Short List: November 5 - 11 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: November 5 - 11

Stage favorite Richard McMillan returns for Love Letters; a packed Unblurred on Penn Avenue; Otello is back at Pittsburgh Opera; and comedian Hannibal Buress at the Homestead Carnegie


SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Nov. 7 — Stage

Richard McMillan and Anne Louise Bannon met 25 years ago, during a Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet. McMillan, a noted Canadian actor, played the lead, and Bannon, a Pitt student, understudied Ophelia. Eventually the two performers married. And though they lived in Toronto, McMillan frequently returned to work for the Shakespeare Festival — where he was a keystone performer — and City Theatre, the Pittsburgh Playhouse and elsewhere. "It's become our second home," says McMillan. "I feel like a Pittsburgher." Recently, after learning that McMillan had terminal thyroid cancer, Attilio "Buck" Favorini — who'd recruited McMillan for the Shakespeare Fest — suggested that McMillan and Bannon do another show here. "I thought there should be an opportunity for Pittsburgh to say thank you for all Rick's great work," says Favorini, founder and longtime head of Pitt's theater department. Thus the three performances of Love Letters, A.R. Gurney's 1989 two-hander depicting the half-century relationship between two life-long friends, as told through their missives. The show's a perennial fave of both audiences and name actors. The University of Pittsburgh Stages production, at the intimate Henry Heymann Theatre, is an all-volunteer show; all proceeds will benefit a new fund, named for McMillan, to support undergraduate theater students at Pitt. Bill O'Driscoll Fri., Nov. 7-Sun., Nov. 9. Stephen Foster Memorial Theater, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35 (Nov. 9 reception: $100). 412-624-7529 or

click to enlarge University of Pittsburgh Stages Avenue Q
Photo courtesy of Vincent Noe

Thu., Nov. 6 — Stage

University of Pittsburgh Stages presents the Broadway hit that boasts songs like "The Internet Is for Porn" as well as three Tony awards: Avenue Q. Jeff Whitty's 2003 musical about an English major trying to succeed in New York City features a student cast handling its signature puppets. Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez, of Frozen and Book of Mormon fame, provide the music. Local stage favorite Bria Walker directs the show, which marks the grand reopening of Pitt's Studio Theatre after an extensive renovation. Danielle Fox 8 p.m. Show continues through Nov. 23. Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $12-25. 412-624-7529 or

Thu., Nov. 6 – Music

Ryan Ayers plays guitar a little differently — with the technique of a classical guitarist, but on a steel-stringed instrument and with pop and indie song forms. Tunes like the lovely "Island Moonshine" have won him fans including Andy Summers, formerly of The Police. The Los Angeles-based Ayers — whose gigs include lead guitarist for Prince protégé Andy Allo — visits Acoustic Music Works for a solo show tonight. Local guitarist Aaron Lefebvre opens. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. 2142 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. $8. 412-422-0710 or

Fri., Nov. 7 — Art

It's a busy night at Unblurred. The Penn Avenue art crawl includes 4121 Main, a new event and exhibit space that opens with art by Thommy Conroy. New shows also open at ModernFormations, Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh Glass Center and more, including the Mozelle Thompson album-art show at Most Wanted Fine Art (previewed in last week's CP). Artisan has traditional icon paintings by Simeon Larivonovoff; Daily Bread and Refresh PGH offer urban art by Durty Art, plus live hip hop by Fortified Phonetx, Kanayo King, and Commonwealth Family; and the Roboto Project hosts '90s-themed group show SLIMETIME. BO 7-11 p.m. 4100-5500 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship. Free.

Fri., Nov. 7 — Dance

Noted State College-based dancer-choreographer André Koslowski spent part of a summer residency at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater developing A Cantankerous Wiegenlied. The haunting work (its title including the German word for "lullaby") is a series of solos by Koslowski and three other dancers on a set suggesting a trashed landscape. TanzTheater André Koslowski returns for two performances of the finished full-length piece, tonight and tomorrow. BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 8. 5931 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $10-25. 412-363-3000 or

Sat., Nov. 8 — Art

When the Lawrenceville Artists' Studio Tour began, 10 years ago, it featured 10 artists. This year's anniversary tour features 30 artists from soap-makers to photographers — just one indication of how the neighborhood's so dramatically changed. Stops this year include Radiant Hall — a newer space accommodating more than 15 artists — and the studio of tour-founder Ron Donoughe, who'll unveil his 90 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods project, which includes oil paintings from his visits to each of the city's 'hoods. The tour is free. BO 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Lawrenceville. Free.

