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Short List: Week of November 5 - 12 

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With its vibrant sets and costumes, and the lighthearted musical synthesis of Eastern European folk and jazz, it's hard to imagine Brundibár staged in a concentration camp. But this weekend, Pittsburgh Opera Theater and a cast of CAPA high school students decked out in vivid clothing and animal costumes restage the opera that premiered at the Theresienstadt camp, in 1938. Composer Hans Krása's work was staged 55 times before the young cast was shipped to Auschwitz. The libretto tells the story of good triumphing over evil. The show was revived in recent years with sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and a book by playwright Tony Kushner. Director Jonathon Eaton calls Brundibár a delightful antidote to the brutal times of its conception. "Animals and children band together to overcome a wicked, greedy, money-grabbing adult who churns out robot music on his organ," Eaton says. "How does the bully get bested? By the solidarity of children and the power of music." The plot is simple -- two children off to buy milk for their ailing mother are stopped by the town bully, a diabolical organ-grinder. While the fairy-tale message of good over evil can appeal to the youngsters in the audience, adults and teen-agers can find allegorical parallels to the Holocaust. And between the neon visuals and jaunty tunes, Brundibár is one way to get the whole family into opera. Lucy Leitner 7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 6; 6 and 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 7; and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Nov. 8. CAPA Theater, 111 Ninth St., Downtown. $25; $15 (under 18). 412-456-1390 or www.operatheaterpittsburgh.org

 

Thu., Nov. 5 -- Stage 

A tradition of bite-size theater begun six years ago continues at the Future Ten festival. It's two programs of five original 10-minute plays each, with local talent staging scripts from Pittsburgh and beyond in Downtown's intimate Future Tenant gallery. This year, inspired by the G-20 summit, it's the F-10 Play Summit ... We're Causing a Riot! Plays, however, aren't all G-20 themed. And the likelihood of pepper spray, we're told, approaches zero. Bill O'Driscoll Program A: 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Fri, Nov. 6, and 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 7. Program B: Nov. 12-14. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown. $10. www.futuretenant.org

 

Fri., Nov. 6 -- Music

They may sound like long-lost Brill Building numbers, but apart from an odd cover of "Brown Eyed Girl," all songs on Dancing on a Long Leash are in fact contemporary, penned by local singer-songwriter and guitarist Peter King. On his new album, playful lyrics and Steely Dan-esque changes combine with jazz-pro instrumentation and King's disarmingly vulnerable, unembellished voice. At tonight's release show, King's joined by an all-star band that includes the likes of Don Aliquo Sr. on sax and flute, and Heather Kropf on vocals and keys. Kropf opens this free show with a solo set. Aaron Jentzen 7-9 p.m. Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

 

Sat., Nov. 7 -- Stage 

What happens after ... after? David Harrower's Blackbird, 2007 winner of the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Play, examines the aftermath of a devastating encounter. Fifteen years earlier, 40-year-old Ray and 12-year-old Una had a liaison. She's now an adult and an outcast; he's middle-aged and has done time for their affair. Una seeks him out to find closure. Was it love? An attack? Somewhere in between? The New York Post called it "haunting, powerful, incendiary [and] daring." Stuart Carden directs a new production at City Theatre. Melissa Meinzer 5:30 p.m. Show continues through Dec. 13. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $23-48. 412-431-4400 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

 

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Sat., Nov. 7 -- Art

With the show Dia de Los Muertos & La Resurreccion, moxie DaDA gallery "explores death as a doorway to another life." It's more than metaphor: The fine little showplace that began in Bloomfield and spent the past three years in the North Side's Firehouse Studios is going virtual. Director Christine Whispell and partners Grant Bobitski and Matthew Indovina simply felt it was time for a change. Tonight's the final closing party for the gallery's 3-D incarnation, and the last chance to view this group show, featuring work by Randie Snow, Gabe Felice and others. BO 6-9 p.m. 1416 Arch St., North Side. Free. 412-682-0348 or www.moxiedada.com

 

Sat., Nov 7 -- Rock

Besides the customary chugga-chugga and proggy breakdowns, local modern-rockers Identity X incorporate flashes of guitarmony, surprising atmospherics and strong melodies on the band's new release, Perception is Reality. Singer David Toole's versatile voice turns on a dime from Keenanesque mutters to clear melodies and full-throated screams, even the occasional hair-metal wail. The band has opened for the likes of Story of the Year, Taproot and Sevendust; tonight's all-ages CD-release show at Altar Bar includes In the Wake, Highland Pines, Doomsday Initiative, Blameshift and Sighlo. AJ 6 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $10 ($15 day of show). 412-263-2877 or www.altarbarpittsburgh.com

