Wartime Drama Set on U.K. Island Offers Intrigue

May 04, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Entertainment

Cast of McKeesport Little Theater’s “Gabriel.” (Tabitha Bowman photo courtesy MLT)

If you go...

   

“Gabriel” by Moira Buffini

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 14

Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for members. Sold at the door, online at www.mckeesportlittletheater.com, or by calling (412) 673-1100

At the height of the second World War on the Nazi-occupied British island of Guernsey in the English Channel, one family struggles to survive. In a twist of fate, an incoherent young man washes up on the beach. Unable to locate identification, the family names him “Gabriel” and decides to harbor him despite facing possible consequences of the commanding officer of the German forces, Major Von Pfunz.

The McKeesport Little Theater is presenting “Gabriel” by Moira Buffini, beginning this week. The play was first published in 1997 and was described by The New York Times as a “deftly woven plot” that “begins generating suspense early on.” Buffini is an English playwright born in Cheshire, United Kingdom.

Another reviewer wrote that “Buffini, a daring and almost shockingly inventive playwright, derives suspenseful plot turns from these characters thrust into a dangerously close situation.”

 
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Fun, Fright as Serra Stages ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

April 20, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of “Little Shop of Horrors,” with Brigid Fuller as Audrey (far left) and TJ Betzner as Seymour Krelborn (far right) rehearse the “Skid Row” number from Serra Catholic's spring musical, which opens Friday. (Tube City Almanac photo by Bonnijean Adams)

If you go...

   

Little Shop of Horrors”

Where: Serra Catholic High School gymnasium, 200 Hershey Drive, (412) 751-2020

When:  Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.,   and Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students, available from any cast or crew member, in the main office, at the door, or by contacting fedorc@serrahs.org. Rated PG-13.

Following a string of Disney musicals, Serra Catholic High School’s director and students decided they wanted to do something different this year.

They’ve been hard at work honing skills needed to not only sing and dance their hearts out, but to accommodate an otherworldly, carnivorous plant that is key to the production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” It opens Friday (April 21) at 7 p.m.

“I wanted something completely different,” director Jesse Bush said. “I wanted to step outside our comfort zone and try something new.”

Some of the cast members said they were familiar with the subject matter and music from either watching the movie of the same name or attending Elizabeth Forward’s spring musical last year – while others were not.

 
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EA Students Take a Royal Journey in ‘Anastasia’

April 11, 2023 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: Entertainment, North Versailles Twp. News

The cast of East Allegheny High School’s “Anastasia” rehearses the show-stopping “Paris” dance number. (Kristen Keleschenyi photo for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...

   

Anastasia”

Where: East Allegheny High School, 1150 Jacks Run Rd., North Versailles

When: 7:30 p.m. April 13 and 14; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 15

Tickets: Available at EASD.Booktix.com

The story of a princess with amnesia is about to come to life at East Allegheny.

The high school’s spring musical, “Anastasia,” opens on Thursday (April 13). The story revolves around Anastasia “Anya” Romanov, who is trying to find out about her past, but ends up befriending two con men who have ulterior motives.

Although the show is not a Disney musical, it has all the elements of one — a princess, great song and dance numbers, and (of course) there’s a love story. The show is based on the 1997 animated film of the same name, and a 1956 live-action film.

Musical director Amanda Rosco said this particular musical paired well with the students who came out to audition and their skill sets. The licensing rights to “Anastasia” just became available to schools last musical season, and EA is only the third school in the area — Belle Vernon Area being the closest and most recent — to present it to an audience.

 
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MAHS Musical Brings ’50s Tunes to Life

March 28, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News

The whole cast dances all out to one of the many musical numbers in “All Shook Up.” (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac.)

If you go...

   

All Shook Up”

Where: McKeesport Area High School, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

When: Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m., with an additional Saturday, April 1 matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Available by emailing mckmusical@gmail.com, or in person at the high school through Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

While almost all adults have at least heard – and many may have a favorite – Elvis Presley song, that isn’t necessarily true for all teens.

