to adjust the acoustics so that I could lower the music and hear him clearly.  It was worse for my husband as he does not understand French!  But to my delight, the loud music became a minor detraction as the actors outdid themselves in producing their heart felt performances.



Pittsburgh is in for a real treat with this rendition of Cabaret.  For those like Mr. Cardiology who did not grow up in America do a little reading so you can follow the story better and that way you can concentrate on appreciating the performances.  Well worth more than the price of the tickets My favorite was Fraulein Schneider Shannon Cochran singing ˜So What' with Sally Andrea Goss singing ˜Don't Tell Mama' a close second!  Randy Harrison as the Emcee was actually like a band leader in his ability to keep the energy level at peak for the entire performance made me think everyone else was making sure they kept up! BRAVO!

To all the cast and crew my Hats Off to YOU! Congratulations and Thank You for coming to Pittsburgh and allowing us to ˜Get Away' from our daily routine


MrsCardiology Sunita S. Pandit

Sunita Pandit, host of Mrs. Cardiology which is an anchor podcast at http://pplmag.com is also the practice manager for her husband Santosh Pandit's private cardiology practice in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, she is also the Health Director on the Board of NAWBO Greater Pittsburgh. Dr. Santosh Pandit is a private practice cardiologist in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

 

Publish Date: 01-30-2016 18:21:00
 


The Nutcracker, A Holiday Tradition That's New Every Year

by Pittsburgh Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith

A nutcracker is a tool designed to open nuts by cracking their shells. But truly in the theater at the family holiday tradition of "The Nutcracker" presented by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, no one cares with the presentation of The Nutcracker during the holiday season of 2015, the Pittsburgh Ballet definitely cracked the code of entertainment for young and old and sheer delight for all ages.
 







From the beautifully lit backdrops to the exotic flavor of the international dance numbers, the snow flower dance with the bees and the Chinese dragon, the audience can never tire of the enchantment of the Choreographer, Terrence S. Orr's  interpretation of Tchaikovsky's suite from the original ballet derived from the Story of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It seems as though every year that one attends, there is always something new and exciting that wasn't there last year in the performance or that you just notice this year.

And the set designer has made the scenery indigenous to Pittsburgh.  The Showdrop showcases a Pittsburgh home that once existed on Fifth Avenue in Shadyside.  Who can miss that the proscenium clock that was inspired by the famous, "Kaufman's Clock."  The Nutcracker at Christmas is not the only Pittsburgh tradition showcased in this presentation. What Pittsburgher would forget someone saying to them, "I'll meet you under Kaufmann's clock?"

The historic Pittsburgh flavor continues in the naming of the guests as you peruse the program, Mrs. Kaufman, Mr. and Mrs. Heinz and Mr. and Mrs.  Grandview, named for Pittsburgh's internationally known scenic Grandview Avenue. And the topography continues in the turn of the twentieth century rendering of the Snowy Forest.

Also the Magical Land of Enchantment backdrop's string of lights that swirls like and old-fashioned rollercoaster was inspired by visions of Pennsylvania's many amusement parks.

From the human sized rats to the trees laden with sweets and the palace, everything Clara and the audience see is for all intents and purposes made of sugar.  My granddaughter's favorite was the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and also the Arabian dance and the Chinese Dragon Dance. 




I personally have always loved the grand festival portion with its Celebration of Dances.  My favorites are the Dance of the Dolls and the waltz of the flowers with the baby bumble bees.  It's so wonderful how the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater includes its community of talented dancers and youngsters from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, truly making the event a community supported and populated tradition for the Pittsburgh area.

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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 12-31-2015 01:15:00
 



CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE
the Family Holiday SpectaCular
23 Musical, Twirling, Juggling, Ariel &  Acrobatic Acts to
Amaze & Entertain You
Reviewer:  JoAnn R. Forrester, Empress of Biz,  


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2015
FEATURING 30 PERFORMERS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE


Presented by the
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Benedum Center

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE, created and directed by Neil Goldberg presents a spectacular family night of holiday entertainment aimed to amaze, awe and make one wonder  out loud   How in the world do they do all the singing, dancing twisting, turning, leaping, climbing, juggling, acrobatic and aerial feats and still be smiling and ready to do more?    The international cast of 30 performers from Armenia, Belarus, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine and the USA are extraordinary as they whirl, twist and perform almost impossible feats through 23 acts, and myriad custom changes as holiday ornaments in a 2 hour plus magical   production.  

