Serra Band’s Shows Will Have French Flair

August 19, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Serra Catholic marching band members focus on drills while perfecting their playing during camp. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac.)

This year's field shows by the Serra Catholic High School marching band will have a bit of Continental flare.

The band was initially considering a field show that would be themed around foods, but that evolved into a focus on France, said Jesse Bush, marching band director, whose students will be playing and even dancing to tunes ranging from “Work Song/At the End of the Day” from “Les Miserables” to the “Can-Can.”

“Each song in the show represents something from France,” Bush said, with solos by instrumentalists and color guard members.

“I think it’s a very fun show for us to do and, with the French theme, is more theatrical than last year,” said color guard senior Anna Osinski, who is featured as a revolutionary in the excerpt from “Les Miserables.” “The guard girls are playing different parts and there’s a guitar with the pit.”

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'Love, Loss' at MLT Explores Clothing's Role in Triggering Memories

June 25, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Rehearsing for "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," a benefit to support McKeesport Little Theater, in front from left, are Nancy Batko and April Ohms. In back are Megan May, Lynne Franks, and Kendra McLaughlin. (Photo: Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


“Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.

When: 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 29; 2 p.m. June 30

Tickets: All seats are $15. Reservations at (412) 673-1100.

Sometimes the clothes we wore for a special occasion – the prom, our wedding, a funeral – or even that highly anticipated first date that turned out to be a total disaster – trigger memories long after the events themselves have faded.

When McKeesport Little Theater veteran Rose-Lorene Miller read the play “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” by Nora and Delia Ephron, based on a book by Ilene Beckerman, she insisted her friend Linda Baker read it, too.

Baker, who has been affiliated with the community theater in key roles for years, said she liked it so much that she proposed producing it as a benefit. The show runs Friday through Sunday, June 28-30.

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MAHS' 'Addams Family' is Quirky, Creepy Fun

April 11, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Cast of "The Addams Family" musical awaits opening night at McKeesport Area High School. (Photo courtesy of producer Carolyn Carreiro)

If you go...


McKeesport Area High School presents “The Addams Family”

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

When: 7:30 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13, plus a matinee at 2 p.m. April 13

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, available at the high school 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Fans of the original “Addams Family” TV show or subsequent movies may find it difficult to believe the story could be updated and made into – of all things – a musical.

But it has, and McKeesport Area High students are ready to bring their interpretation of its quirky and sometimes macabre characters such as Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, and even their extended family of living relatives and ancestors to the high school stage April 11, 12 and 13.

All versions are based on characters from cartoons by Charles Addams that appeared in the New Yorker.

In the musical, little Wednesday is all grown up and has fallen in love – with Lucas Beineke from a “normal” family from Ohio.

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Pittsburgh Premiere of ‘Bright Star’ Will Light EA’s Stage

April 08, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment, North Versailles Twp. News

Musicians join actors onstage in this moveable house during East Allegheny's "Bright Star," with bluegrass/country music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

If you go...


East Allegheny High School presents “Bright Star”
Where: 1150 Jacks Run Road, North Versailles Twp.
When: 7:30 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. April 13
Tickets: $12 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens for the evening performances. All tickets are $6 for the matinee. Available at the main office in the high school, by calling (412) 824-8012, or will be sold at the box office beginning 45 minutes before each performance. Additional show information at

“Laugh, cry, and find your way home again,” is the tagline director/producer Amanda Rosco suggested as a way for East Allegheny students to explain the essence of this year’s musical, “Bright Star.”

Written and composed by Steve Martin -- comedian, actor, musician, author, playwright and producer -- and Edie Brickell, the musical is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina just after World War II, with flashbacks to 1923.

The music is a mixture of bluegrass and country, and grew out of their collaboration on “Love Has Come for You,” a 2013 Grammy-winning bluegrass album with Brickell’s lyrics and singing and Martin on banjo.

“Bright Star” opened on Broadway in 2016, and was nominated for a number of awards.

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Serra’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ is a Family Affair

April 03, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Dancers rehearse a tap number, under the direction of Serra graduate Cassie Fedor, who returned to her alma mater to choreograph the show. (David P. Adams photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

If you go...

“The Wizard of Oz”
Serra Catholic High School
200 Hershey Drive (Haler Heights)
7 p.m. April 3-6

Tickets: $8 for adults, $5 for students, available by calling the school office at 412-751-2020, or at the door.

If Dorothy Gale had as many family connections as the cast, crew -- and even the director -- have called upon to help produce Serra Catholic High School’s spring musical, she may never have left Kansas.

In “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens today and runs through April 6, siblings are cast as leads, a Serra grad returns as choreographer and gets to work with her brother, while Ryan Gedman’s brother creates his Tinman costume and paints sets.

Although Alani and Abby DiLonardo have performed in previous Serra musicals, this is the first time they have shared some serious stage time.

Alani is Dorothy, while Abby is the Cowardly Lion. Savino DiLonardo is part of the elementary ensemble.

