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Carnegie library brings Broadway flair to fundraiser

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

For one night only, residents won't have to travel to New York to hear the best that Broadway has to offer.

Instead, “Menard Presents Broadway's Other Steves … via Pittsburgh,” a salute to composers Stephen Flaherty and Stephen Schwartz, will be performed Sept. 27 by the Stage 62 theater company. This fundraiser for the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall will reconnect the two men with their Pittsburgh roots.

“It's a homegrown thing,” said Maggie Forbes, executive director of the library and music hall that opened in 1901 atop a hill in Carnegie.

Forbes hopes to raise $43,000 after expenses as matching funds for a Keystone Grant for Public Library Facilities. The money will be used for interior restoration at the historic landmark, such as lighting, plasterwork, painting, carpeting and woodwork refurbishing. Work will begin when the grant is in hand.

The show will be a first-time collaboration between the library and the theater group, whose 16 members will perform accompanied by piano, bass and drums. Stage 62 is the theater company in residence at the music hall. The evening will include a catered after-theater dinner.

Flaherty, 53, and a former Dormont resident, is known for composing “Ragtime,” “Seusical” and “My Favorite Year” among others. Composer and lyricist Schwartz, 66, has created memorable musicals such as “Godspell,” “Pippin” and “Wicked.” He is a Carnegie Mellon University graduate.

In planning the event, Forbes needed some help. She met Seth Pearlman, president and CEO of Menard USA, Ground Improvement Specialists, one of Carnegie's newest businesses, at a mixer. Two weeks later, she made the pitch and the company agreed to be the primary sponsor for the event.

Pearlman appreciates Forbes' enthusiasm for her cause.

“It seemed like the right thing to do, a no-brainer,” Pearlman said. “If you're in the community, you support its cultural assets.”

As a violinist, Pearlman has a heart for the performance arts. He played with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic Orchestra and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

He was astounded by the hall itself.

“I went on stage to warm up, and I could hear my fiddle,” Pearlman remembered. “It was the coolest hall I've ever heard.”

He also played in the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. Now, without his violin, he'll visit the Carnegie Carnegie for September's performance.

“It's going to be a great night at the theater, a fabulous meal and a tax deduction,” joked Forbes.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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