 The theme,  Once upon a dream, time awoke suddenly.he turned, smiled and gave a winkand then saw the ornaments no longer asleepsets the stage for the performers dressed as holiday ornaments to pull out all stops to perform  amazing feats to entertain the audience.   The action never stop, one amazing performance is finished and the next is moving right on stage.   You just gotta see it to believe it!   All the performers are excellent and many of the performers have been featured on America's Got Talent and similar TV variety shows in other countries.



Kudo's to all that design, produce and deliver this holiday spectacular.    Cirque Dreams is also currently airing as a made for PBS television special throughout the country.  The
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE is part of a franchise by directory Neil Goldberg, who  created the groundbreaking Broadway hits CIRQUE DREAMS and JUNGLE FANTASY.   CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE is a circus show, a Broadway musical, a holiday fantasy spectacular and family show all in one!  Look for them to go to NYC & Broadway in 2016


Great  family entertainment! Amazing show with fantastic skilled performers whose
enthusiasm, talent and boundless energy generates enough holiday cheer to light up downtown Pittsburgh for a week.    Truly a fabulous Holiday performance to entertain all!



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


 

Publish Date: 12-30-2015 16:11:00
 

Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops, Nothing Short of Tops!

JoAnn R. Forrester,
Roving Pittsburgher Reporter
Host of Empress of Biz #Podcast



A great family holiday treat was presented to Pittsburgh concert goers    by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Choir, Attack Theatre, the Three Rivers Ringers, Chris Jamison and a very special appearance by Mr. Nicholas Claus at the Holiday Pop Concert.  I wish this performance could have been broadcasted on television by all our major stations in the burgh to brighten everyone's holiday.  The whole performance by all was uplifting, well executed and magical.
 

The Pittsburgh Symphony under conductor Daniel Meyer, well known to Pittsburgh audiences was superb.  Mr. Meyer has a wonderful touch that brings out the best in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a lighthearted and capable manner.  He also worked exceptionally well with the other Pops presenters. 



The Mendelssohn Choir , the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra's chorus of choice directed by Acting Musical directory, Maria Sensi Sellner was delightful and it was a grand treat for the audience to be able to sing along with three Christmas Carols.



The Attack Theatre, directed by Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza,
was an exuberant part of the evening and their interaction with Mr. Claus was perfect.  I must say Mr. Claus was wonderful with the young members of the audience.  It made me wish I was a kid again and that I could have a special talk with Santa.  The reactions of the youngsters on the "Santa Cam" were priceless.

from http://www.threeriversringers.org/


Attack Theater in Santa's Reindeer Skit


My favorite of the whole wonderful Holiday Pops evening was the Three Rivers Ringers.  They are Pittsburgh's premier handbell ensemble directed by Nancy R. Lutz.  They charmed the audience and it was just amazing to see them performanother great treat.    The Carol of the Bells with the Mendelssohn Choir was exceptionalgreat sound and fascinating to watch.




Chris Jamison and PositivelyPittsburghLive #podcast host,
Joanne Quinn-Smith
To add to the wonder of the evening a special appearance by Chris Jamison, local artist, who appeared as a finalist on The Voice sang several songs including the one he did on national television, Georgia on My Mind .  His voice caresses the words and brings to mind to me Mel Torme (September 13, 1925  June 5, 1999), nicknamed The Velvet Fog, who was an American musician, best known as a jazz singer.  Keep your eyes on our local guyhe has far to go and if he keeps on track should have a wonderful career.


I thoroughly enjoyed my Holiday treat with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Chor, Attack Theatre, Three River Ringers, Mr. Claus and Mr. Chris Jamison.  Folks you don't need to go to New York find world class entertainmentwe got it here in Pittsburgh.   I suggest for your 2016 New Year's Resolution List make one of them get involved and support the marvelous artistic and musical scene in Pittsburghit is a sure winner all the time. 



Still time to get your picture taken in front of Heinz Hall tree.

