‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ debuts in Pittsburgh | TribLIVE.com
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‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ debuts in Pittsburgh

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Director Marielle Heller and Joanne Rogers, wife of the late Fred Rogers, at a special screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at the SouthSide Works Cinema on Nov. 20.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
WQED’s Rick Sebak and Dawn Keezer of the Pittsburgh Film Office at the premiere of “It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at SouthSide Works Cinema, Nov. 20.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
A promotional poster of Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers at SouthSide Works Cinema in Pittsburgh on Nov. 20, 2019.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Producer Peter Saraf, and Joanne Rogers, wife of the late Fred Rogers, at a special screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at the SouthSide Works Cinema on Nov. 20.
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SouthSide Works Theater is seen ahead of the special screening of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Joanne Rogers (right) and Marielle Heller, director of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” on the red carpet prior to its showing at SouthSide Works in Pittsburgh on Nov. 20.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Producer Youree Henley and director Marielle Heller, at the Pittsburgh premiere of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at the SouthSide Works on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

It was a beautiful night in the neighborhood in Pittsburgh as the Mister Rogers movie debuted.

A red carpet gala and special screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” took place Wednesday at the SouthSide Works Cinema in Pittsburgh.

Rogers’ wife Joanne Rogers arrived at 6:30 p.m., smiling and hugging members of the crowd. She had a cameo appearance in the film as a diner in a restaurant scene about an hour and 20 minutes into the movie.

“Fred would feel this is the right thing to do, this movie,” she said. “I’ve been so impressed with the people involved in this movie. They were so welcoming to me, and Pittsburgh was welcoming to them.”

The movie stars Tom Hanks as Latrobe native Fred Rogers. Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, the fictional version of journalist Tom Junod, who is not quite ready to buy into the Mister Rogers legend as he is profiling him for Esquire. Junod’s 1998 story formed the basis for the movie.

The film, which will open nationwide Friday, has had several special screenings across the country and Canada.

Rick Sebak, a producer with WQED-TV and longtime friend of Rogers, was there to soak it in.

“What means so much to us at WQED is you never expect someone you worked with will be part of a Hollywood movie,” Sebak said. “This probably will never happen again.”

Joanne Rogers said of the movie: “I loved the film. It was amazing to see all the sets from the show, they were so accurate, down to some of the graffiti on the walls.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was also on hand for Wednesday’s screening.

“This movie is about the importance of neighborhoods,” he said. “And there’s no better city to premiere it in than in the neighborhood that Fred Rogers called home.”

After the show, many guests lingered, discussing the picture which had both comedy and serious parts.

Hanks opened the film with a vintage Rogers scene — taking off his jacket and loafers and putting on that zip-up red cardigan sweater and sneakers.

Joe Negri, who played “Handyman Negri” on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” attended the screening. He said he liked the movie very much and that Hanks fit Fred Rogers “to a T.”

“It was a really wonderful movie,” Negri said. “It was deep. The sets were just like the original.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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