Category: Entertainment Written by Genea Webb
Buyi Zama can’t believe she is a part of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Lion King” and she is excited to be a part of the production that will be making its triumphant return to jumpstart the 2013-2014 theater season.
“I have been with the show for 11 years and I have been everywhere with the show, my first performance was in London and I’ve performed in Australia, Taiwan and South Africa to name a few.” said Zama who hails from South Africa and speaks six languages including Zulu, which is her native tongue. “I feel like I am at home on stage every night and I’m looking forward to coming here. I can’t wait to come back.”
“The Lion King,” which features music by Elton John and Tim Rice, tells the story of young lion cub prince, Simba who struggles to accept the responsibility of becoming an adult and assuming the role as king of the jungle of Pride Rock. He is excited and nervous about becoming king and his father, Mufasa teaches him how nature bonds all animals together. Mufasa’s evil brother, Scar, hopes that Simba will never become King and lures Simba into the path of a stampede of wildebeest where Mufasa is killed trying to save his son. Scar convinces Simba that Mufasa’s death is his fault and drives Simba away, thus becoming ruler of the pride. Simba’s childhood friend, Nala, tells Simba about the decline of the pride lands under Scar’s rule and begs him to return to his rightful position as king. With the help of a Rafiki, a wise Shaman baboon, Simba realizes he is able to accept his role as King of the Jungle.
“The Lion King” debuted in Minneapolis in 1997 and premiered on Broadway in November of that year. In 1998 the musical won numerous Tony Awards including Best Musical, Outstanding Set Design and Best Choreography. As of April 2012, “The Lion King” was the highest grossing musical on Broadway grossing $853.8 million. It will run Sept. 3-29 at the Benedum Center.
The season will continue with “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess from Feb. 25-March 2, 2014 at the Benedum. Winner of the 2012 Tony Award for best revival of a musical, it will feature new staging and legendary songs like “Summertime” and “I Got Plenty of Nothing.” The musical features one of Broadway’s most accomplished creative teams, led by Tony-nominated director Diane Paulus, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and two-time Obie award-winning composer Diedre Murray.
“We Will Rock You” the musical by Queen and Ben Alton will roll onto the Benedum Center stage Oct. 29-Nov. 3. The guitar-thrashing musical that is based on the music of rock group Queen celebrated its 10th anniversary last May.
The hilarious musical “Elf” will get Pittsburgers ready for the holiday season when it stops at the Benedum Center from Nov. 26-Dec. 1. “Elf” tells the story of Buddy, a young orphaned child who crawls into Santa’s giftbag and is taken back to the North Pole. Once he realizes that he is not an elf—due to his enormous size and poor toy making skills—Buddy takes a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity and learn the true meaning of Christmas.
“Ghost The Musical” will retell the iconic love story from the Oscar-winning movie of the same name in a brand new Broadway musical. It features an original pop score from Dave Stewart, one half of the ’80s pop duo the Eurythnics and Glen Ballard, co-writer of Alanis Morrisette’s multi-platinum album, “Jagged Little Pill.” The musical will play at Heinz Hall from Dec. 31- Jan. 5.
“Once,” winner of eight Tony Awards in 2012 including Best Musical takes hold of the Benedum Center stage March 11-16 in 2014. It tells the story of a Dublin street musician who is about to give up his dream of making it into the big time when a young woman takes an interest in one of his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows his music soars to powerful new heights.
Anyone who enjoyed the story of “Peter Pan” will enjoy “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the prequel to “Peter Pan” as it rounds out the 2013-2014 season during a five-night run at Heinz Hall from May 20-25. “Peter and the Starcatcher” takes the audience on a trip through Neverland. Based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Peterson, the play won five Tony Awards and the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Favorite Play.
“I’m a New York kid but Pittsburgh is a good place for me to be. ‘The Deer Hunter’ was my first experience with Pittsburgh while I was in graduate school at Yale and I remember the affect that the song ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ had and how everyone knew the song and that’s where the idea for ‘Peter and the Star Catcher’ came from,” said Rick Elise, writer of the musical. “It was written for adult sensibility. This is an unmatched production with 12 actors including the actor from ‘Smash” who is from Pittsburgh. He rearranged his schedule to do this.”
Theatergoers will also be able to attend three season special events during the 2013-2014 season.
“Christmas with THE RAT PACK Live at the Sands will run at Heinz Hall from Christmas Eve through Dec. 29. The musical: Wicked” will return to Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center for a limited engagement Jan. 15-Feb. 9. “Mamma Mia!” will take over the Heinz Hall stage Feb. 11-16.
“I’m thrilled to share the 2013-2014 season. There are three critical concepts that guide how shows are chosen: balance, quality and diversity,” said Paul Organsak, vice president of programming at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “We really use those guidance principles. We’re here to compliment not to compete.”