That’s unless those teens are in the cast, crew, or orchestra pit for McKeesport Area High School’s spring musical “All Shook Up,” which opens Thursday (March 30).

Characterized as an “American jukebox musical,” it was written in 2004 and premiered on Broadway the following year. And while “All Shook Up” is inspired by and features the music of Elvis,  the storyline is not about Presley. The male lead character is Chad (Collin Klein), who arrives as a stranger on a motorcycle to a conservative town in the Midwest circa 1950s.

While his bike is getting repaired by mechanic Natalie Haller (Kaitlyn Majewski), Chad looks for some excitement, only to learn about the town’s Mamie Eisenhower Decency Act, which prohibits things such as “loud music, public necking, and tight pants.”

 
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Locally Filmed Movie Gets April 1 Premiere

March 16, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods continue to be desirable locations to shoot films of all genres and budgets.

The region “has a little bit of everything,” said film producer and writer Mark Cantu. “You can be in a very urban environment one minute and then drive 20 minutes away and be in a very rural farming community.”

Cantu recently completed his upcoming horror-comedy, “Wolf Hollow,” filmed in and around McKeesport and North Versailles Twp.

The movie, which will premiere April 1 at Dormont’s Hollywood Theater, follows a group of filmmakers as they journey to the fictional location of “Wolf Hollow,” searching for an area to shoot a new film only to discover that they are surrounded by a family of werewolves and must fight for their survival.

 
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MLT’s ‘Deathtrap’ Worth More Than One Look

March 10, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of McKeesport Little Theater’s production of “Deathtrap,” from left in front, are Amy Melissen as Myra Bruhl and Andrew Lasswell as Sidney Bruhl. In back are Craig Soich as Porter Milgrim, Gavin Calgaro as Clifford Anderson, and Mandy Eckenrode as Helga ten Dorp. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac.)

If you go...

   

“Deathtrap”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.

When: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m., through March 19.

Tickets: Available through the MLT website, by calling the theater at 412-673-1100, or via onthestage.com.

McKeesport Little Theater’s upcoming production of “Deathtrap” definitely is a show-within-a-show thriller, but has so many twists and turns that even the most astute audience member easily could go see it a second time just to enjoy all the nuances.

There are only five characters in the whole play. As cast, they are Andrew Lasswell as Sidney Bruhl, Amy Melissen as his wife Myra Bruhl, Gavin Calgaro as Sidney’s student, Clifford Anderson, Mandy Eckenrode as psychic Helga ten Dorp, and Craig Soich as Porter Milgrim, Sidney’s friend and attorney.

Here’s a mini-synopsis, but if you plan to attend, don’t go looking up an official full synopsis and spoil the experience.

The entire two-act play is set in the Connecticut home of Sidney, a successful playwright. While he’s not completely down on his luck, he is experiencing a bit of writer’s block, which he is eager to overcome and move on to his next hit following a string of flops.

 
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Group With MLT Ties Presents ‘Romeo & Juliet’

January 13, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Madeline Sclichter as Juliet and Emma Perman as Romeo, seated at center, were surrounded by most of the cast of Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh's production of “Romeo and Juliet” on Jan. 7 as they wrapped up several months of rehearsals. They resumed tech week rehearsals at Carnegie Stage in Carnegie, where the production will be staged. (Submitted photo)

If you go...

   

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Presented by Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh

Where: Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie

When: Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10, available through our.show/yssprnj and the group’s website, youthshakespearepgh.org/romeoandjuliet

Those who enjoyed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work at McKeesport Little Theater last summer will have to travel a little bit farther to see another one of the group’s productions.

Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh, co-founded in 2019 by Ella Mizera and Theo Fantozzi to provide teens and young adults with performing, directing, and designing experience in Shakespeare productions, is in tech week rehearsals for its adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The show opens tonight, and runs through Sunday, with two evening and one matinee performance at Carnegie Stage.

Ella Craig, who portrayed Viola in YSSP’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which was performed at the McKeesport theater in June, has stepped up to direct the classic tragedy.

