Short List: December 3 - 9 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: December 3 - 9

Holiday stage offerings commence; Romeo and Juliet ballet returns to the Playhouse; Handmade Arcade at the Convention Center; new storytelling series

SPOTLIGHT: Thu., Dec. 4 — Stage

Holiday performance season begins in earnest this week, heavy on old favorites but with some new wrinkles. Fresh takes on old standbys include Bricolage's Midnight Radio production of It's a Wonderful Life (Dec. 4-20). Five actors tackle this radio-style stage adaptation of the film classic, with live sound effects (Downtown; $35; From Dec. 5-7, Resonance Works offers its first annual production of Amahl and the Night Visitors; this staging of Menotti's beloved chamber opera about three strangers in Bethlehem features Pittsburgh favorites Daniel Teadt and Robert Frankenberry (Shadyside; $10-50; free for children under 10; Attack Theatre offers the fifth year of the family-friendly dance work Holiday Unwrapped (Dec. 5-6), plus the Dec. 6 debut of Holiday Hijinks and Revue, a 21-and-over party seasoned with short performances (Strip District; $5-15; Elsewhere, Music in a Great Space offers Handel's Messiah (Dec. 6), performed by the Shadyside Chamber Choir and Chatham Baroque (Shadyside; $10-15; Pittsburgh CLO stages its traditional A Musical Christmas Carol (Dec. 5-20), with a talented cast headed by Tom Atkins, as Scrooge (Downtown; $15.75-60.75; Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre reprises its circa-1900 Pittsburgh-set The Nutcracker (Dec. 5-28; Downtown; $27-107; And Shona Sharif African Dance and Drum Ensemble presents the 25th edition of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity (Dec. 5-21), blending the Christmas story with gospel music and African dance (Oakland; $10-20; [email protected]). Bill O'Driscoll

Thu., Dec. 4 — Stage

PICT Classic Theatre closes its season with what Charles Dickens called his best work. In Great Expectations, adapted for the stage by Hugh Leonard, the young orphan Pip finds himself suddenly a wealthy man on the road to becoming a London gentleman. Two familiar faces at PICT — Lily Davis, a recent Point Park University graduate, and recent Pitt grad Dylan Marquis Meyers — play haughty Estella and humble Pip, respectively. The cast, directed by PICT's Alan Stanford, also includes local favorite Mary Rawson as Miss Havisham. The first performance is tonight. Danielle Fox 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 20. Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-54. 412-561-6000 or

Fri., Dec. 5 — Art

Born in Colombia, artist Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer draws on personal experience and paints the narrative of an immigrant's journey through subjects like memories, photos and changing landscapes. Now based in Pittsburgh, Cuellar-Shaffer's latest paintings represent the human figure, mapping "one's evolution and appropriation of a new beginning," she says in press materials. Her exhibit Recent Works, at 709 Penn Gallery, opens tonight with a reception. DF 5-8 p.m. 709 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-471-6070 or

Fri., Dec. 5 — Art

Visual art from Latin America, and perhaps Venezuela in particular, isn't widely exhibited in Pittsburgh. But tonight is the opening reception for Sincronia, Shaw Galleries' group show of six contemporary Venezuelan artists. Included are the gestural works of Jesus Perez; the figurative imagery of Freddy Paz Rincón; the drawings of Johan Galue and Alvaro Paz; work by Gustavo Paris; and the "characters, silhouettes and hidden faces" of Nerio Quintero, such as the colorful "Quetzalcoatl." Bill O'Driscoll 5-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through Jan. 10. 805 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-281-4884 or

Fri., Dec. 5 — Art

Dave Klug is a nationally known illustrator, with credits ranging from Forbes magazine to Highlights — though you might know him best from his mural of local celebs at the Strip District Primanti's. Illustrators don't always get gallery love, but tonight, Panza Gallery opens Dave Klug & Friends, featuring fun, witty and accessible new work by Klug and three other local practitioners. Klug is joined by fellow widely published talents George Schill, Stacy Innerst and Wayno. Tonight's reception is free. BO 6-8:30 p.m.. Exhibit continues through Dec. 27. 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale. Free.

