Summer Guide: Stage and Performance

Hello Dolly: Betty Buckley. Photo by Julieta Cervantes


Madea’s Farewell Play Tour. Tyler Perry’s character, Madea, has been featured in 10 films and made a ton of money. You can say goodbye to the old girl in person. Through May 15. (Benedum Center)


André. Billed as the first ‘truly American play,” this 1798 drama is based on the life and death of Benedict Arnold conspirator Major John André. Throughline Theater, through May 18. (Aftershock Theatre)


Indecent. Paula Vogel’s 2017 play that tells the true story of the controversy caused by a 1906 play entitled, God of Vengeance. Pittsburgh Public Theater, through May 19. (O’Reilly  Theater)


The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: This musical-comedy has catchy tunes, great characters and a little audience participation. Stage 62, through May 19. (Andrew Carnegie Library and Music Hall)


We Are Among Us. This world premiere from playwright Stephen Belber centers on a military contractor who returns home from Afghanistan to finally be with her young son when a reporter comes asking questions about a decade-old coverup. City Theatre, through June 2.




Billy Kidd: Bridging the Gap. This Canadian actress-turned-magician has been wowing audiences since she gave up acting to focus on magic. Whether performing close-up magic or an intricate escape, this enigmatic performer is one to watch. May 15-June 23. (Liberty Magic)


Top Girls. Set in the early 1980s, Marlene just got a big promotion at work and celebrates at a luncheon with her family and friends who time warp into famous women figures throughout history to tell a unique story. May 16-June 1. (Little Lake)


Dreams of Hope Presents Chasing Elevation. It’s 2064 and the earth has succumbed to the inevitable climate apocalypse. The story centers on a queer couple who find themselves facing much more than storms. The work is a creation and performance by theatriQ, Dreams of Hope’s performance ensemble. DOH provides youth in the LGBTQIA community with a welcoming environment to express themselves. May 17-19. (Kelly-Strayhorn)


Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School Pre-Professional Showcase 2019. PBT’s students spend three days performing works choreographed by the school’s faculty and the company’s dancers. May 17-19 (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)


Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This show is the orchestra’s Lincoln Center sendoff before it heads off to New York to perform Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. May 17. (Heinz Hall)


Spamilton: An American Parody. A spoof of the smash-hit Broadway show that shares almost the same name. May 16-Aug. 25. (Greer Cabaret Theater Center)


Bright Star. Inspired by a real event, this 2016 Broadway hit by Steven Martin and Edie Brickell tells a sweeping tale of love, family secrets and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. Front Porch Theatricals, May 17-26. (New Hazlett Theater)


Dear Evan Hansen. The smash Broadway musical about “living life and the way we live it” is part of the PNC Broadway Series. May 21-26. (Heinz Hall)


Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School Spring Performance. More than 200 of PBT’s student dancers will display their talents at the annual show. May 24-25. (Byham Theater)


Her Holiness, The Winter Dog. Part of the New Hazlett CSA program, this original opera, commissioned by Kamratron, is set in a not-so-far distant future where animals are extinct and revered as nearly mythological creatures. May 30-31. (New Hazlett)


Marjorie Prime. Jordan Harrison’s play about love, loss and the importance of memories, good and bad. May 30-June 30. (O’Reilly Theater)


Momentum Festival: New Plays at Different Stages. It’s the season-ending event at the City Theatre. Playwrights come here from around the country for workshops, readings and panels. May 30-June 2 (City Theatre)


Tchaikovsky’s Fourth. Tchaikovsky may be the headliner but the opening numbers on this night are equally impressive. Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen leads the first PSO performance of Pohjola’s Daughter. Then Italian piano virtuoso Beatrice Rana joins Inkinen on Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. May 31-June 2. (Heinz Hall)


Freeda Peoples. Joyce Sylvester’s comedy/drama is set in a church where the pastor, the congregants and everyone else find out they need to worry about their own problems before trying to fix someone else’s. (New Horizon Theater)




Bodiography Presents The Spring Concert. An evening of dance celebrating the growth of the student body at Bodiography School of Movement with classical and contemporary works. June 1. (Byham Theater)


pearlPRESENTS Dance Festival. A lineup of national and Pittsburgh-based dancers provide seven days of dance performances and masterclasses. Performers include, Staycee Pearl Dance Project, Sidra Bell Dance New York, slowdanger and Joy-Marie Thompson. June 3-9. (New Hazlett Theater)


Beethoven’s Ninth. Ludwig’s epic symphony will be led by PSO conductor Manfred Honeck and the orchestra will be joined by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and a “superstar cast of soloists.” The show opens with the world premiere performance of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon. June 6-9. (Heinz Hall)


It Had to Be You. Want to be a success in love and your career? Kidnap someone on Christmas Eve and watch the magic happen. South Park Theatre. June 6-22


The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde’s comedic masterpiece about courtships, loves and relationships. June 6-22. (Little Lake)


Grease. If you don’t know the plotline to Grease, we are very sorry for your horrible childhood. But you have time to right that wrong when Pittsburgh CLO presents the musical at the Benedum Center. June 7-16 (Benedum Center)