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








 

Publish Date: 12-21-2015 16:52:00
 

Roving Pittsburgher Report, 

Put Holiday Doo Wop on Your Bucket List

by
Good News Reviewer, Marlene Reutzel


If you haven't  been to a Doo Wop show, put it on your bucket list!  It's an evening of pure fun and entertainment.  The show at Heinz Hall was just musical magic. Presented by Richard Nader

Entertainment on Wednesday December 16th, 2015, the line up was fabulous. The program started with Johnny Angel and the Halos, a group that started in the corners of the North Side of Pittsburgh.  When the signing started,  the need to sing along began. 

Lenny Welch's voice is still dreamy with his " Since I Fell For You" and " Ebb Tide.  His moves are still as smooth as ever. 



Tommy Mara has an engaging and powerful voice  that immediately pulls you in to that feel good place as the lead singer of the Crests. Singing along to "Sixteen Candles" and "Step By Step" takes
you back to the music that brings back memories.



Ladd Vance is the son of Kenny Vance from Jay and The Americans. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. His voice is wonderfully like his dads'. Singing " Cara Mia" with the Safaris was a perfect fit.

The Shirelles with the original lead singer Shirley Reeves Alston got the audience moving with " Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"  and "Tonight's the Night". Singing along was just second nature.

Everyone was singing  with The Orginal Tymes to " Wonderful Wonderful".  Their black and red jackets made sure your attention was focused on them with classic line dancing.  Truly entertaining!

The Supremes had 12 number one hits, Mary Wilson sang quite a few of them. Aside from sounding great, she looked amazing.  Her white and silver beaded form fitting gown, shows her fabulous figure and that classic look The Supremes always had.  Everyone was singing to "Baby Love" and " Stop, In The Name of Love' .  What a class act!

Each of the entertainers sang a Christmas song and the tribute to our military was inspiring and appreciated by the members of the audience who served. 

Definitely a wonderful entertaining, completed by pictures in front of the spectacular 
Christmas Tree in The Heinz Hall lobby, sponsored by HighMark.


Next time there is a Doo Wop show, throw caution to the wind and go. You won't be sorry.

Marlene Reutzel, Sales Executive for Contact One, Founder Junkpreneur.com, Consultant to those who want to turn their trash to cash.
SpecialiZing in antique furniture reclamation and refurbishing.
Coming website:  http://junkpreneur.com
412-496-8293

 

Publish Date: 12-12-2015 13:56:00
 

An Irish Christmas at the Symphony

by

Pittsburgh Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith


There is nothing like the lilt and toe tapping and sometimes raw emotion of Irish music to ring in the holiday season.  And the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra was right on target with the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman as they presented Home for Christmas -- The Symphony Tour. Featuring music from the all-female music ensemble's second Christmas album, "Home for Christmas," including holiday favorites "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Silent Night" and accompanied by the Pittsburgh Symphony.  On December 7, 2015, symphony audiences and Celtic Woman fans alike were treated to wonderful renditions of Drummer Boy, O Tannebaum and Little Town of Bethlehem along with Irish Classic, Danny Boy and a Celtic Woman favorite, You Raise Me Up.




It was a special treat to hear the history of Auld Lang Syne and hear it sung in the beautiful Gallic language. The Irish sensation who has made America fall in love with them performed spectacularly and the Christmas overtures by the symphony orchestra were outstanding.  The dynamic voices of the of Chloe Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Susan McFadden, along with the spritely energy  of Celtic Violinist MГirГad Nesbitt filled Heinz Hall with joy and the holiday spirit.


Celtic Woman performed holiday favorites underscored by the stirring
sound of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This holiday spectacular presented a truly festive and celestial live music experience that showcased the dynamic voices of Chloe Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Susan McFadden, along with the spritely energy and passion of Celtic Violinist MГirГad NesbittThe audience left not with visions of sugar plums but heavenly chords of an old fashioned Celtic Christmas laced with American classics dancing in their heads.


 

Publish Date: 12-08-2015 18:53:00
 

Roving Pittsburgher Report, Scrooge A Hit on and Off Stage

by Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith

with additions by Anaiyah Thomas


Have you ever thought about the story line behind "A Christmas Carol" from a pre or grade-schoolers point of view?  While as adults or even adolescents or teens, we think it is an amazing feel good tale of repentance and salvation and find the detestable Scrooge to often be comical.  But remember that part of the story is about his partner Marley "haunting him" in chains with eerie noises.  Well this year while perusing the resurrected Macy's windows and after trying to get her to watch A Christmas Carol on television, my granddaughter seemed to show some interest, in fact excitement.  She was fascinated by the window treatment of the CLO "A Musical Christmas Carol."

