Hot Ticket: NPR quiz show hitting theaters
On May 2, the NPR News quiz show “Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!” will take to the big screen, in movie theaters all over the country, to celebrate the 15 years since playwright-screenwriter Peter Sagal took over and made the program a hit and to give listeners a look beyond the radio.
“It's very hard to fight that image of perfection that radio creates for us,” Sagal cracks. “We want people to see us scratching ourselves, not having our hair combed, doing what we do out of reach of the microphone. Because perfection is a frightening thing for people to expect.”
“Wait Wait” will be shown locally at the Rave Cinemas Pittsburgh North 11 in McCandless, Cinemark 18 at Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer and Cinemark Robinson Township. Tickets range from $16 to $24.
The faux game show features current-events questions, call-in contestants, political and cultural guest stars and a humorist-and-celebrity packed panel but no serious prizes. Panelists tell outrageous stories in an effort to stump listeners, and venerable NPR newsman Carl Kasell reads limericks about the news. The panel this week includes Mo Rocca, Tom Bodett and Paula Poundstone, and Steve Martin is the special guest.
— Wire reports
FILM — Organist will accompany movie
Silent-film music master Clark Wilson will perform on the 1920s-era Wurlitzer organ May 4 in a screening of Harold Lloyd's “The Kid Brother.”
The film is one of the annual events of the Pittsburgh Area Theater Organ Society. Wilson not only is an expert on these massive organs, but he also is knowledgeable on the music that went with films of the era. He often puts together scores that are close to what theatergoers would have heard.
Jay Smith, treasurer and one of the founders of the Pittsburgh organ group, says the music comes out appropriate to what is being seen “with a little modern touch, as well.”
The organ group found and bought the organ that had been in a theater in Brooklyn and installed it during the 1970s at the Keystone Oaks High School Auditorium in Dormont.
After the screening, there will be an “open console” session in which keyboardists can get a chance to play the mighty Wurlitzer.
The film and music begin at 2 p.m. Admission is $15.
Details: 724-446-9744 or www.theatreorgans.com/patos
— Bob Karlovits
THEATER — ‘Little Shop' at Little Lake
If Little Lake Theatre is open for business, can summer be far behind?
The North Strabane theater company opens its 65th season May 2 with the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” a campy, sci-fi extravaganza about a plant with a man-size appetite.
Performances are May 2 to 18 at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. May 12 at Little Lake Theatre, 500 Lakeside Drive South, North Strabane.
Admission is $23 and $25, $17 for age 15 and younger.
Details: 724-745-6300 or www.littlelake.org
— Alice T. Carter
COMEDY — Josh Blue at the Improv
Whoever said nice guys finish last has not seen Josh Blue.
This off-the-wall funnyman niced his way into America's hearts by winning NBC's “Last Comic Standing.” Blue also proved to be an immense inspiration to all Americans by overcoming his cerebral palsy to take home the title.
His condition aside, Josh Blue is one the funniest people in America today. His self-deprecating, socially incisive wit generates big-time belly laughs from audiences everywhere.
Now one of the nation's most popular touring road comics, Blue will be appearing at the Pittsburgh Improv from May 2 to 4. Tickets for the 18-and-over show are $20, with a two-drink minimum.
Details: 412-462-5233 or pittsburgh.improv.com
— Matt Wohlfarth
ART — Event features 25 local artists
“RAW: natural born artists” is an independent arts organization that spotlights up-and-coming artists working in film, fashion, music, visual art, performance art, hair, makeup and more at grassroots arts events in more than 50 cities across the United States and Australia.
On May 2, the Pittsburgh chapter of RAW will showcase the work of 25 area artists in “Expressions,” from 8 p.m. to midnight at Cavo nightclub, 1916 Smallman St. in the Strip District.
The event will feature a film screening, musical performance, fashion show, art gallery, performance art and a featured hairstylist and makeup artist. These artists are all local, hand-picked talent who have been chosen to be featured at RAW.
Admission is $15.
Details 412-977-7506 or www.RAWartists.org/Pittsburgh/Expressions
— Kurt Shaw
MUSIC — Some Alice better than none
It's rarely a good idea to carry on after the most important member of your band dies. And singer Layne Staley's tortured charisma was such a crucial part of Alice in Chains, that it's hard to imagine carrying on without him. Yet, the demand is there for this most iconic of grunge-era bands, and they found a guy who can sing sort of like him, William DuVall. Plus, guitarist Jerry Cantrell's massive, tectonic riffs are still part of the equation, so many Alice in Chains fans seem to have done the math — some Alice is apparently better than none.