 
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‘Frozen Jr.’ Breezes Into MLT This Weekend

December 02, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” at McKeesport Little Theater takes a quick break from rehearsal. (Photo by Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...

   

Disney’s “Frozen Jr.”

Presented by McKeesport Little Theater Juniors

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.

When: Fridays and Saturdays Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m.; Sundays Dec. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $15 for adults and $10 for students. Available through the MLT website, by calling the theater at 412-673-1100, or via onthestage.com.

There are two special, pre-show activities requiring advance reservations set for Dec. 4 and Dec. 10, but spots are going quickly, as are tickets for the shows. The first is Olaf’s Character Brunch, and the second is a Coronation Day Ball. MLT management recommends those planning to attend should call the theater at 412-673-1100 for availability and pricing.

There’s a lot of pressure on the young performers in McKeesport Little Theater’s Juniors program as they undertake the latest production, which opens tonight (Dec. 3).

That’s because the show is Disney’s “Frozen Jr.,” with a storyline and songs familiar to audiences of all ages from the movie and Broadway production.

The most experienced performers with lead roles — and even director Dorothy Fallows, who has been in charge of the Juniors’ program and affiliated with McKeesport Little Theater for at least 30 years — said it’s definitely challenging to give audiences what they know and expect, while adapting the show to fit MLT’s unique venue and talents of the cast.

 
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New Director Puts Heart, Soul Into MLT’s ‘Rocky’

October 27, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, the photos on this story were incorrectly credited. They were supplied courtesy of Edward E. Bostedo Jr.

Jacob Hecht as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (center), makes his first appearance to his unexpected visitors Brad and Janet, while members of his household and others look on. His creation Rocky (Ayden Freed), has not yet been revealed at this point in McKeesport Little Theater's production of "The Rocky Horror Show." (Submitted photos courtesy of Edward E. Bostedo Jr.)

If you go...

   

“The Rocky Horror Show”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.
www.mckeesportlittletheater.com

When: All shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Oct. 28), Saturday (Oct. 29) and Sunday (Oct. 30).
 
Tickets: $25 for adults, or $30 with prop bag.

Recommended for ages 18 and older. Ages 17 or younger must be accompanied by an adult over 21.

Once Heather Atkinson found out McKeesport Little Theater had acquired the rights to “The Rocky Horror Show,” she knew she had to be part of it.

“I’ve been an avid ‘Rocky Horror’ fan most of my life,” she said.

That began when she and her father, who also is a big fan of the cult classic, went to a midnight viewing of the 1975 movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” She said she was approximately 12 years old at the time.

An avid performer at McKeesport Little Theater and other venues, Atkinson applied to direct “Rocky,” with veteran director Edward E. Bostedo Jr. as her mentor and director.

 
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Lively Tunes, Dance Shine in MLT’s ‘Newsies’

September 15, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News

From left, Anderson Miller as Les, Ayden Freed as Davey, Dylan Pal as Jack Kelly, and Camryn Hall as Katherine Plumber, rehearse a musical number from “Newsies.” (Photo by Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...

   

Disney’s “Newsies: The Broadway Musical”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.
www.mckeesportlittletheater.com

When: 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 16, Sept. 17, Sept. 23, Sept. 24, and matinees at 2 p.m. on Sundays Sept. 18 and Sept. 25
 
Tickets: $20 for adults and $12 for students, available through the website or by leaving reservation information at the theater

When Disney’s “Newsies: the Broadway Musical” opens at McKeesport Little Theater on Friday, Sept. 16, audiences will get to see the results of transforming a huge production to a community stage for an up-close-and-personal experience.

The Broadway version evolved from the 1992 film of the same name featuring a young Christian Bale as newsboy leader Jack Kelly. It is based on real events and people involved in the famous 1899 newsboys strike in New York.

The newsies peddled papers produced by media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The strike occurred when the publishers tried to change the way the young workers were compensated.

The show features lots of catchy tunes, likeable characters, and lively dance numbers. It’s been portrayed on the big movie screen, Broadway stages and national tours.

 
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