CAST OF PITTSBURGH CLO'S A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL


So on Friday, December 5, 2015, her mom got her dressed in an adorable dress and jewelry and off we went to see what has become one of Pittsburgh's Christmas traditions with Tom Atkins as Scrooge.  Here's an aside, did you know that not only is he a Pittsburgh native but he made his fame as an actor in the horror genre? Tom is also a Broadway actor but in Pittsburgh he is "Scrooge" at Christmas time and he does the role well and is one of Pittsburgh's most beloved characters during the holiday season, 2015 being his eighth year running to play the role. What a role for an actor as he goes from his Bah! Humbug! attitude to a joyous reveler and philanthropist.  There is an opportunity for Atkins to play everything in between and he does it with passion and lets you know he is having fun doing it.

ALLISON CAHILL, TOM ATKINS, LUKE HALFERTY AND ERIKA STRASBURG

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for years and do not know this is the plot line. Scrooge is pretty much the meanest, most loathsome, feared, despised and ridiculed man in town who does not believe in fair treatment of his employees, Christian charity, human kindness or even giving a day off for Christmas to his employees.  Eventually convinced he retires to his lonely room to contemplate the ridiculous custom of Christmas with all its trappings including caroling, not giving a thought to his kind employee Bob Cratchet with his barely existing family of five children and the sickly Tiny Tim.  The fates descend upon Scrooge in the night with a last ditch effort at redemption starting with visits from his former, equally odious partner, Jacob Marley and running through three ghosts of Christmas. The resulting story telling leads to emotional action and dialogue running from pathos to mirth, but always entertaining

TOM ATKINS, DANIEL KRELL AND THE CAST OF PITTSBURGH CLO'S A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL


There are too many delightful characters to .mention all but in addition to Scrooge of course, my granddaughter and I had a couple of favorites.  Terry Wickline plays the dual role of Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's toddy tipping housekeeper and Mrs. Fezziwig, the bubbly, bounteous wife of the town socialite; good cheer reveler and generous business man. She wisecracks and totters through the role of Mrs. Dilber with a vaudevillian style that will have you laughing out loud.  As Mrs. Fezziwig she plays a delightful airhead full of energy and fun and you have no doubt that her party invitations are the most sought after in town.

Her husband is played by Tim Hartman who has multiple roles as Charity Worker/Businessman/Mr. Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present). This is his 23rd year in Pittsburgh CLO's A Musical Christmas Carol.  His tall stature alone makes him stand out but he rolls through his various characters so distinctively that it leaves you wondering "was that the same guy who played?"  As Mr. Fezziwg he is madcap and merry and a master of slapstick humor.  He is imperious and almost Shakespearean as the ghost of Christmas Present, then humble and endearing as a charity worker.  My granddaughter Anaiyah thought it was hysterical when he came out of the crowd for one of the final scenes and leaned over to one of the audience to say, "You can wake up now, it's almost over."

TIM HARTMAN AND TERRY WICKLINE


These holiday events are made for memories and one of Anaiyah's best will always be a chance encounter on Sixth St. with Tom Atkins.  As he was walking by, he leaned over to say, "Did you like the show?" Of course she was bubbling over with enthusiasm, he then said, "I played Scrooge. Hey how about a hug, sometimes Scrooge needs one because nobody likes him." After she recovered her surprise, she said, "Grandma, you should have taken my picture with Mr. Scrooge."  Yes grandma should have but she was equally surprised and she was lagging a bit behind this enthusiastic seven year old.  But Anaiyah will always have that memory of a warm and friendly Pittsburgh/Broadway actor who stopped her on the street to bring a warm moment down from the stage.  She could of course, not wait to tell her Mom and Dad when they picked us up that she met Scrooge.
We did however immortalize our day by having our picture taken complete with hat and scarves on the Christmas red carpet.  I suggest both couples and families do the same to preserve this memory.

Lots of time left to create this memory with a musical show that has something for everyone.  The show runs at the Byham Theater through December 23, 2015.