They'll be at the Benedum Center at 7:30 p.m. May 8. Tickets are $35-$65. Details: 412-456-6666.
— Michael Machosky
THEATER — Love, with some Ruth-lessness
Mothers and daughters can be tightly bonded and still be capable of making each other come unglued.
Playwright Virginia Wall Gruenert examines that complex relationship in her play “Without Ruth,” which runs May 3 to 18 at Off the Wall Productions in Carnegie.
The play is based on the life of Hill District resident Ruth Haston and inspired by the diaries of her daughter Linda, a Pittsburgh actress and director, who also appears in the production.
“Without Ruth” focuses on the conflicting emotions and relations between two strong and independent women as they work through end-of-life decisions.
Diana Ifft and Adrienne Wehr appear with Linda Haston in the play's world premiere that closes Off the Wall's sixth season.
Performances are May 3 to 18 at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. May 5 and 12.
Admission: $5-$35. Details: 888-718-4253 or www.showclix.com
— Alice T. Carter
MUSIC — River City spreads the ‘Beach Blanket'
When James Gourlay became general director of River City Brass, he said he might be open to “revolutionary” change.
He has moved that way for the band's final concert of the season, “Beach Blanket Brass,” which opens May 2. But he is not doing it in orchestration or musical philosophy.
No, he has changed some of the long-standing performance days of concerts, because an 18-piece version of the band is leaving May 4 for a four-concert swing through Italy until May 14.
The tour was prompted by a $20,000 challenge grant from UPMC, which Gourlay matched with donations from individual donors and businesses. He says it reflects the band's stronger financial footing and works toward a return to touring that was frequent 15 to 20 years ago.
The tour will cause a gap in concert dates.
The “Beach Blanket Brass” concert will feature a great deal of light-hearted music going into the summer months, but also will have a world premiere of “Tour de Force,” by Los Angeles studio musician James Self, who has been doing more composition recently.
“It is the best kind of commission,” Gourlay says. “We were sitting around having a couple drinks and I said, 'Hey, Jim, you ought to write a piece for the band.'”
Concerts are: May 2, Beulah Presbyterian Church, Churchill; May 3, Carson Middle School, McCandless; May 15, Upper St. Clair High School; May 16, Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland; May 17, Palace Theatre, Greensburg; May 18, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, Beaver County. Admission is $17 to $41. Details: 412-434-7222 or www.rivercitybrass.org
— Bob Karlovits
MUSIC — Voices, made in America
A new composition by the director of a Minnesota choral group will highlight the closing concert of the season by the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale on May 4 and 5.
The concerts,“Made in America,” will feature the new work “The Voices” by Dale Warland, founder of the Grammy award-nominated Dale Warland Singers.
Susan Medley, director of the Pittsburgh chorale, says the concert also will feature works by Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Morten Lauridsen and patriotic, film and barbershop music.
The May 4 concert will be 8 p.m. at the Fox Chapel United Presbyterian Church, and the May 5 performance will be 4 p.m. at the Ingomar United Methodist Church, Franklin Park.
— Bob Karlovits
THEATER — How differences grow as we grow
As Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's production of “Our Class” clearly shows, war, foreign occupation and other national crises can fracture communities and destroy relationships.
Tadeusz Slobodzianek's “Our Class,” which plays through May 4 in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland, follows the lives of 10 schoolchildren who grow to adulthood during decades of Russian and Nazi German occupation from 1939 to 1956 that pitted family members and neighbors against each other, Jews against Roman Catholics and partisans against those who supported the invaders.
On May 5, the theater company will host a panel discussion on how good friends and neighbors can become combatants when political upheaval magnifies racial, political, religious and economic differences.
For the Good Neighbors/Bad Neighbors panel discussion, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre is collaborating with the Polish Cultural Council and the University of Pittsburgh centers for Russian and Eastern European studies, Jewish studies, the European Center for Excellence and Irish Studies, and Global Affairs.
Panelists include former U.S. Ambassador Dan Simpson, Princeton University professor of history Jan Gross, Penn State University professor of history Robert Szymczak, University of Pittsburgh assistant professor of history Gregor Thum, and University of Pittsburgh lecturer Anthony Novosel.
The free discussion begins at 3 p.m. May 5 in the Frick Fine Arts Building on the Pitt campus.
Details: 412-561-6000 or www.picttheatre.org
— Alice T. Carter