A Letter Compiled by All Letters. This innovative show is co-presented by th eNew Hazlett Theater to help artists graduate from emerging artist status to established. This wholly original show features artists from a number of mixed mediums. June 13-15. (New Hazlett Theater)


The Speckled Band. This is the only Sherlock Holmes play adapted for the stage by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. This little-seen play features actor David Whalen as Holmes and feature a top-notch ensemble around him. Kinetic Theatre, June 13-30 (Charity Randall Theater)


Titanic. This musical will be no small undertaking by Split Stage Productions, which prides itself on its complicated productions. June 14-22. (Lamp Theatre)


Oklahoma!. Everyone knows this Rodgers and Hammerstein Classic, right? It’s Oklahoma! “Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.” It runs for a week from the Pittsburgh CLO. June 21-30. (Benedum Center)


Nat & Natalie: Unforgettable. This PSO tribute to Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole is conducted by Byron Stripling and features vocalists Dee Daniels and Senzal Sinclaire. June 21-23. (Heinz Hall)


Mark Toland in Mind Reader. This mentalist out of Chicago has played to rave reviews nearly every place he’s played. It’s so good that Chicago’s WGN has exclaimed, “He must be the devil!” June 26-Aug. 4 (Liberty Magic)


Thorgy and the Thorchestra. Thorgy Thor from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the reigning “Queen of Classical Music,” joins the PSO for a night of classical music and comedy. Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts what may be the most adult-themed PSO show ever. June 27. (Heinz Hall)


Electra. This Greek drama is a classic tale of vengeance. June 27-July 14. (Little Lake)


Kaiju Big Battel. This Boston-based entertainment troupe has been doing these high-concept parodies of Lucha pro wrestling mixed with tokusatsu kaiju, a Japanese film style. Lots of costumes, lots of action, lots of fun. June 29. (Byham Theater)



The Love of Danae. This is the big season opener for Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Jupiter comes to earth to escape the jealous eyes of Juno so he can pitch woo, as the kids say. July 12. (


Heathers. A musical based on the very dark 1980s film Heathers seems a bit strange, which is precisely why we need to check it out. July 12-21 (Theatre Factory)


Mister Rogers’ Opera. Please don’t go expecting to see Lady Elaine Fairchild performing Rigoletto. But rather it’s two one-act operas composed by Fred Rogers, Windstorm in Bubblehead and Spoon Mountain. July 13-14, July 20, July 25. (Pittsburgh Festival Opera)


Mom’s Gift. Kat is forced to visit her dad on his birthday by the leader of her anger management program. She sees the whole family, including mom, who’s been dead for nearly a year. July 18-Aug. 3. (South Park Theatre)


The Vaudevillians. Another Rupaul’s Drag Race alum, Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) and Major Scales (Richard Andriessen) bring this rowdy, bold musical review to Pittsburgh for the first time. July 11-13. (O’Reilly Theater)


Scapino. A comedic twist on your favorite mafia films set in Naples … Florida. Kinetic Theatre, July 11-28. (Henry Heymann Theatre)


Peter Pan. “You can fly, you can fly. You can fly, you can fly. You can flyyyyyy!” Pittsburgh CLO, July 12-21. (Benedum Center)


Mamma Mia!. Here we go again. It’s a game of Who’s your daddy? set to the music of Abba. Stage 62, July 18-28. ( (Andrew Carnegie Library and Music Hall)


The Valkyrie. Wagner’s classic opera that is so famous, it was once parodied in a Bugs Bunny Cartoon! A seriously bad-ass opera perfect for opera-going veterans and newbies alike. July 19, 21, 27. Falk Auditorium


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Songs from the classic sci-fi picture performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony. July 19-21. (Heinz Hall)


Night Mother. Throughline Theatre examines the frailty of the human mind and body in the Pulitzer Prize winning drama. July 19-27. (Aftershock Theater)


SH!tfaced Shakespeare presents Romeo and Juliet. The Bard’s classic tale is brought to you by a group of highly skilled actors, except one of them gets piss-ass drunk each night of the show. July 20. (Byham Theater)


Degenerate Art Contest. A recital of music repressed in World War II-era Germany, both decadent and delicious, including works by Kurt Weill, Paul Dessau, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Franz Schreker and others, sung by members of the Young Professional Artists Program. Pittsburgh Festival Opera. July 23. (Pittsburgh Festival Opera)


Rock of Ages. Pittsburgh CLO brings this tale of music stardom and the infectiousness of Rock and Roll. July 23-28. (Benedum Center)


Once. This Tony Award winning musical charts the complicated love story of an Irish Busker, a Czechen woman and their love of music and each other. July 30-Aug. 4 (Benedum Center)



Everybody. Every night of this performance will be a different experience. The cast members performing that night is chosen by a lottery. You then follow the path of that group toward life’s greatest mysteries. Aug. 1-18. (12 Peers Theatre)


Hello Dolly. Betty Buckley is a Broadway legend and Hello Dolly is a legend of Broadway. It only makes sense that she’s at the helm of the classic revival. Aug. 6-11. (Benedum Center)


Eric Jones in Impossible. Magician Eric Jones stunned sold-out crowds with his close-up magic when he was the first magician-in-residence at Liberty Magic earlier this year. Now, he’s back for a second run. Aug. 7-Sept. 8. (Liberty Magic)


Cabaret. “Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome.” Take a trip back to the Kit Kat Club. Little Lake, Aug. 8-24.