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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 12-01-2015 16:44:00
 


Roving Pittsburgh Report.
"A Servant" at PBT thru December 6, Feircely Funny

by Megan Grabowski


Pittsburgh Public Theater (PPT) offers city theatergoers a fantastic night with the fiercely funny A Servant to Two Masters.  Ted Pappas celebrates his 50th directorial performance with one of his favorite plays and it's not difficult to see why A Servant, was chosen as a celebratory performance.  The classic Italian comedy written in 1749 by Carlo Goldoni and adapted by Lee Hall in 1999 maintains the original lively love story with a mingling of modern language, retro costumes, an updated setting, (Venice 1965) and fun loving Italian folk music.  The show comprises a cast of both PPT returning actors as well as new faces that enliven the stage and keep the audience in stitches from scene one through final bows.

The plays opens with a celebration; Clarice and Silvio are celebrating their engagement with their
Erin Lindsey Krom and Patrick Cannon.
fathers, Pantaloon and Dr. Lombardi, as well as Smeraldina, Pantaloons's domestic servant, and the town inn keeper and chef Brighella.  The merriment is quickly interrupted when Truffaldino arrives with the announcement his master, Federigo Rasponi, wishes to see them.  The mood of the party promptly down spirals as we learn Clarice was betrothed to Federigo until his death. She and Silvio fell in love and became engaged thinking no more of her betrothal.   Clarice, played by Erin Lindsay Krom, is darling yet melodramatic as she stomps across the stage in a mod fashioned mini dress, 
wailing at the announcement of having to marry Federigo.  Silvio, played by the handsome and talented Patrick Cannon, is desperate to keep Clarice for his own.  He laments to anyone willing to listen to his plight. He is the epitome of Italian lover; slicked back dark hair, designer shoes, gold chains and a stylish paisley jacket, he and Clarice are in the midst of planning a future and like most young lovers are enthralled with each other's company.  Their randy behavior, pawing at one another whenever they are together, could be seen as lewd but their infatuation is so strong no one will deny them the opportunity to enact their feelings. 

Daina Michelle Griffith and Jimmy Kieffe
The story unfolds with a revelation; Federigo is dead and the person proclaiming to be him is actually Beatrice, his sister.  She is impersonating her deceased brother in hope of securing the dowry Pantaloon agreed to pay for his daughters hand in marriage and securing these finances would aid her effort in the search for her true love Florindo.  Included in the plot with the love triangle is a mess of monkey business carried out by Truffaldino.  Jimmy Kieffer as Truffaldino is a servant to two masters.  Already employed as Beatrice's servant, Truffaldino, by chance, meets Florindo at the inn.  Florindo, incognito in leather pants and shades fears someone in Venice will recognize him as the man who murdered Rasponi.  Veteran PPT actor David Whalen cast as Florindo, hires Truffaldino as his servant and what follow is a series or ironies, hilarious antics and mischievous undertakings by each character. 


The set, unembellished black and white sketches is mounted on a turn table which rotates for quick and seamless scene changes. The contrast between the flair of vintage costumes and the black and white is reminiscent of mod culture.  Audience engagement throughout the show is plentiful and adds to the lighthearted nature of the story.  The music, used as a backdrop between acts and at other moments an accompaniment to the farce, keeps the audience connected to the cast. 

The cast of A Servant To Two Masters

What makes A Servant so gratifying are the laughs.  The script is silly, a comedy created from quirkiness, intelligent witticisms, innuendos and a little slapstick.  There is something for every taste in humor.  Still, this wouldn't matter if not for the precisely perfect cast.  A Servant has no small roles.  Each character compliments the next and is essential to the tightly woven plot.  Diana Michelle Griffith's lusty disposition as Smeraldina is not too sexy or uncomfortable but at times mildly inappropriate in a fun way.  Truffaldino, performed by Kieffer is a large man whose stage presence is fulfilling but never overwhelming.  Truffaldino is gullible yet loveable and Kieffer launches his comic timing on spot each and every time.  Bill Buell as Pantaloon is the closest the show comes to a villain.  Pantaloon feels obligated to keep his promise to Rasponi, meanwhile, Scott Robertson playing the role of Dr. Lombardi is more protective.  He is empathetic toward the young lovers, and the two characters play off one another with little to no effort.  A PPT debut performer, Bob Walton, is cast as an eccentric artist named Brighella.  Brighella has a flair for entertainment and we watch in awe as he attempts to perfect a four course meal for each of Truffaldino's masters, in one of the most notable theatrical dinner scenes of all time.