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Family-Friendly 'Shrek Jr.' Takes Stage in Elizabeth

March 21, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Dylan Stramaski as Shrek and Lexie Dubos as Fiona are featured in Mon River Arts' production of "Shrek the Musical Jr." at the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth. (Submitted photos courtesy Alexis Hawk)


If you go...

"Shrek the Musical Jr." (based on the DreamWorks movie)
Directed by Kathy Hawk
March 21-24
7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

The Grand Theatre, 206 Plum St., Elizabeth
Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Reserved seating.

More information: or 412-405-8425

The family-friendly story of a guy just trying to find a little peace and quiet and protect his home – or rather swamp – complete with a cast of storybook characters comes to the Grand Theatre stage in Elizabeth through “Shrek the Musical Jr.”

Familiar to audiences of all ages through the animated DreamWorks film and Broadway musical, the story of an ogre named Shrek and the princess Fiona blossoms under the guidance of Kathy Hawk as director of the Mon River Arts youth theater production, which opens tonight and continues through Sunday (March 24).

Hawk, a music teacher in Baldwin-Whitehall School District, is a veteran director, musical director, and performer in various community theater ventures.

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Durang's 'Bathwater' at MLT is a Farce With Plenty to Ponder

March 14, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

John (Andrew Wolf) and Helen (Randi Ippolito) have a different approach to bringing up their baby as they adjust to their new roles as parents.

If you go...

"Baby With The Bathwater" by Christopher Durang
(This show contains adult language and subject matter)
March 15-24
McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: Start at $10 each for groups of 10 or more; regular adult tickets, $15

More information: or (412) 673-1100

What happens when a child raised female by well-meaning, unprepared parents who were “too polite” to check the child’s actual gender grows up and becomes a parent himself?

It’s a predicament tackled in McKeesport Little Theater’s production of Christopher Durang’s “Baby with the Bathwater,” which premiered March 31, 1983. The comedy, full of farce and satire, provides audiences with plenty to ponder.

Directed by Dan J. Kirk and produced by Phillip Boatright, the show features a small cast, many who worked together previously, and some in multiple roles. It opens March 15 and runs weekends through March 24.

The audience first meets the baby, eventually named Daisy as a toddler, when parents Andrew Wolf as John and Randi Ippolito as his wife Helen bring their newborn home from the hospital.

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Connick's 'Happy Elf' Offers Holiday Fun for Kids at MLT

December 05, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Cast members of "The Happy Elf" rehearse a scene. (Photo courtesy of McKeesport Little Theater Juniors)

If You Go:

Harry Connick Jr.’s “The Happy Elf”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St., McKeesport, 15132

When: Dec. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12 for adults, $7 for children 12 years and younger.  Reservations at (412) 673-1100.

Santa will be taking a break from all his duties at the North Pole to spend some more time in the old Tube City as he meets and greets patrons of all ages – and even has lunch with some of them – when McKeesport Little Theater Juniors present “The Happy Elf.”

A musical creation by Grammy Award-winning composer and lyricist Harry Connick Jr., “The Happy Elf” features Eubie, who has set his sights on becoming part of Santa’s sleigh team.

His extremely bubbly personality actually rubs some the wrong way, and he finds himself assigned to checking the naughty-or-nice lists instead.

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Half-Century Later, 'Hair' Remains Relevant at MLT

November 01, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of McKeesport Little Theater's production of "Hair," which opens Friday. (David P. Adams photo special to Tube City Almanac)

If You Go: “Hair”

McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St., (412) 673-1100
When: Nov. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
Ticket information: or

Most of the cast of McKeesport Little Theater’s production of “Hair” knew very little about the musical – except maybe a popular song or two – when they were offered their roles.

At the center of the original musical, co-written by Pittsburgh native Gerome Ragni and James Rado, were issues surrounding the war in Vietnam, with a country deeply divided about the conflict and what America’s role should be.

But after researching and rehearsing since September, cast members came to agree with director Edward Bostedo that issues presented in the rock musical when it premiered in 1967 remain relevant.

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Dark Comedy 'Sordid Lives' Brings Plenty of Laughs at MLT

September 13, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of McKeesport Little Theater's season-opening "Sordid Lives" rehearses a scene from the funeral of Peggy Ingram, whose unexpected death prompts some soul-searching among family members and friends. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

A comedy --- albeit a dark one --- is sure to bring plenty of laughs to the audience as McKeesport Little Theater kicks off its 58th season with a strong ensemble cast in “Sordid Lives.”

If the title sounds somewhat familiar, it probably is. Del Shores originally wrote “Sordid Lives” as a play, then directed an independent film with the same name in 2000, followed by a television series in 2008 called “Sordid Lives: The Series.”

Producer Anthony Gomez, who also is president of McKeesport Little Theater’s board of directors, said “Sordid Lives” is all about family and acceptance.

The play is set in Winters, Texas, and was nominated for more than 30 awards. Family matriarch Peggy Ingram, known in the community as an upright, Christian woman, dies in an unfortunate accident when she trips over her lover’s wooden legs and hits her head, causing quite a stir.

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