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Pittsburgh Playhouse showing off new digs

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 12:03 a.m.
The 550-seat PNC Theatre is the largest of three theaters at the new Pittsburgh Playhouse.
The 550-seat PNC Theatre is the largest of three theaters at the new Pittsburgh Playhouse.
The new 90,411-square-foot Pittsburgh Playhouse complex features a total of 91 rooms, including three theaters – the largest is a 550-seat PNC Theatre, followed in size by a 200-seat Highmark Theatre and a 100-space Rauh Theatre.
The new 90,411-square-foot Pittsburgh Playhouse complex features a total of 91 rooms, including three theaters – the largest is a 550-seat PNC Theatre, followed in size by a 200-seat Highmark Theatre and a 100-space Rauh Theatre.

Point Park University is preparing to raise the curtain on a $60 million state-of-the-art theater and educational facility that university officials say will put Pittsburgh in the national spotlight for its dedication to the arts.

“We have the opportunity to serve the arts nationally in the same way our city serves the robotics industry,” said Ron Lindblom, artistic director for the new Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Celebration

Following a 28-month construction project that included an extensive restoration of a 22-stained- glass-paneled ceiling from the city’s historic Stock Exchange Building, Pittsburgh Playhouse officially opened its doors Oct. 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for university trustees and civic and community leaders.

On Oct. 13, the new Playhouse, located at 305 Forbes Ave., will host a ticketed gala event that will feature a reception, performance, dinner and dancing.

Lindblom said relocating from the former theater in Oakland is a major move that started in June and is still under way.

“It’s equally challenging and exciting, a huge undertaking,” he said.

Three theaters in one facility

The new 90,411-square-foot Pittsburgh Playhouse complex features a total of 91 rooms, including three theaters — the largest is a 550-seat PNC Theatre, followed in size by a 200-seat Highmark Theatre and a 100-space Rauh Theatre.

The main floor includes a large paint shop, a 2,738-square-foot soundstage three stories high, a 15-foot-high catwalk and 24-foot-high ceilings. The space will accommodate a prop shop and a costume shop that houses the Playhouse’s large collection of costumes.

Lindblom said the facility is designed to be a learning laboratory not only for performing arts students, but for all academic disciplines.

Art, relationships, education

He said the Playhouse’s inaugural 2018-19 Conservatory Theatre Company season will focus on three themes: Art, Gender and Power Relationships, and Education.

Productions will include:

Oct. 26-Nov. 11: The musical, “Cabaret,” directed and choreographed by Zeva Barzell, set in the Kit Kat Klub in the 1930s in Berlin.

Nov. 16-Dec. 2: “Coram Boy,” adapted by Helen Edmundson, based on the novel by Jamila Gavin, directed by Tomé Cousin, a “rollicking melodrama” that takes place in 18th-century England.

Feb. 22-March 10: “Vinegar Tom,” directed by April Daras, a piece written in 1976 that explores issues surrounding gender inequality with inspiration from the 17th-century English witch trials.

March 15-24: “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Stephen Sondheim musical directed by Michael Rupert, a fictionalized version of real-life artist George Seurat.

April 5-14: “History Boys,” directed by Sheila McKenna, which follows three boys preparing for college entrance exams and their teachers’ different methods of educating them.

Dance season

Point Park’s 2018-19 Conservatory Dance Company Season will include two mainstage productions in PNC Theatre at the Playhouse:

Dec. 7-16: Winter Dance Concert, including performance of works by Edwaard Liang, Aszure Barton, Tyce Diorio and Nacho Duato.

April 18-21: Spring Dance Concert, featuring performances of works by masters of the new and old worlds, including Kyle Abraham, Dwight Rhoden, Uri Sand and Christopher Wheeldon.

Details : 412-392-8000 or pittsburghplayhouse.com

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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