oSP Show Notes 11-8-2021

In today’s post:

  • Pittsburgh Opera’s Largest Gift
  • Kara Spotlight Cabaret Features Local Musical Theater Artists
  • Adam Pascal at First Night
  • It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play
  • Liberty Magic in December
  • Lavender Terrace at the New Hazlett

Pittsburgh Opera announces the largest individual gift in the company’s 83-year history – a $5MM gift from Pittsburgh Opera Board Member, tech entrepreneur, and real estate developer Francois Bitz

Bitz, who co-founded FORE Systems Inc, has been called one of “the first superstars of Pittsburgh’s tech renaissance.” He is currently building the Penn 23 condo project in the Strip District, across the street from Pittsburgh Opera’s Headquarters.

“A gift of this magnitude has transformational implications for Pittsburgh Opera,” says General Director Christopher Hahn. “In recognition and deep appreciation, we are naming our Strip District headquarters the Bitz Opera Factory. The new name nicely refers to the building’s past life as the Westinghouse Air Brake Factory while acknowledging its present role as a vibrant center for the creation of opera.”

“I have always been inspired and intrigued by the power opera has to bring great stories and great music together, said Bitz. “My hope is that my gift will encourage others to follow my example to strongly support this world-class organization. Pittsburgh Opera adds immeasurably to our region’s famous quality of life and helps to attract the many talented and creative workers the city needs to continue to progress and thrive.” 

Bitz’s gift is part of Pittsburgh Opera’s $50MM Comprehensive Campaign called Forever which has already raised $23.4MM of its $50MM goal. The campaign’s objectives are to: Promote Pittsburgh Opera’s cornerstones of Art, Community, and Resilience, Make Pittsburgh Opera a model of entrepreneurship and inclusion, Secure Pittsburgh Opera’s place as a cultural treasure for future generations.

People can contribute to Forever online at pittsburghopera.org/forever

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced the performers who will be showcased in the Kara Spotlight Series of local musical theater artists, at the Greer Cabaret Theater, Downtown. 

Allan Snyder (Nov. 19-21) opens the series, followed by Billy Mason (Nov. 26-28), Caroline Nicolian (Dec. 3-5), Christine Laitta (Dec. 10-12) and Drew Leigh Williams (Dec. 17-19). Proof of vaccination, photo ID and masks required (more info at TrustArts.org/Welcome). Tickets: https://trustarts.org/production/77239/kara-spotlight-series or call 412-456-6666.

First Night Pittsburgh’s Williams Sing Off announces guest Judge

Adam Pascal was in Pittsburgh most recently as the swaggering William Shakespeare in the touring musical Something Rotten! (2017), and in concert with his Rent costar, Anthony Rapp (2019). He returns as the star of the Pretty Woman tour Feb. 1-6, 2022, but first, he will help ring in the new year as a guest judge for the Williams Sing-Off Competition, an annual Cultural Trust event at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Dozens of aspiring musical artists audition to become a finalist in the competition. The winner is given the opportunity to perform live on New Year’s Eve, among other prizes. Details: TrustArts.org/SingOff.

The Pittsburgh Savoyards continue their 84th season with a Savoyards Studio Production of Joe Landry’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

Brought to life by Director Sue Kurey, the production is set to run November 26 – December 11 at the Pittsburgh Savoyards’ Headquarters, 523 Lincoln Ave, Bellevue, PA.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is based on the classic holiday movie with a clever twist thrown in: the story is staged as a live radio broadcast. Actors portray numerous characters, and sound effects are done through Foley artists. It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast to continue living. It will take help from a lovable angel to show George what life would be like if he wasn’t born for George to have a change of heart and understand the true spirit of the holidays.

General admission tickets will be available for $15 each at: https://www.pittsburghsavoyards.org/wordpress/tickets or at the box office. Admission will follow Pittsburgh Cultural District Covid-19 safety protocols.

Liberty Magic in December: Siegfried Tieber’s Sixty-Seven Keys

Storyteller and magician Siegfried Tieber uses sleight of hand, magic, and illusion to guide his audience through an unlikely journey unlocked by a single key selected by each night’s audience. Inspired by The Seven Keys to Baldpate – a book written in 1913 about a man who visits a secluded inn to find some peace and quiet only to be distracted by six other characters who also have keys to his chamber. Sixty-Seven Keys presents its own set of obstacles to overcome as mysteries unfold. What happens when the choice of one single key unlocks an evening of unimaginable possibilities? For tickets visit https://trustarts.org/production/76413/list_performances

Natasha Thompson‘s Lavender Terrace December 2 & 3 at the New Hazlett

Lavender Terrace is a multi-media performance that explores Marita Boner’s The Purple Flower, published in 1928. This new play tells the story of marginalized and oppressed people fighting for the right to have life at its fullest over the last eighty years in America. Lavender Terrace progresses through time, beginning in the late twenties and landing in an obscured but familiar representation of the present day.For tickets visit: https://ci.ovationtix.com/36406/production/1077656

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