Season tickets range from $113 to $473. Single tickets will go on sale approximately 6-8 weeks in advance of the shows opening.
For more information, call 412-456-1300 or visit www.trustarts.org/Broadway. Group discounts apply to orders of tickets of 10 or more for most events. For more information, call 412-471-6930 or visit www.trustarts.org/groupsales.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:16
Category: Entertainment Written by C. Denise Johnson
MONTAE RUSSELL (Photo by Gail Manker)
If you were to roll back the clock, say 45 years, you would truly appreciate the saying, the more things change the more they stay the same. Although “Thurgood” chronicles the life on the first African-American associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the struggles he contested and won are now being dismantled.
Thurgood Marshall, a native of Baltimore, graduated from high school and enrolled in Lincoln University with the intention of becoming a dentist. However, an incident in a local movie house where he and other Lincoln students (including Langston Hughes) were to sit in the balcony became a turning point in his life, and the nation.
While it may be understandable to assume that “Thurgood” would be about the nation’s first Black Supreme Court Justice, the play is really about what shaped Marshall to later become the man who would later integrate the highest court in the land.
To sell this one-man production, Homestead native Montae Russell had to reach deep into this actor’s bag and pull out all the stops for this 90-minute tour de force performance.
The play is set in the Howard University Law School Auditorium and Marshall is reminiscing as he shares his life story. As Marshall, Russell assumes his persona through more than five decades, moving from retired justice to an undergrad to a law school student to a young attorney itching to fight and dismantle segregation.
Russell conveys the wit and humor of the late Justice, and draws on the righteous indignation the Black men in America know all too well.
The high point comes when the arguments of Brown v. Board of Education are heard, Russell conjures the fire and brimstone conviction of Marshall while alternately assume the personae of the smoothest and highly successful white attorney John W. Davis.
Russell works hard and earns his standing ovation at the play’s conclusion and the audience gets a fascinating lesson in civics and history through the eyes of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
“Thurgood” continues through April 7, at Pittsburgh Public Theater at the O’Reilly Theater, Downtown. Tickets are $23-$55 (students and ages 26 and younger $15.75 with valid ID). For performance times call 412-316-1600 or www.ppt.org
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 06:00
Category: Entertainment Written by Courier Newsroom
CJ’s Restaurant & Lounge presents “The Roger Humphries & RH Factor Jazz Jam Session” at 8 p.m. at 2901-2911 Penn Ave., Strip District. There will be live jazz and fun every Thursday night. Must be 30 years or older and there is a dress code that will be enforced. No tennis shoes, sweats, or athletic gear. For more information, call 412-642-2377.
The August Wilson Center for African American Culture presents Solo Exhibits from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. This exhibition showcases fiber art, printmaking, paintings and sculptures from the artists, Leslie Ansley, Tina Brewer and Jo-Anne Bates. Each artist has drawn inspiration from journeys recalling African-American heritage, reflecting on Diaspora or Pilgrimages to the African continent. The exhibit runs through June 29. For more information, call 412-258-2700.
The P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Group presents the 5th Annual Blues, R&B Showcase 2013 from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at the Hard Rock Café, Station Square. The evening will be hosted by The Muddy Kreek Blues Band and feature Vince Agwada and the Danetts. The fundraiser supports the P.R.O.M.I.S.E.’s youth camps and other programs. For more information, call 412-258-0506 or visit www.promiseonthemove.com.
The Pittsburgh Public Theater presents their MADE IN AMERICA series with the play “Thurgood” at 8 p.m. at the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. The one-man play stars Montae Russell as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. The play tells the story of Marshall, from his beginnings in Baltimore, Md., to his rise to the highest court. “Thurgood” will run through April 7. For more information, call 412-316-1600 or visit www.ppt.org.
Savoy Restaurant presents Savoy Jazz from 5-9 p.m. at 2623 Penn Ave., Strip District. Every Monday guests can enjoy live jazz in a sophisticated atmosphere with the Roger Humphries Trio and a special guest each week. This week’s guest will be jazz saxophonist Jay Willis. For more information, call 412-281-0660 or visit www.savoypgh.com.
BNY Mellon Jazz presents Diggin’ Deep JazzLive Cabaret Sessions at 8 p.m. at the Backstage Bar at Cabaret Theater, 655 Penn Ave., Cultural District. This is in celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month. The featured guest will be the Kenny Garrett Quintet. There will also be a performance from 5-8 p.m. by Javon Rushton. For more information, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.trustarts.org.
The Students of CAPA
Cohen & Grigsby present “Tomorrow/Today: The Students of CAPA” Art Exhibit at C&G Gallery, 625 Liberty Ave., Downtown. The exhibit will feature the art of 15 students from Pittsburgh’s Magnet School for the Creative and Performing Arts and includes painting, sculptures and portraits. For more information, call 412-297-4900.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 10:05
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