Short List: August 21 - 29 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Aug. 23 — Stage

The touring version of Broadway hit In the Heights visited Pittsburgh in February 2010. Thanks to Snowmageddon, turnout was light. But due to this crowd-pleasing musical's contemporary Latin score and vibrant choreography, "[t]he energy in the audience was electric," says Justin Fortunato, who was there. Now Fortunato's Carrnivale Theatrics (along with Front Porch Theatricals) stages the first regional production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's multiple-Tony-winner, set in New York's largely Latino Washington Heights neighborhood. Carrnivale went all out: The cast of 23 — including performers originally from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — reflects auditions held in New York as well as Pittsburgh. (Half the performers are students from either Point Park or Carnegie Mellon University.) Joe Caruncho Jr. stars as "Usnavi," and "Kevin Rosario" is played by Tony Chisoldes, who took the role on Broadway. And the crew includes such top local talent as choreographer Keisha Lalama and set designer Tony Ferrieri. "People will come to the show and see a street corner of New York City" onstage at the New Hazlett Theater, promises Fortunato, who directs. While In the Heights is sometimes called a "rap show" (some lyrics are rapped) or "dance show," Fortunato says it's really "a storytellers show" about three days in the lives of several Washington Heights neighbors — immigrants proud of both their home countries and their new community. Bill O'Driscoll Fri., Aug. 23-Sept. 1. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $18-25 (opening night: $35). 888-718-4253 or

Thu., Aug. 22 — Books

For an inkling of how absurdly rich Pittsburgh's industries made some folks — or even if you're just a history buff, architecture fan or old-house enthusiast — check out Pittsburgh's Mansions (Arcadia Publishing). The 127-page paperback by Melanie Linn Gutowski illustrates, in mostly vintage black-and-white photos, the palaces the affluent here built themselves in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some abodes, like Henry Frick's Clayton, abide; many, like William Thaw's Lyndhurst, once at the corner of Fifth and Beechwood, are no more. Tonight, local author Gutowski holds a launch party at the Mansions on Fifth hotel, on Shadyside's old Millionaire's Row. Bill O'Driscoll 6-8 p.m. 5105 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-381-5105

Thu., Aug. 22 — Stage

Tonight, the stage of the Peter Mills Theater becomes "Big Daddy" Pollitt's Mississippi Delta plantation home. This weekend and next, The Summer Company puts on Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winner Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Though the cast is full of company regulars, this production marks the Summer Company debut of Curt Wootton, best known for his goofy YouTube character "Pittsburgh Dad." Wootton plays Brick opposite Cassandra Hough, as Maggie. Justin Sines directs. Olivia Lammel 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 31. Duquesne University campus, Uptown. $10-15. 412-243-6464 or

Thu., Aug. 22 — Comedy

It's a big week for local comics at Club Café. Tonight, catch the Steel City Comedy Tour, featuring Chuck Krieger, with Mike Wysocki, Tommy Kupiec, Tone Bock and Ray Zawandi. And on Friday, the venue's late slot is held down by The Wham Bam Thank You Jam, with Day Bracey, Parris Knight, Matt Light, Alex Stypula and storyteller Stacy Keene, hosted by Amy Capiross, with music by Big Gypsy. BO Steel City Comedy: 8 p.m. ($8). Wham Bam: 10 p.m. Fri., Aug. 23 ($8-10). 56 S. 12th St., South Side. 866-468-3401 or

Fri., Aug. 23 — Comedy

With Pittsburgh's own improv-comedy scene burgeoning, there might be more interest than ever in the latest visit to Pittsburgh Public Theater's O'Reilly Theater by The Second City. The venerable but ever-changing troupe returns with Happily Ever Laughter, an especially optimistically titled new collection of sketch comedy and improv. Young performers following in the Second City footsteps of Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey include Cody Dove, Kelsey Kinney, Dana Quercioli, Tim Ryder and Nate Sherman. Tonight's show has a specially ticketed option including a post-show party; two more shows follow tomorrow. BO 8 p.m. Also 5:30 and 9 p.m. Sat., Aug. 24. 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15.75-48 (Aug. 23 post-show-party: $75-100). 412-316-1600 or

