Music out of the war zone
These aren't exactly boom times for the blues -- or rock 'n' roll, for that matter -- but in one remote corner of the world, there's enough creative ferment to fuel a full-fledged revival.
Despite living in a literal war zone, Terakaft (Caravan) of Mali are making some of the most exciting music in the world, a hybrid of electric blues and the hypnotic, indigenous music of the West African deserts.
Terakaft will be performing a rare show in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville. Landmark Tongues will open the show. Admission is $12 to $15. Details: 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net.
-- Michael Machosky
See Gilbert and Sullivan's princess
"Princess Ida," the opening production of the Pittsburgh Savoyards 75th season, continues this weekend.
The group has been dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the comic operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan since 1938.
In this operetta, Prince Hilarion is ready to claim his bride, Princess Ida, to whom he was betrothed in childhood. The princess, however, has set up a college for women from which all men are barred. Hilarion and his friends infiltrate the castle in disguise, setting off a war between the sexes.
The Pittsburgh company has performed at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie since 1993.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 17 to 19 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Admission is $25; $21 for seniors and students; and $12 for preteens. Details: www.pittsburghsavoyards.org.
Where the actors come rushing on the stage...
Point Park University's Conservatory Theatre Co. opens its season with Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!," directed by Broadway star Patrick Cassidy.
The show, which was Rodgers and Hammerstein's first collaboration, has such unforgettable songs as the title tune and "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'. "
Cassidy, son of Western Pennsylvania native Shirley Jones, has appeared in several Broadway shows, including "The Pirates of Penzance," "Annie Get Your Gun" and Elton John's "Aida."
Performances are Oct. 17 to 27 at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $18 to $20.
Details: 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com
Serious comedy, 100 years later
The centenary of English composer Benjamin Britten's birth will be celebrated by Carnegie Mellon University with a new production of his 1947 "Albert Herring."
The opera takes a sharply humorous view of life in 1900 in rural England, and was characterized as a "serious comedy." Its theme is loss of innocence, a favorite subject for the composer. The production is staged by Chuck Hudson. Brian Garman will conduct the student singers and chamber orchestra.
The performances start at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 to 25 and 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Philip Chosky Theater at the Purnell Center for the Arts, CMU, Oakland. Admission is $10; $5 for seniors, faculty and staff.
-- Mark Kanny
Carnage in Canonsburg
The Little Lake Theater Co. is featuring a comedy of manners without the manners.
The company, at 500 Lakeside Drive in Canonsburg, will present "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza at 8 p.m. Oct. 17 to 19, 24 to 26, 30 and Nov. 1 and 2.
The triple-Tony Award winning Broadway comedy focuses on two pairs of parents, the Raleighs and the Novaks, meeting to discuss a fight their young sons had on the playground. The conversation starts in a civilized manner but, before long, the parents release their own inner-childishness and chaos ensues.
The original Broadway cast included Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden, and all four earned Tony nominations for their performances. Harden won the Tony for best leading actress in a play.
Little Lake Theatre Company's cast includes Gregory Caridi as Michael Novak, a self-made hardware wholesaler; Jennifer Sinatra as Veronica, Michael's wife, who strives ardently to do the right thing no matter the cost or carnage; Mary Liz Meyer as Annette Raleigh, a women who walks a taut tightrope balancing the demands of motherhood, her career in "wealth management" and panic attacks; and Art DeConciliis as Annette's husband, Alan, a hotshot attorney who may very well be in love with his own cell phone.
Little Lake artistic Director Sunny Disney Fitchet directs.
Tickets are $18 to $20. Details: 724-745-6300 or www.littlelake.org
-- Rachel Weaver
Horror at the Parkway
If you haven't been by the McKees Rocks area lately, you may not have noticed that the Parkway Theater on Broadway Avenue has re- opened, and is showing movies again. The classic single-screen neighborhood theater has some really creative programming, too. For the month of October, they're screening horror movies of all kinds.
On Oct. 18, "An American Werewolf in London" (1981) plays at 8 p.m., followed by "Feast" (2005) at 10 p.m.
On Oct. 19, there's "The Haunted Mansion" (2003), followed by "Young Frankenstein" (1974) and "Sinister" (2012). All movies are $3, or $2 for children. Details: 412-766-1668.
-- Michael Machosky
The view from Backstage
Percussionist George Jones will be taking a "New View" on jazz Oct. 22 at the Backstage Bar, Downtown.
Jones, a music mainstay in these parts, will lead his inventive New View Trio at the weekly Happy Hour gig sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Jones leads this band through its fresh examination of Latin and jazz classics with the help of bassist Paul Thompson and a changing piano member -- Cliff Barnes at the upcoming gig.
Music starts at 5 p.m. It is free. Details: 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
-- Bob Karlovits
Dead Man's Hollow near the town of Boston along the Youghiogheny River no longer is as spooky as it sounds.
But its history bespeaks some of the mysteries of life dating to the start of the 20th century.
Part of a busy industrial area 100 years ago, the businesses dried up economically and disappeared. Then, the area became a dumping ground for everything from large appliances to tires.
The Allegheny Land Trust took the area over, cleaned it up and turned it into park overlooking the Yough.
Take a look and hear tales of the area in a hike Oct. 19 sponsored by Venture Outdoors, the outside-activity advocacy group. On hand will be some Allegheny Land Trust members who will discuss the history of the hollow.
Participation is $15; $8 for kids. Details: 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org.
-- Bob Karlovits
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