Short List: November 11 - 17 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: November 11 - 17

World-touring dance troupe’s U.S. premiere; The Piano Lesson at the Wilson Center; author Elizabeth Kolbert; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

SPOTLIGHT: Sat., Nov. 14 — Dance

After stops in Italy, France and London’s Royal Opera House, Montreal-based dance company Cas Public’s world tour pulls into Pittsburgh and Shadyside Academy’s Hillman Center for Performing Arts for the U.S. premiere of Symphonie Dramatique (2014), on Sat., Nov. 14. Admittedly, it’s a surprising venue for a U.S. premiere by a company of this caliber. The hour-long multimedia contemporary-dance work, choreographed by Cas Public artistic director Hélène Blackburn, is titled for Hector Berlioz’s term for his music based on Romeo and Juliet. The dance work is a broad interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy with an emphasis on what the mythical couple universally represents. “Everyone can be Romeo or Juliet,” says Blackburn. “The newspapers are full of sad stories about youth falling in love, issues of sexuality and religion. Instead of having just the one point of view about Romeo and Juliet in the work, it is much more interesting to have multiple views of this type of intense relationship.” Set to an original soundscape by Martin Tétreault that samples music from Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Gounod and others, the family-friendly production (ages 10 and up) for eight dancers is a romantic and energetic look at life, love and death using movement styles from contemporary ballet to hip hop. Steve Sucato 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 14 (family-friendly activities: 6:30 p.m.). 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel. $16-30. 412-968-3040 or

Thu., Nov. 12 — Talk

The Inspire Speakers Series pairs local and national presenters discussing how to build a better society. Its third season begins with “Designing Places to Thrive,” an evening about promoting justice, equity and access to that very design process. Toni Griffin, a University of California-Berkeley professor, is an architect, urban designer and community advocate who’ll discuss her work in cities including Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Newark. John Fetterman (also a candidate for U.S. Senate) will share what he’s learned in his decade as mayor of the economically devastated town of Braddock. This monthly series, sponsored by the Green Building Alliance and the p4 initiative, now offers free onsite child care. Bill O’Driscoll 5:30-7 p.m. (4:30 p.m. networking). 1835 Centre Ave., Hill District. $20 ($10 for those on limited budget). Register at

Thu., Nov. 12 — Comedy

Were you a fan of the Hardy Boys mysteries as a kid? Do you hate dirty liberals screwing up the ’Merica you know and love? If the answer to either question is yes — or if you are actually a dirty liberal — then The Koch Brothers Mystery Show: Live! Tour is for you. Tonight at The Maker Theater, Chicago-based Cards Against Humanity presents this serialized podcast and live sketch show, which finds billionaires “Charles and David Koch” as junior detectives investigating mysterious attacks on our fine Republican presidential candidates. The tongue-in-cheek show features writers from The Onion and performers from Second City’s national touring company. Charlie Deitch 8 p.m. 5950 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. $10.

Fri., Nov. 13 — Art

As is customary, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts fills its big yellow house with fresh art for a big multi-show opening. The Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors holds its 80th annual exhibition, featuring work by 21 artists and juried by group member and local icon Thaddeus Mosley. The Pittsburgh Society of Artists’ 50th Annual Exhibition has work by 47 artists, juried by Petra Fallaux and Patricia Maurides. And Group A harks to its roots in abstract art with a show of nonrepresentational work juried by Todd Keyser. BO 5:30-9 p.m. Exhibits continue through Jan. 17. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Donation requested.