Fri., Aug. 23 — Burlesque

The burlesque revival takes many forms, from classic fan-dance homage to shadings of camp, goth and Weimar Republic. Expect a little of each at A Night of Burlesque, presented at Cavo Nightclub by locally based designer and performer Nicolette Romero. Performances by Romero, Countess Von Tella, Kandi Licious and Lita D'Vargas complement the champagne atmosphere at Cavo, but tonight's secret weapons might well be the Boilermaker Jazz Band, bringing the traddy-jazz sounds. A press release says, "Guests are asked to dress for the theme of decadence and glamour." BO 8 p.m.-2 a.m. 1916 Smallman St., Strip District. $20 (VIP cocktail hour: $75).

Sat., Aug. 24 — Outdoors

Today, Venture Outdoors offers an activity sampler of sorts. In three hours, participants will go on a paddle, a bike ride and a hike through the versatile trails and waterways of North Park. The organization combines three of its most basic activities into one outing. The event is called Tri-It, and it's tailored to beginners who'd like to get outside but don't know where to start. The trip will finish up with a picnic by the water. OL 8 a.m.-noon. Babcock Boulevard and East Ingomar Road, North Park. $40 ($25 for kids). 412-255-0564 or

Sat., Aug. 24 — Words

Kelly Braffet lived in the Pittsburgh area for a number of years, but today is her first time as a guest author at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Braffet will read from Save Yourself, her latest psychological thriller, which is told from the perspective of two outcasts. Salon said about the book, "Braffet expertly captures the suffocating confines of small-town life and the desperation of its outliers." Braffet, who now lives in upstate New York, will visit Mystery Lovers for Coffee & Crime, a series of author events where the bookshop provides attendees with coffee and pastries. OL 10 a.m.- noon. 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. Free; reservations required. 412-828-4877 or

Sat., Aug. 24 — Outdoors

Bike-curious? Whether you don't know a recumbent from a fixie, or you're simply jonesing to try a range of pedal-powered vehicles, the third annual Try a Bike Jamboree is for you. Advocacy group Flock of Cycles hosts this free, all-day fair where you can ride loaner bikes around the car-free Bud Harris Cycling Track: unicycles, electric bikes, tandems, bikes with baskets, commuter bikes with panniers and more. You can even learn how to load your bike on a Port Authority bike rack. The Jamboree is part of this year's BikeFest. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Washington Boulevard near Allegheny River Boulevard, Highland Park. Free.

Sat., Aug. 24 — Festival

The Renaissance Festival is back and this weekend, lords and ladies will dust off their ornate velvet garb to kick off the annual festivities. Knights will joust, the bells of the carillon will ring out and court jesters will entertain. There will be sword-fighting, storytelling and belly-dancing. The Washing Well Wenches will turn their laundry into a comedy show, Wilsome Fire will eat flames and hypnotist Rick Stratton will manipulate minds, all on the bucolic West Newton fairgrounds. OL 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Continues weekends (and Labor Day) through Sept. 29. 112 Renaissance Lane, West Newton. $8-$16.95 (kids under 5 free). 724-872-1670 or

Sat., Aug. 24 — Art

As a principal dancer for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Julia Erickson has danced roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Now, she stars as herself in the exhibition titled Julia, at Box Heart Gallery. Local artist Sonja Sweterlitsch has created more than a dozen oil portraits of the dancer, who is about to enter her 13th season with the PBT. The painter says using the same lets her more fully capture different aspects of Erickson's personality. OL 5-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through Sept. 14. 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-8858 or

Wed., Aug. 28 — Stories

Storytelling Barbecue: One Dream, Our Stories is nearly as simple as it sounds. To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the community-building folks at the Union Project invite people of all ages to come tell how they're working to improve the world around them. But this testimonial is also part picnic: While you're listening to both invited, seasoned storytellers and everyday neighbors, sit outdoors eating free barbecue from Union Pig and Chicken. There will even be some diversions courtesy of Obscure Games. BO 5:30-7:30 p.m. 901 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park. Free. 412-363-4550 or

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