The best part of the show is the final scene.  The audience is directed to open the program to the first page and sing-a-long.  With vim and vigor we sang, swaying slightly, side to side, belting out the lyrics in harmony with the cast.  This uniting moment remind me of just how good it feels to enjoy an honest laugh. 

A servant to two masters plays at the Pittsburgh Public Theater thru December 6, Additional info and tickets available Here

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

Positively Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer, Professional writer, Social-Media Junkie, Community Fundraiser and Pittsburgh Enthusiast.

 

Publish Date: 11-21-2015 16:35:00
 

Roving Pittsburgher Report, Review 

Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

by Joanne Quinn-Smith


Lights, action, camera, well 3-D projection and pure entertainment!  That was The Tony Award winner for Best Musical," Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder,"   Benedum through November 22, 2015.  From the very first scene where a snapshot is taken of a group of turn of the century mourners in black to the gay entourage at the end of the performance, the show is pure musical comedy perfection.  "A Warning to the Audience" sets the pace for the entire musical.  "You're a D'Ysquith by Miss Shingle (Mary Van Ardel) and Monty (Kevin Massey)  is even more compelling by the fact that the name is so incredibly hard to pronounce.

The plot portrays the hysterical odyssey of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family whose only impediment to becoming an earl is eight cousins in front of him.  Add to that one femme fatale,Sibella Hallward (Kristen Beth Williams), his fiancГ and one ingenue, Phoebe D'Ysquith (Adrienne Eller), his cousin (no one seems to care) and you have an instant love triangle amidst the intrigue. Oh and there is the little drawback of possibly getting caught while he engineers their early demise. And all this is done amidst turn of the century proprieties and few scene changes thanks to modern technology that looks somewhere between cartoonish and genius but always delightful and humorous.



The projection designer, Aaron Rhyne adds more than his share of quality to the production with the simulation of skaters falling through ice, a cleric climbing up and falling from a church tower and splattering to the ground, complete with bloody splatter. IN A MUSICAL ON STAGE, the effect is amazing.
Despite the comedy, the musical element of the show from the live orchestra to the performers was excellent.  Some of the crowd favorite numbers,  "Oh, why are all the D'Ysquiths dying?" "I've Decide to Marry You," with the double door scene of Sibella, Phoebe and Monty is a mastery of vocal excellence and staging.  And "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" by Lord Aldelbert and Company is excellently staged and performed.

In addition to John  Rapson as the D'Ysquith heirs (all eight of them) and Massey as Monty Navarro, the cast of A Gentleman's Guide includes Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward, Adrienne Eller as Phoebe D'Ysquith and Mary VanArsdel as Miss Shingle.John Rapson has to be the absolute king of musical comedy and of multi portrayal rolls.  What a hoot. Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro is not only a great actor but has an exquisite voice.  

There are also moments of grandeur with the chorus.  Kristen Beth Williams is not only sensuous but has moments of comic genius as Sibella.  Quite frankly there are too many moments of brilliance among all of the characters.  It's easy to see why a Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is the most celebrated musical of the 2013-14 Broadway season

For additional info and tickets:  TrustArts.org/Broadway

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. 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. JQS is the online publisher of PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com, 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: 11-02-2015 04:36:00
 

Roving Pittsburgher Report, Season Opener of PBT, an Eye Opener

BY MEGAN GRABOWSKI

Sinfionetta pas de deux
Thursday evening October 22, 2015 The Benedum Theater was a buzz with the sound of show.  Swarming the stage were dancers in leotards and leggings, the slender frames of dancers bodies stretching and leaping across the stage with long lean muscles, men and women practicing Pirouettes and an occasional Grand jete across the stage.  The house experimenting with lighting, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater (PBT) orchestra warming up one section at a time for the PBT 2015-2016 full dress rehearsal was open to a select group of press and photographers and I was lucky enough to be invited for a glimpse of the triple bill program which launched Friday October 23, 2015. 
  
The guests are seated on the mezzanine level overlooking the stage and the pit.  The orchestra warms up, one section at a time, including a full brass section.  The PBT prepares a performance of high energy, emotive and innovative artistic aptitude with a flourish of beauty and grace offering two Pittsburgh premieres Sinfonietta and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated as well as Western Symphony.   The dancers move across the stage with elegance.  Their bodies twist and bend, twirl and leap with technical fluidity to the sounds of pure romanticism. 

