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Trust Culture

May 21, 2014 - Phyllis Sigal
There are so many events that take place in the Pittsburgh Cultural District it makes my head spin.

In fact so many, that I went to one last night (May 20) and WISH I could attend another tonight. But, unfortunately, timing just doesn't work.

If I lived in a beautiful loft overlooking the river in urban 'burgh, you better believe I'd be walking over to the Byham Theater tonight to see "Gene Kelly: The Legacy. An Evening With Patricia Ward Kelly.

While having dinner last night at Christos Mediterranean Grill on Sixth St., a tall, striking woman walked in alone. For some reason, it jogged my memory that I had received an email about the Gene Kelly show, set for TONIGHT (May 21).

Then it hit me: She was Patricia Kelly, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Pasadena, Calif., when my family and I were visiting former Wheeling Symphony Conductor Rachael Worby several years ago. My son, Leland, had met Patricia a few years before that when he was a CLO Mini Star, performing the opening number for the Gene Kelly Awards show — which is sort of a Tony Awards show for high school students. That event is set for this weekend.

And now, Patricia — who was married to Gene from 1990 until his death in 1996 — is on the road with her show.

She told me the show will provide audience-goers with an intimate glimpse of the legendary dancer, director and choreographer who was born in 1912 in Pittsburgh. She will share video and audio clips of him never before seen or heard, she said. She'll also share stories about him that many have never heard.

“I am very happy to be bringing the show to Gene’s hometown of Pittsburgh,” she said, in a press release provided by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “So much of who Gene was and what he accomplished is rooted here in his steel town upbringing and in the upheaval that he and his family experienced during the Great Depression. The theaters and movie houses that Gene frequented as a young boy (including The Byham in its previous incarnations) played an important role in his creative development, so it is an honor — and a kind of coming full circle — to bring his Legacy to the place where it all began.”

It sounds like a wonderful evening, one that I am sorry I can't attend. But if YOU can, visit or call 412-456-6666.

After I said goodbye to Patricia last night, we headed over to Heinz Hall to see the Tony Award-winner "Peter and the Starcatcher," a "swashbuckling grownup prequel to Peter Pan."

It was hilarious. I expected a children's play that had something to do with Peter Pan. It was so much more than that ... very Monty Pythonesque, I thought. And the "Oh My God" scene ... well, I've got to hand it to "Black Stache," he really had us in stitches — and if you see the show, you'll get those puns! The scenery was amazing; the characters fun. It was funny yet touching, with raucous laughter and a few sentimental moments.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" will be at Heinz Hall through May 25. This is the final show of the 2013-14 PNC Broadway Across America Pittsburgh season.

And as I said at the beginning, there's enough Pittsburgh Cultural Trust events to keep you busy every night of the week:

• "Noises Off" at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, May 29-June 29 • The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Tony Awards Viewing Party, Cabaret at Theater Square, June 8 • Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 6-15 • Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, June 20-22 • Gallery Crawl, July 11 • "Cash, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash," CLO Cabaret, opening May 22 • Pittsburgh CLO presents "Singing in the Rain," May 30-June 8; "Legally Blonde," June 13-22; "Footloose, June 24-29; "Evita," July 8-13; "Cats, July 18-27; and "Spamalot," July 29-Aug. 3.

Then there's wine and beer events, close to a dozen visual art galleries, and after-show events such as the Pittsburgh Improv Jam, Salsa Fridays and the Cabaret Series.

And in the fall, the big seasons begin: Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Dance Council, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and PNC Broadway Across America.

Are you cultured out yet? Me neither. I just wish I had more hours in the day!

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