Theater Review | "Angels in America" Lands in Pittsburgh

Throughline Theater's clever and awakening adaptation of Tony Kushner's two part masterpiece, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," is a refreshing emphasis on political, personal and spiritual issues that seem to dwell in most of us.  Set in mid-1980's New York City, during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, "Angels" is a raw and moving story that focuses on a collection of characters bound together by fate, imagination and moral choice. Each one suffering through their own crisis which creates a rippling effect of experiences and encounters with one another.

Henry (Joe Michnya) and Roy Cohn (Mark Yochum) discuss Roy's "condition" 
The characters are complied of: a young gay couple, Louis (Ben Edelman) and Prior (Nick Browne) dealing with the effects of AIDS and relationship abandonment, a Mormon couple, Joe Pitt (Tom Kolos) who is dealing with a very private identity crisis and his pill addicted oblivious wife Harper (Elizabeth Chappel) who hallucinates beautiful and vivid scenarios, the wise-talking big shot lawyer Roy Cohn (Mike Yochum) who is taken down a couple notches by his own ill fate, the fabulous and dynamic Belize (Monteze Freeland) who is a friend of Louis and Pryor's and also a nurse, and of course the groundbreaking angel who bursts into the scene with all her glory and might.

Harper Pitt (Elizabeth Chappel) and Joe Pitt (Tom Kolos) having a moment
The show is split into two parts: Millenium Approaches and Perestroika.  I had the pleasure of seeing Millennium Approaches last Friday at the Grey Box Theater in Lawrenceville. The power of the show was amplified by the simple yet very intimate set up of the stage.  Sheets and dangling light bulbs are all that was needed to create an ethereal and mystical setting, where the stage is floor level and so are the seats;  so you are literally on the same level as the characters in the show.

Belize (Monteze Freeland) pays a visit to a sick Prior (Nick Browne)
There are moments where you are cracking up from it's dry humor, moments where you feel scared and empathetic towards the characters, moments of purposeful confusion, and moments of deep sadness. There is a little bit of everything in this show - even spoken Hebrew!   Part 1: Millennium Approaches ends on a cliff hanging note, leaving you yearning for an ending, an explanation or some kind of closure, making it necessary to see Perestroika.

Louis (Ben Edelman) and Prior (Nick Browne) 
 Angels in America: Perestroika will open today (6/12) at 8 PM and have two additional performances: Friday, 6/13 at 8 PM and showing both parts on Saturday, 6/14 at 8 PM followed by Throughline's 5 year anniversary party at Del's Bar & Ristorante in Bloomfield between both parts.

 Tickets for the full-day event are $50, but tickets to only one show (either one) and the celebration can be purchased for $35.  Tickets for any regular performance of the show are $15, or $12 for students with valid ID and seniors. 

To find out more about Throughline Theater visit their website: www.throughlinetheatre.org

* please be advised - there is foul language and brief nudity in the show - so leave the kids at home*


5 Things | Father's Day

Father's Day is this Sunday!  If you're still thinking of what to get Dad, trying thinking outside the tie-rack! This year, give him the gift of experience with these 5 fun ideas for any kind of guy!

1: Relax at a cigar lounge

Located in Lawrenceville, Cigar Den offers a large variety of cigars as well as multiple rooms to lounge, converse and enjoy your cigar.  It has a classic, gentlemen's feel without the membership and snooty attitude.  Take your dad here to relax and puff on a fine cigar - there's even refreshments, a patio and a grill for your use if you feel so inclined! Click here for more!

2: Take him for an old school shave

They might not say it, but men love to be pampered just as much as women do!  So while you can go ahead and get Dad the same boring electric shaver and shaving cream combo, taking him to get a nostalgic lather and straight razor shave might just be what he needs.  Mister Grooming & Goods in Lawrenceville provides ta menu of very specific cuts and shaves geared toward men. Treat him to a "Sweeny Todd" and you just might win "Kid of the Year."

3: Get him some "Man Food"

It's Summer, it's Father's Day, ditch the green juice and quinoa for your ol' man just for a day and get some real, rib-stickin, mouth-watering man food.  Try Union Pig & Chicken in East Liberty for big portions of BBQ'd goodness, complete with homestyle sides and a great selection of beer.

4: Feed his Inner Pyro

Is he the kind of guy that HAS to build the fire at camp?  Get him an IncinerGrate by FIREase and he might never come inside.  This device helps hold up wood and maintain a fire by creating an "ember core" in the center.  Better bust out the hot dogs and marshmallows now, this thing will have you sitting around a fire all summer long! Learn more about IncinderGrate and other FIREase products here.

5: Have an Outdoor Adventure

Get in touch with the great outdoors (or city rivers), and take him kayaking!  It's a great workout, scenic, pretty calming and lots of fun!  Kayak Pittsburgh has some great (and affordable) options for group tours and solo trips, they also provide bike rentals in case you'd like to stay on the ground. Check out Kayak Pittsburgh here.


Monday Spotlight | Richard Claraval: Abstract Expressionist Opens "Mythological Gestures" Show

Jupiter and Io by Richard Claraval

Award winning charcoal on paper artist, Richard Claraval, has always been inspired by the Renaissancesque human figure when creating Abstract Expressionist gestures.   His drawings express the realistic free flowing movements of the human body fused with dynamic forms and figures; the real versus the unimaginable. In his upcoming show "Mythological Gestures," Claraval takes the godly forms of traditional mythological characters, as well as characters of J.R.R Tolkien, and pairs it with a unique abstract twist .  

"The highly imaginative “supernatural” and archetypal elements of myths, which are in sense abstractions, as well as the monsters and exotic chimeras, lend themselves to an abstract gestural mode of interpretation. As well, the ability of many of the characters to do impossible things such as fly and become invisible fit well my interest in depicting the figure in very dynamic and sometimes impossible poses."  - Richard Claraval


Mythological Gestures: Contemporary Figurative Charcoal Drawings on Old Subject

  June 1 - June 30  The Spinning Plate Gallery 
5821 Baum Blvd. 15206

Saturday    June 14   7pm-10pm

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