Highly Requested ‘Beast’ Comes to Serra Stage

April 27, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Members of the cast of Serra Catholic’s “Beauty and the Beast” rehearse the entertaining “Gaston” dance scene. (Photo courtesy Serra Catholic High School)

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Serra Catholic High School presents:
“Beauty and the Beast”

Where: School gymnasium, 200 Hershey Drive, McKeesport

When: Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $8 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.

With the available talent of this year’s Serra Catholic High School musical cast, director Jesse Bush said it seemed appropriate to grant a request.

“‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been highly requested over the years,” Bush said. “This seems like the right year to perform it.”

A full house is anticipated for each performance of the family-friendly show, which opens at 7 p.m. this Friday (April 29) at the school along Hershey Drive in McKeesport. It continues at 1 and 7 p.m. April 30, with a concluding matinee at 2 p.m. May 1.

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New Play Has Strong McKeesport Ties

April 04, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Frances Dell Bendert as Mom and Bailey Lee as herself rehearse a scene from "Papa." (Coleman Ray Clark photo courtesy New Hazlett Theater)

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‘Papa’ by Bailey Lee

Where: New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, Pittsburgh

When: 8 p.m. April 7; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. April 8

Tickets: General admission $25, artists $15 with promo code, students $15 with valid ID. (412) 320-4610 or at www.newhazletttheater.org

An original play with strong ties to the McKeesport area is making its world debut this Thursday at the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh.

Papa” is the story of Hall Lee, who came to the United States from the farmlands of China when he was approximately 15 years old, settling and living most of his life along Jenny Lind Street in McKeesport.

Bailey Lee, his granddaughter, wrote the play, created the concept, and stars as herself in the production. It’s about things her grandfather suppressed to protect the family and assimilate into American culture, plus the sometimes complicated relationship among three generations of Asian Americans, Lee said.

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‘Mamma Mia!’ at MAHS a Fun, Upbeat Show

March 29, 2022 |

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

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)

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‘Mamma Mia!’

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 mckmusical@gmail.com, 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.

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EA Welcomes First Post-Pandemic Musical

March 29, 2022 |

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

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)

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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.

Tickets: easd.Booktix.com.

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.)

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’60s Farce Returns Laughs to MLT Stage

March 11, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

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)

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‘Exit the Body’

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.

When: March 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

Tickets: 412-673-1100 or at mckeesportlittletheater.com

When a successful mystery writer rents a cottage in New England for a change of scenery while seeking inspiration for her next novel, the result isn’t exactly what she anticipated.

That’s the situation Kacie Greenlief as novelist Crane Hammond finds herself in as she makes her McKeesport Little Theater debut in “Exit the Body.”

Written by Fred Carmichael, it premiered in 1961, which led to some decisions whether to update to 2022 for the MLT production.

Ultimately, the show that opens Friday (March 11) and continues March 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20, remains set in 1961, including using a rotary phone to dial “0” to reach the operator.

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Juniors Return to MLT Stage With ‘Seussical’

January 11, 2022 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Dylan Stramaski plays Horton in the MLT Juniors’ production of “Seussical.” The show opens this Friday. (Submitted photo courtesy Jennifer R. Vertullo, McKeesport Little Theater)

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MLT Juniors present “Seussical”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.

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.

Tickets: 412-673-1100 or at mckeesportlittletheater.com

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.

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Serra Band Celebrates Successes, Seeks Alumni

November 16, 2021 |

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

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.”

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MLT Presents Musical Cabaret This Weekend

November 08, 2021 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment


(Submitted photo courtesy McKeesport Little Theater)

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Musical Theatre International’s “All Together Now! A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.

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.”

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Serra Band Show Has Romantic, Spanish Flavor

August 16, 2021 |

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

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.

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Tiger Band’s Fall Show a Ray of Sunshine

August 16, 2021 |

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

Some of the Tiger Band musicians prepare to step off during a short break from intermittent heavy rain during their annual camp. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

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“SOLARbration!” parent and public preview night

Where: Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium
At McKeesport Area High School

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 26

More information: Twitter and Facebook

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.”

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