Fri., Dec. 5 — Dance

Nicolas Petrov, who founded Point Park University's renowned dance program, went out with a bang last year by staging Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet for the school's Conservatory Dance Company. Petrov — an internationally known dancer who also founded, in 1969, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre — is retired now. But he's back to choreograph another production of the famed ballet adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy. The show runs for eight performances over two weekends, starting tonight; look for a review in next week's CP. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 14. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $18-20. 412-392-8000 or

Handmade Arcade
Photo courtesy of Joey Kennedy

Sat., Dec. 6 — Marketplace

Found-object jewelery; hand-bound journals; upcycled children's clothing; organic bath and body products; limited-edition art posters; purses made from old books — these are just some of the wares at the 11th annual Handmade Arcade. Some 150 independent craft vendors from Pittsburgh and across the country gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in the year's biggest show — in fact, one of the biggest in the nation — for hand-crafted goods. There are also local DJs and live music. And the Hands-On Handmade area includes participatory art and craft projects. BO 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Downtown. Free.

The Gallery 4
Art by Gabe Felice

Sat., Dec. 6 — Art

An up-and-coming local artist opens a show of new work, with a psychic twist, at The Gallery 4. Gabe Felice offers vivid, kaleidoscopic and often surreal imagery, painting in acrylic, enamel and ink on canvas or salvaged metal or wood. His process also often partakes of extrasensory phenomenon, and the new show, Trip In / On Neon, "combin[es] the creative process with clairvoyance" to translate brain waves into two-dimensional imagery. It'll be on the walls starting with tonight's opening reception. BO 7-11 p.m. 206 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-363-5050 or

Sun., Dec. 7 — Screen

It doesn't have angels, reindeer or candy canes, but if you're hunting for old movies this time of year, you could do worse than To Have and Have Not. Howard Hawks' 1944 drama (based on a Hemingway novel) stars Humphrey Bogart as a wartime charter-boat captain mixed up in the French resistance. It's famed as the screen debut of 19-year-old Lauren Bacall, whose scenes with Bogart crackle. Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Regent Square Theater screens the film tonight as the first installment of a Bogie-and-Bacall back-to-back, continuing next week with John Huston's classic 1948 crime drama Key Largo. BO 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood. $9. 412-682-4111 or

Mon., Dec. 8 — Activism

From journalists jailed for doing their jobs to activists tortured (and worse) for demanding human rights, Amnesty International and its members work for justice around the globe year-round. Every December, Amnesty chapters ask communities to participate in the Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival. Amnesty International Pittsburgh holds its own 28th annual evening of letter-writing tonight at Calvary Episcopal Church. The group supplies all necessary information about each rights case, writing materials and refreshments. (See this year's cases at Write one letter or a dozen; someone, somewhere will be glad you did. BO 6-9 p.m. 315 Shady Ave., Shadyside. Free. [email protected]

Photo courtesy of Jeff Swensen

Tue., Dec. 9 — Stage

In a world where water supplies have run dangerously scarce, Urinetown squirms under a ban on private toilets and a corrupt, pay-to-potty conglomerate. New York playwright Greg Kotis and composer Mark Hollman wrote the satirical musical Urinetown, which debuted in 2001 at the New York International Fringe Festival. The biting play on capitalism and toilet humor earned Urinetown nine Tonys. Starting tonight, with Zeva Barzell as director and choreographer, Point Park's Conservatory Theatre Company flushes out its inhibitions for an eight-show run. DF 8 p.m. Show continues through Sun., Dec. 14. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $18-20. 412-392-8000 or

Tue., Dec. 9 — Words

Lisa Kirchner spent several years in New York City's storytelling scene. Now, the author of the recent memoir Hello, American Lady Creature, has returned to Pittsburgh and wants to add her out-of-town experience to the local mix. Kirchner's Pittsburgh Story Syndicate is hosting a brand-new storytelling night at Brookline community hub Cannon Coffee. Tonight, bring your true-life five-minute story, and if your name is picked from the hat, you'll get to tell it live. The series continues weekly. BO 6:30-7:30 p.m. 802 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. Donations accepted.