Fall Arts: Classical works mix with modern plays on Pittsburgh-area stages
The fall season is roaring with the return of “The Lion King” (through Sept. 29, Benedum Center, Downtown), as a part of PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's dark, yet funny “A Skull in Connemara” (through Sept. 28, Stephen Foster Memorial Theatre, Oakland).
That's just the beginning for what looks to be a jam-packed schedule of intriguing, locally created projects and equally imaginative offerings from other places.
Pittsburgh Public Theater's season opens with Tom Atkins starring in Thornton Wilder's classic drama “Our Town” (Sept. 26 to Oct. 27, O'Reilly Theater, Downtown).
Squonk Opera comes home with the sound and light theatrics of “Mayhem and Majesty” (Sept. 26 to 29, New Hazlett Theater, North Side) in advance of its three-week December run in New York City.
October brings a flurry of visually arresting, international theatrical events presented as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Festival of First. Among them is Zimmermann & de Perrot's “Hans was Heiri” (Oct. 18 and 19, Byham Theater, Downtown), a marriage of theater, circus and dance on a stage that revolves on a horizontal axis, and 2btheatre company's “The God That Comes” (Oct. 24 to 26, Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown), a one-man cabaret show that re-creates the story of the Greco-Roman god of Wine with an explosion of pop and glam-rock music.
Those looking for more traditional fare may opt for Christopher Durang's latest Broadway hit, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” (Oct. 12 to Nov. 3, City Theatre, South Side) that moves Chekhov's “Uncle Vanya” to a farmhouse in present-day Bucks County or the Point Park University Conservatory Theatre production of “Oklahoma!” (Oct. 18 to 27, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Oakland).
Fans of the rock group Queen will want to see “We Will Rock You” (Oct. 29-Nov. 3, Benedum Center, a musical from London's West End featuring 24 of the group's hits woven through a story set 300 years in the future.
Two local companies known for provocative work will make appearances in November. Quantum Theatre will stage Jez Butterworth's comic, disconcerting “Parlour Game “ (Nov. 1 to 24, location to be announced) about two friendly couples who live in a suburban subdivision fraught with mysterious happenings and eerie disappearances. Barebones productions will offer Stephen Adly Guirgis' comedic revenge thriller with the unprintable title “The (expletive) With the Hat” (Nov. 21 to Dec. 8, New Hazlett Theater, North Side).
The holiday season gets under way with the family-friendly musical “Elf” (Nov. 26-Dec. 1).
Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre offers an alternative to traditional holiday fare when it reunites David Whalen and Martin Giles as Holmes and Dr. Watson in “Sherlock Holmes & the Crucifer of Blood,” (Dec. 4 to 21, Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland).
PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh ushers out the old year with “Ghost the Musical” (Dec. 31 to Jan. 5, Heinz Hall, Downtown) with its special effects and original pop score.
“Wicked” (Jan. 15 to Feb. 9, Benedum Center, Downtown) returns as a PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh nonsubscriber extra, and Pittsburgh Public Theater stages Stephen Sondheim's musical “Company (Jan. 23 to Feb. 23, O'Reilly Theater, Downtown).
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808.