Sat., Nov. 8 — Opera

Pittsburgh Opera hasn't staged Otello since 1990, but its season-opening production of Verdi's masterpiece has a powerhouse cast. World-renowned tenor Carl Tanner — a hit in the Met's 2012 Aida — sings the role of Shakespeare's jealous Moor. Award-winning soprano Danielle Pastin (a former Pittsburgh Opera resident artist) is Desdemona, and internationally known baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore essays Iago. Kristine McIntyre directs, and music director Antony Walker conducts the opera's orchestra and chorus. The show is sung in Italian (naturalmente!), with English texts projected above the stage. BO 8 p.m. Also 7 p.m. Tue., Nov. 7; 7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 14, and 2 p.m. Sun., Nov. 16. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $12-179. 412-456-6666 or

Sat., Nov. 8 — Dance

Forget the dancing tigers; bring on the BMX bikers. Tonight, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust hosts 360 ALLSTARS, an international urban circus, to the Byham Theater. Australia's Onyx Productions reinvents the conventional circus with contemporary performances. A Roue Cyr (circus wheel) artist plays ringmaster; break-dancers replace acrobats; and basketball freestylers redefine jumping through hoops. Other performances include Hungary's Peter Sore, a two-time world-champion BMX flatlander, and music from drummer and show director Gene Peterson and vocal-loop artist Sam Perry. DF 8 p.m. 101 Sixth Ave., Downtown. $25-45. 412-456-6666 or

Sat., Nov. 8 — Comedy

Gather round, listen ... and bring your own beer. Local storyteller Kyle Longsdorf imparts true tales at Arcade Comedy Theater's monthly Hootenanny show, where comedians will then warp his words into a night of multiple-scene improvisation. This month's special guest is Longsdorf, a member of the Steel City Improv Theater group Yeah, Those Guys. Longsdorf also hosts Arcade's weekly Sunday-night show Bonus Stage. DF 8 p.m. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10. 412-339-0608 or

click to enlarge Pearlann Porter's Pillow Project
Photo courtesy of Cassie K. Rusnak

Sat., Nov. 8 — Dance

In its decade on earth, choreographer Pearlann Porter's Pillow Project has carved a niche in the local arts scene, from its early, large-scale multimedia shows to its jazz- and poetry-inflected happenings and other more intimate productions. Tonight, the still-vibrant company marks its decennial with In the Blink of a Decade. The party and show at Pillow headquarters, The Space Upstairs, unites many local performers and musicians who got their start or collaborated with the group, for performance recreations and more. Admission includes complimentary cocktails. BO 8 p.m.-midnight. $10-15. 214 N. Lexington St., North Point Breeze.

click to enlarge Hannibal Buress
Photo courtesy of Constance Kostrevski

Sun., Nov. 9 – Comedy

While many people hadn't heard of comedian Hannibal Buress until he ignited controversy by referring to Bill Cosby as a rapist during a show last month in Philadelphia, he's been a favorite on the comedy circuit for years. Buress, who performs tonight at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, covers everything from porn to video games and annoying girlfriends: "She said, ‘What would you do if I stayed out until 3 in the morning?' Me? I'd play video games and celebrate your absence." Charlie Deitch 8 p.m. 510 East 10th Ave., Munhall. $29.50.

Mon., Nov. 10 – Screen

Winner of the 2012 American Documentary Film Pitch Competition, American Bear: An Adventure in the Kindness of Strangers follows filmmakers Sarah Sellman and Greg Grano as they take on 30 states in 60 days. The pair critically explores American compassion by relying on strangers to house them each night. They meet souls like the daughter of the last Cheyenne warrior woman, and Chicago youths facing new forms of segregation. Seeking to further foster kindness, Sellman and Grano visit the Hollywood Theater tonight for a screening and Q&A session. DF 7:30 p.m. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $6-8. 412-563-0368 or

Tue., Nov. 11 — Art

Steffi Domike and Ann Rosenthal's exhibit Moving Targets links the 1914 extinction of passenger pigeons with Jewish diaspora through collages, wood-box paintings and maps. "Our exhibition parallels the plight of the passenger pigeon with that of our mothers' families, piecing together the fragmented stories and forced migrations of both pigeons and Jews," says Rosenthal in press materials. The exhibit, at the Duquesne University library, includes a "Passenger Pigeon Portrait Gallery" from 14 guest artists. The exhibit opens with tonight's reception, artist talk and guided tour. DF 5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 6. 600 Forbes Ave., Uptown. Free. 412-396-6130 or

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