 

Local band The Deceptions offer a potent brand of alt-countrified rock 'n' roll, with flashes of Neil Young guitar balanced against accordion, plinky piano, shuffling drums and full-bodied, soulful vocals. Some flavors you might pick up from their new album, Sinner's Soul, include The Band, The Old '97s and The Jayhawks, as well as -- on songs like "If I Missed You" -- darker, gothic overtones. In other words, it's a pretty dang good listen. The Deceptions' CD-release show tonight at Club Café includes a set by Round Black Ghosts. AJ 7 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $5. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

 

Sat., Nov. 7 -- Cabaret

Halloween may be a memory, but campy, creepy fun never goes out of style. The brand-new Psycho Go Go Cabaret is a night full of belly dancing, blues and rockabilly, B-movie schlock and hip-hop, hosted by Scumbelina and Dr. Mirakle. So begins a planned monthly showcase devised by dance teacher Laura Hodge and playwright Michael McGovern, Bloomfielders both. December's installment will send up old Christmas specials. MM 9 p.m. Pittsburgh Dance and Theatre Arts, 4765 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-513-8760

 

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Sun., Nov. 8 -- Stage 

While Harold creates his own world with nothing but an active imagination and a purple crayon, the Enchantment Theater Company brings the classic children's book to life in a lavish musical. Starting tonight, courtesy of Pittsburgh International Children's Theatre, the stage troupe recreates Crockett Johnson's 1955 journey through a child-created world with The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon. In under an hour, see the fantasy sets and life-size puppets as the title character travels to Mars and joins a circus. LL 2 p.m. Also 10:15 a.m. Mon., Nov. 9. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown ($9.50-11). Continues at area schools through Nov. 14. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

 

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Sun., Nov 8 -- Klezmer

The cover of The Klez Dispensers, the new CD by The Eastern Watershed Klezmer Quartet, is so weird it got passed around the CP office in disbelief: band members' digitized heads grafted onto Pez dispensers, an ominous CGI hand looming above. The music, thankfully, is much more straightforward -- high-energy klezmer, polkas and more, performed with the dazzling skill you'd expect from this long-running local ensemble. Today's release show features a multicultural mish-mash of performers: The NewLanders, Celtic trio Piobaire, The Balkan Babes and dance from bellydancers Sadiqa and Coal Country Cloggers. AJ 2-5 p.m. First Baptist Church, 159 Bellefield St., Oakland. $5 (or $20 including CD). Easternwatershed.org

 

Mon., Nov. 9 -- Words

For many, water is not the safe and practically limitless resource it seems in the developed world. Water rights in poor countries are being bought up by a small number of corporations. Karen Piper, an English professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, examines the consequences in a free talk titled "Is Water the New Oil? The New Water Monopolies and the World's Poor." Piper, a Carngie Mellon visiting professor who's working on a book on the subject, speaks as part of CMU's Humanities Center Lecture Series. MM 4:30 p.m. Porter 100, Gregg Hall. CMU campus, Oakland. Free. 412-268-6094

 

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Tue., Nov. 10 -- Stage

Though she's arguably the soul of August Wilson's monumental Pittsburgh Cycle, his Aunt Ester -- a 300-year-old healer and former slave -- is seen onstage in just one of those 10 plays. That work, Gem of the Ocean, launches The Aunt Ester Cycle, which appropriately enough is the first theater event in the new August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Two performances of Gem by the acclaimed St. Louis Black Repertory begin tonight. Other Aunt Ester events include symposia, Nov. 12 and 13 reprises by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Co. of last year's splendid Two Trains Running, and more, through Nov. 22. BO Gem: 8 p.m. Also 1 p.m. Wed., Nov. 11. $18-28. 412-456-6666 or www.augustwilsoncenter.org

 

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Wed., Nov 11 -- Pop

It must be something in the blood. The airy clear vocals, lush '60s-style instrumentation and undercurrent of loneliness on Harper Simon's self-titled debut are reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel ... and then you realize Harper is Paul Simon's son. That knowledge gives fresh-faced songs like "Wishes and Stars" and "The Audit" the faint shadow of an old friend, lurking just out of frame. Supported by a Nashville dream team as well as the likes of Petra Haden, the album's a stunner. Simon's show tonight at the The Andy Warhol Museum is co-presented by folk music society Calliope. AJ 8 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $12. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

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