Sharing their perspectives on their roles in "Mamma Mia!", seated, are Kaitlyn Majewski as Donna Sheridan and Cooper Kuchma, who plays bass guitar. Standing, from left, are Nya O'Neil as Tanya, Collin Klein as Bill Austin, Leila Wertz from the ensemble, Jonah Higdon as Sky, and Autumn Tavaglione as Sophie Sheridan. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)
If you go...
Where: McKeesport Area High School Auditorium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.
When: Opens Thursday, March 31 and continues Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m., with a Saturday, April 2 matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Available via firstname.lastname@example.org, or presale at the high school through Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 and noon to 1:30, and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.
“Mamma Mia,” McKeesport Area High School’s spring musical, was selected as a fun, upbeat experience for students and audience alike.
“The team chose this show before auditions,” co-producer Sarah Persin said. “We knew we wanted to do something really fun and really upbeat. COVID interfered with our shows for the last two years, so we wanted to be sure this year’s show was a real hit.”
The musical is based on songs by ABBA, woven into a storyline set on a Greek island as 20-year-old Sophie Sheridan and her mother Donna Sheridan are making final preparations for her wedding.
Sophie, on a quest to find her father so he can walk her down the aisle, stumbles upon her mother’s diary from the year she was born. In it are details suggesting three possibilities, so she invites them all, without telling Donna.
Nora Keleschenyi (Katherine), Austin Phelan (Bill), Colby Miller (Jack Kelly), and Kason Sciullo (Romeo) rehearse a scene from the musical “Newsies.” (Kristen Keleschenyi photo special to Tube City Almanac)
If you go...
Where: East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School, 1150 Jacks Run Rd, North Versailles, PA 15137
When: April 7–9 with shows each night at 7:30 p.m. along with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 9.
Disney’s “Newsies” will mark the first “post-pandemic” musical performance at East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School. It has been an interesting journey these past two years to raise the curtain on spring musicals.
“Awesome 80’s Prom,” a play adapted to include musical vignettes, was performed in the outdoor court of the junior-senior high school in April of 2021.
“A Pirate’s Tale,” the show originally planned for 2020 but was cancelled, was performed just a few months after Prom with masks required and auditorium seating in every other row. (Many of the students who were originally cast in “A Pirate’s Tale” returned for the show including a number of 2021 graduates.)
A mixed cast of McKeesport Little Theater veterans and newcomers to that venue are in final rehearsals for the comedic mystery "Exit the Body." Missing from the photo is Cory Sigler. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)
When: Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m., with a special Thursday show at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, then Friday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m.
Bright sets and colorful costumes reflect the enthusiasm of young actors — veterans and newcomers alike — as they take the stage for McKeesport Little Theater Juniors’ production of “Seussical,” which opens Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Although adult productions have resumed, this is the first time the Juniors have performed as a group since their 2020 show, “Into the Woods.”
The family-friendly show features familiar Dr. Seuss characters as the Cat in the Hat (Jonah Higdon) narrates the tale of Horton the Elephant (Dylan Stramaski), and his adventures as he tries to save a population of tiny Who people living in a speck of dust on a clover.
Lori Stramaski and Amy Majewski teamed up to co-produce “Seussical,” under the leadership of Dorothy Fallows as director. Their children, Dylan and Kaitlyn, senior members of the Juniors, not only have lead roles, but took on the task of choreographing the show.
Strains of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” greeted visitors to Serra Catholic High School as the band prepared for a playoff football game — while also getting in some practice for McKeesport’s Salute to Santa Parade.
The band is seeking alumni — even those who have not picked up a flag or an instrument in years — to march along with current students in this Saturday’s parade.
It was also a time to reminisce and celebrate a successful competition season, where the group was named the 2021 Tournament of Bands Western Expansion Region Group 1A champions for “El Matador.”
“I am unbelievably proud of them,” band director Jesse Bush said. “I couldn’t be happier with how they performed this season.”
When:Evening performances Friday, Nov. 12, and Saturday, Nov. 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. Dinner at 6:30, show at 8. Matinees Saturday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 14. Lunch at 12:30 p.m. and show at 2 p.m.
Tickets:$25 for show and meal. Reservations must be made online by Wednesday, Nov. 10. Do not call the theater to reserve.
Tickets purchased after 1 p.m. for matinees and after 7 p.m. for evening performances will be $15 for the show only. Those tickets can be purchased at the box office.
A cabaret-like atmosphere will welcome guests to McKeesport Little Theater’s fundraising show, “All Together Now!” that runs for four performances on Friday, Nov. 12 through Sunday, Nov. 14.
With Edward Bostedo at the helm as director, the performances are part of Music Theatre International’s global event celebrating local theatre that weekend.
As is happening in theaters around the world, “All Together Now!” at MLT will feature songs from a variety of MTI’s extensive collection. They include “Newsies,” “Mama Mia!”, “Junie B. Jones, the Musical,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Sister Act” and others.
“It’s a cabaret-style, very classy show,” Bostedo said. “There will be sheer curtains on the stage with lights, and dinner or lunch prior to the performances.”
Serra Marching Band student leaders are, in front from left, drum major Abigail Bernick, tenor sax soloist Maigen McGinty, and flute soloist and heroine Paige Rock. In back are Joe Crossen, drum major, trumpet soloist, and matador; bass clarinet soloist Jordan Premozic; and color guard captain Madalyn Peairs.
Surprises and finishing touches still were being tweaked as Serra Catholic High School’s marching band students and adult personnel completed the first week of camp for “El Matador” on Aug. 13.
“This year’s show is about a matador who falls in love with a beautiful lady in the crowd,” band director Jesse Bush said. “There is of course a bullfight in the show, and hopefully a really awesome ending that I don’t want to spoil.”
Drum major Joe Crossen has a trumpet solo. In addition to his musical talents, he’s tasked with bringing the story of the matador to life.
A giant sun prop stage in the middle of the field will be featured when McKeesport Area High School Marching Band kicks off its 2021 season with a return to competitions, festivals, and home and away football game performances.
“We wanted it to be exciting, festive, happy, a celebration of life,” band director Drew DeCarlo said of the “SOLARbration!” theme.
Band booster Mark St. Clair designed the sun prop, with painting by Anna Chapell.
A trailer for the show in May on the band’s YouTube site showcased how different cultures throughout history have celebrated the sun. “After last year (with COVID-related performance restrictions and other difficulties), we wanted something very different,” DeCarlo said. “There is a lot of percussion, even a rainforest-like sound.”
Cast and crew of “Massacre Academy” celebrate the film’s premiere at the Lamp Theater in Irwin. (Sarah Turnbull photo for Tube City Almanac)
When director Mark Cantu was deciding on a topic for his next movie, horror seemed like the perfect choice.
“I’m a child of the ‘80s. I made my own horror movies as a kid, and the slasher films of that era have everything I loved as a kid, like practical special effects and strong female characters,” Cantu said. “It’s easy to do when you have classics like “Halloween”, “Jaws”, and “Alien” to go off of.”
Cantu’s latest film, horror-comedy “Massacre Academy,” made its world premiere at the Lamp Theatre in Irwin on Saturday. Filmed in and around McKeesport, the cast and crew consist mostly of locals.