Fun Home. This musical tells the story of a woman reconciling her childhood memories of her father with how she viewed him as an adult. Front Porch Theatricals, Aug. 16-25.



Disney’s The Lion King. PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh brings this musical back to Pittsburgh for a live performance that may have become over the years more famous than its animated counterpart. Sept. 4-29. (Heinz Hall)




Arcade Comedy. Weekly performances by Pittsburgh’s best improv actors. Some special events include, ACLU of Pennsylvania presents Laughs for Liberty, May 30; After Werk: A Drag Cabaret, June 14.


Byham Theater. Eddie Izzard, Wunderbar, May 28.


Burning Bridges Comedy Club. Thursday Open Mic, ongoing; Collin Chamberlin, May 25-26; The Roast of Jon Snow, June 1-2; Alex Stypula, June 8-9; Derek Sheen, June 15-16; Justin Thompson, May 22-23; Dante Powell, May 29-30; Pittsburgh’s Finest, Jul 26; Shuli Egar, Aug. 10.


Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. DC Young Fly and Friends, June 7; Seth Meyers (two shows), June 14; The Pat McAfee Show Does America, June 21; Patton Oswalt, July 14; Daniel Sloss, July 26.


Club Cafe. Opus One Comedy presents: James Phelps with T-RObe, Holl Price, Zachary Cieply, Suzanne Lawrence, Alex Stypula, Alonna Breisch and hosted by Vanessa St. Clair, June 7;

Greer Cabaret Theater. OngoingPittsburgh Improv Jam, every Thursday through Aug. 29.


Heinz Hall. #IMOMSOHARD–Mom’s Night Out Round 2


The Improv. Vinny Fasline, May 15; Harland Williams, May 16-19; The Hodgetwins, May 22; Fresh Drunk Stoned Comedy Tour, May 23; Lavell Crawford, May 24-26; Kierra Darshell’s Sunday Drag Brunch, May 26, Stone Cold and the Jackal Tour, May 28; Craig Shoemaker, May 30-June 1; Michael Blackson, June 14-15; Jay Mohr, June 21-23; Donnell Rawlings, June 28-30; Sommore, July 12-14; Dusty Slay, July 18-21. Paul Virzi, Aug. 15-18.


Lit and Lectures


Alphabet City. Free Association Reading Series, May 26; Stewart O’Nan, May 28; Corrine Jasmin, Stories That Heal, May 30; Edward Gauvin, Comics in Translation, June 10; Frances Bartkowski, June 11; Cave Canem Poets, June 13; Padma Venkatraman, YA series, June 15; Lisa Dillaman, Art of Translation series, June 24; Rob Rogers, June 25; Kristie Knights, Stories That Heal, June 27; Debut Novelists, July 15; Mary Norris, July 16.


August Wilson African American Cultural Center. Summer Youth Writing Camp, June 24.


Black Cat Market. Crystal Stone, May 25.


The Bridge Series (Ace Hotel). Brittany Hailer, Jill Khoury, Toi Derricotte and Bethlehem Haven, June 26.


Carnegie Library. Summer Reading Extravaganza Family Festival, June 9.


Chatham University. Dreamers Anthology Book Launch, May 23.


City Books. Valerie Nieman, June 1; Girls Write — Writing Action Series, June 30.


Congregation Beth Shalom.  Jonathan Weisman, (Semitism) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, May 15.


Full Pint Wildside Pub. Steel City Slam, May 28, June 11; Hell’s Lid Reading Series, June 2.


Gallery on Penn. Black Author’s Expo, May 18.


The Glitter Box. Writing Out of Self Harm, May 30.


Hemingway’s Cafe. Summer Poetry Series, May 14, May 21, May 28, June 11, June 18, June 25, July 2 and July 9.


Heinz History Center. Launched: the Life of Olympian Herb Douglas, May 30; Fredrik Longvall, Vietnam War Speaker Series, June 20.


Mt. Lebanon Library. Poetry Reading with Joan Rinaferrerelli, Joan Bauer & Joanne Samremy, May 18; Jack Hersch, June 19.


Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Laurel Houck book launch, May 23; Coffee & Crime with R.G. Belsky, June 1.  


Penguin Bookshop. Stephen Markley, June 3; Damon Young, June 8.


Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Michael Pollan, May 23; Adam Ehrlich Sachs, May 30; Neal Stephenson, June 17; James Patterson, June 27; Sigrid Nunez, September 23.


White Whale Bookstore. Megan Griswold, The Book of Help, May 17; Brooke Barker, Sad Animal Babies, May 23; Bright Burning Stars book launch, May 24; Anjali Sachdeva, June 21.


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