Fri., Nov. 13 — Stage

One reason to be glad that Mark Clayton Southers is literally back on his feet, after a horrific car accident earlier this year, is that he’s directing a new production of The Piano Lesson; Southers’ troupe, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co., consistently mounts the best productions of August Wilson’s plays in town. Another reason to welcome Wilson’s 1990 Pulitzer-winner back is that the stage belongs to his namesake August Wilson Center. Indeed, Wilson’s powerful drama is the first theatrical event at the Center since its big reorganization earlier this year. The top-flight cast includes local Wilson veterans Wali Jamal and Kevin Brown, Obie-winner Edwin Lee Gibson, and Karla C. Payne, Monteze Freeland, Brenda Marks and Garbie Dukes. The first performance is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 21. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $33.25. 412-456-6666 or

click to enlarge ART BY DEAN CERCONE
Art by Dean Cercone

Sat., Nov. 14 — Art

Dean Cercone was for years a mainstay of Pittsburgh’s underground art and music scenes. He moved to Brooklyn in 2013, and has since contributed to group and solo gallery shows in New York and Philadelphia. Tonight, Cercone’s at Christine Frechard Gallery for the opening reception of Compensatory Dreaming. The Butler County native’s collection of his abstract paintings on weathered found surfaces is his first solo show here since 2011. BO 6-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 31. 5871 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. Free. 412-421-8888

Sun., Nov. 15 — Stage

“Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!” Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Esphyr Slobodkina’s classic children’s book Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business with Caps for Sale: The Musical. Adventure Theatre MTC performs this family-friendly show about a peddler whose caps are stolen by mischievous monkeys. A run of nine Citizen’s Bank Children’s Theater Series performances starts with today’s Byham Theater matinee and continues this week at area schools. Kelechi Urama 2 p.m. Continues through Mon., Nov. 22. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $10.50-12. 412-456-6666 or 

Sun., Nov. 15 — Drag

Sure, this past summer, Kierra Darshell launched her Sunday Drag Brunch (first and third Sundays of the month, at James Street Gastropub). But today’s brunch is followed tonight by a much longer-running tradition, as Darshell’s Miss Tri-State All-Star Pageant returns to the Cabaret at Theater Square. The pageant is an institution on the local drag calendar, and tonight’s 23rd annual incarnation honors Miss Tri-State All-Star 2015 Aria B. Cassadine. BO 7:30 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $25-30.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Whitman

Mon., Nov. 16 — Talk

With 2006’s Field Notes From a Catastrophe, about climate change, and last year’s Pulitzer-winning The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert has written two signal works about humans and nature. Few other writers so gracefully capture the history, the science (and the scientists) and both the practical and philosophical implications of what humans have done to Earth — including driving its other inhabitants out of existence daily. The New Yorker staff writer visits the Monday Night Lecture Series tonight, at Carnegie Music Hall. BO 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-25. 412-622-8866 or

Photo courtesy of Christian Steiner

Mon., Nov. 16 — Concert

Not many 20-year-old musicians have been invited to the White House to perform for President Obama and the First Lady, but George Li has done that and more. The Boston-based pianist made his debut at his hometown’s Steinway Hall at age 10, and has since won many awards and honors, such as the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Li gives a free concert tonight at Levy Hall at the Rodef Shalom Congregation, as part of the Music at Rodef Shalom series. KU 8 p.m. 4905 Fifth Ave., Oakland. 412-621-6566 or

Tue., Nov. 17 — Talk

New York-based artist Jill Magid’s work blurs the line between art and life by investigating her intimate relationship with systems of power such as the police, secret service and intelligence agencies. Through performance projects like wearing a bright red trench coat in front of video surveillance cameras in England for 30 days, Magid explores the emotional, philosophical and legal tensions between the individual and “protective” institutions. Magid visits Kresge Theater tonight as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s free Fall 2015 Art Lecture Series. KU 5 p.m. 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. 412-268-2409 or 

Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Tue., Nov. 17 — Stage

It isn’t easy juggling a fiancé (who’s also your cousin) and a social-climbing mistress, all while trying to get your hands on a hefty inheritance, but Monty Navarro is up for the challenge. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the musical comedy about the murderous distant heir to a family fortune. The touring production of Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s Tony-winning 2014 Broadway musical stops at the Benedum Center for its Pittsburgh premiere, with eight shows starting tonight. KU 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Nov. 22. 237 Seventh St., Downtown. $26-66. 412-456-6666 or

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