The first number, Sinfonietta choreographed by Czech born JiЕ™Г KyliГn,

introduces the Pittsburgh audience to a ballet with precise footwork, powerful gallops and a sea of green, blue and white dressed dancers who  chase each across the stage to the military music by Czech composer JanГД ek.   Sinfoniettais recognized as one of the 20th century's most compelling orchestras and the PBT dancers mimic the movements of horses and birds with animation, their arms and legs in synchronization with the sound of the brass ensemble. 



The second performance on the bill, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, is executed to the sounds of industrial music, and is often referred to as the work which changed ballet forever.  Choreographed by William Forsythe, a visionary of the dance world, the PBT dancers enter the stage in green and black leotards to a stark stage, a simple black drop curtain behind the jolting movements of the dancers' limbs as they flail in expert timing to the challenging sound of the looping percussion.  The arrangements of the dancers' bodies to the nontraditional music is intriguing and emotionally charged offering audience members an experience teetering on experimental,  while maintaining a steady showcase of professional form and function.



The third and final piece of the evening, Western Symphony is a lighthearted ballet featuring cowboys and saloon dancers.  Sure to be a show- stopping number, Western Symphony, created by one of the


best known names in modern ballet, George Balanchine.  This number is energetic and the dancers are buoyant.   The ballet is set in an old west town,   the brightly colored costumes trimmed in magenta, scarlet, golden yellow and teal add to the jovial nature of the performance.  The music, arranged by upbeat adds to.  The stage comes alive with dancers, twirling to the sounds of the orchestra, originally arranged by Hershey Kay simulates classic American Folk music and transports the dancers into the frontier.  The Western Symphony is the most classical performance of the evening but still manages to integrate the impression of a typical western themed hoedown, with classical ballet. 



As a prelude to the PBT season, this remarkable show will not disappoint.  The tremendous talent on stage combined with the eclectic choice of performances is an invitation for dance enthusiasts to enjoy a program of high artistic quality.





Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

Positively Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer, Professional writer, Social-Media Junkie, Community Fundraiser and Pittsburgh Enthusiast.

 

Publish Date: 10-14-2015 10:07:00
 



PPT Opens 2015-16 Season with 

A Diary of Anne Frank.

By Megan Grabowski

Pittsburgh Public Theater's (PPT) 2015-16 inaugural show; The Diary of Anne Frank is a highly emotive performance.  Running approximately three hours, the story does not need synopsized.  Most of us, young and old, are familiar with the chronicles of Anne Frank.  She and her family spent two years in hiding during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands during WWII. The play is based on her diary which was discovered after her death in a Nazi concentration camp.  In her diary she confessed her adolescent thoughts, dreams, fears and desires as well as those pertaining to her persecution because she was Jewish.  Anne's diary was first published in Amsterdam in 1947 and soon became so popular that Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett recreated the accounts as an expressive tribute to her life.  

As the audience we are voyeurs watching, with a strange sense of intuition, the fate of eight people unfold before us.  Producing Artistic Director Ted Pappas has reimagined a time and place from history which allows anyone brave enough to bear witness an opportunity to examine this moment in history. 

The play opens with Otto Frank, played by Randy Kovitz, wobbling up
 Remy Zaken as Anne Frank
the attic stairs, returning to the annex above the warehouse for a final goodbye.   He meanders throughout the historically designed set gently touching items and studying the remains of his last home before being captured by the Nazi's. The set mimics the actual floorplan of the attic space where he dwelled with his wife and two daughters, Anne and Margot.  The stage is arranged with antiquated furniture and bedding which add to the sense of time.  He is accompanied by Meip, a young Dutch woman sensitive to the Jewish cause who assisted the Frank family in securing a hiding place. Her compassion and kindness is exhibited as she escorts Mr. Frank to his family's last residence and gently encourages him to read the discovered diary. Meip is Kelsey Carthew's professional stage premiere. Her supporting role as a connection to the outside world for the household is essential and soul nourishing.  

Meip and Ken Bolden, as Mr. Kraler, each play the part of minor characters yet their presence is felt on stage despite their physical appearances. These characters are the cord which connects the diary entries of a 13 year old girl, relaying everyday life, to the historical events that ultimately generated the possibility of the play. 


Randy Kovitz as Otto Frank, Remy Zaken as Anne Frank and Christine Laitta as Edith Frank
Kovitz an experienced actor of both stage and television is beautifully animated.  His face twists with inconsolable grief as he recites what is written in his daughter's diary.  As the lone survivor of his family, his pain is evident and he shakily speaks his daughter's notes.  The story begins with Mr. Frank reading out loud then the voice of a young girl begins to filter into the theater.  The two voices meet and simultaneously narrate for a moment then only one voice can be heard, that of a young girl.  This ethereal moment reminds us of who the author of the diary really is.  So, the splay continues in Anne's voice, with her words from her ideas, her impressions, and her experiences.  As spectators, our imaginations are instantly transported. 


Zaken's performance as Anne is a poignant personification of a young girl. We witness the pain and frustrations of Anne as she strives for independence from her mother, Mrs. Frank, played by Pittsburgh native Christine Laitta and older sister, Margot played by local performer Erika Cuenca. Despite the living conditions in the attic or the frequent disapproval she receives from the other household members, Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan, their son Peter and Mr. Dussel, Anne never gives up expressing her own personality.  She laid her head on her father's shoulder when seeking solace and never stops believing in a better world for all. Zaken's rendition of a young girl, sometimes playful, sometime adversarial and sometimes introspective is profound.  She effortlessly conveys the image of Anne as a child in all her moods while continually maintaining the innocence of a child.


Daniel Krell cast as Mr. Dussel, an older gentleman who joins the household half way through their hiding.  He brings the small bit of comic relief a drama of this nature allows.  His frustration toward living in captivity and sharing sleeping quarters with a child are expressed exceptionally well.  His rebukes at Anne's childish behavior are just tolerable because we know he tries to mask his fear behind his intelligence.   Mr. Dussel is not a likable person, but Krell's portrayal is powerful.  Despite his near constant conflicts with Anne, the humanity of his character cannot be denied. 


 As Anne grows and matures she starts to bond more with her sister Margot, with a do-gooder, mother's helper, quiet and studious personality; the exact opposite of herself.   Cuenca, cast as Margot, does not have much to say, but her presence as a strong supporting cast member is made known during the scenes with Anne when she helps her dress and experiment with hairstyles for a ˜date' with Peter.  David Edward Jackson, cast as Peter, the awkward and introverted teen who initially spends his time alone with his cat, eventually becomes an essential confidant to Anne.  His depiction of a young man struggling to make sense of his world is refined and his blossoming interest in Anne as a young woman is an honest transition. Zaken and Jackson make a dynamic couple, telling the world, despite all the hate and fear, there can be love and beauty.  Their relationship is the polar opposite of Peter's parents'.  

Remy Zaken as Anne Frank and David Edward Jackson as Peter Van Daan
Mr. Van Daan played by stage and film actor David Wohl and Mrs. Van Daan, played by veteran Pittsburgh performer Helena Ruoti spend the early part of the show criticizing Anne for her liveliness and sass.   Wohl depicts a nervous and emotionally detached man who as the performance progresses spends more time concerned with cigarettes and money than his own family.  Mrs. Van Daan disgusts the household with her blatant flirtatious acts toward Mr. Frank.  Ruoti is a brilliant dramatic actor.  Her role as a temperamental and pretentious woman appears effortless.  When Mr. Van Daan plays tug of war with his wife's beloved fur with intentions to sell it, she throws a terrific tantrum, flopping across her bed and wailing.  She grips her coat as her husband rips it from her hands.  He hands the coat to Meip with instructions to sell it, and then coolly requests she buy him cigarettes.  This scene, at first, is humorous.  It seems absurd for Mrs. Van Daan to keep the fur, and her reaction to losing it is melodramatic but no one in the audience laughed.  As bystanders, we begin to acknowledge life under the tense circumstances. 


Laitta as Mrs. Frank is the epitome of devoted wife and mother.  Her role as peacekeeper and protector of all is outstanding.  Her expressions of disheartenment by Anne's obvious favoritism toward her father are candid and her struggle to maintain her role as a parent even as the opportunities to do so diminish are conveyed with passion.   


We know the story.  The ending is apparent, (you can't change history).  It is the talent of the cast that truly make this performance worthwhile.  
The Diary of Anne Frank plays through October 25, 2015.  For tickets please visit :

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

Positively Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer, Professional writer, Social-Media Junkie, Community Fundraiser and Pittsburgh Enthusiast.