2021: A Look Back

by Sharon Eberson

Last year at this time
I looked back with a poem,
And it wasn’t all bad.
At times I left home.

Then came the new year,
(No “‘Twas” about it)
A vaccine was here
I wanted to shout it.

Passing strange to recall
What began full of praise
To deliver us from worry …
Well, that lasted six days.

Sorry, so sorry.
Should not be a bummer.
Our artists kept busy.
We had a good summer.

Here is the good news:
Pittsburgh theater is back!
Boosted and masked,
We’re on the right track.

So let us examine
It had its moments …
Well … not a ton.

That is, of course, unless
You count entertainers.
For a boost to our spirits,
They never fail us.

For a “Current War” show
We said bye to our screens
In a Quantum tent, we gathered
For new music and scenes.

From a tent to a rink
Then to East Liberty,
Quantum led patrons
On an epic odyssey.

CLO could be found
On a filed called Heinz,
Under the Stars and
Celebrating year 75,

The Public went live.
On a pop-up stage.
Rain aside, “Barefoot”
Became all the rage.

It should be said that,
No matter how we hoped,
The skies often opened
And with rain, we did cope.

Before ‘The Band’s Visit’
And the moves to indoors,
Pittsburgh, you rocked,
The elements you endured.

(Time out to make clear
In case this seems unfair:
I saw a lot, but not all.
So with your permission,
This list is bravo, godspeed,
Not the be-all or end-all …
End of intermission.)

City Theatre left behind
It’s Drive-In days
And gave us new music,
“Untitled” and unfazed.

City boosted it’s rep
For collaboration
And nurturing works
For the next generation.
There’s a new trifecta
At City’s artistic helm,
A model for others
In the theater realm.

PICT lectured on classics
Reopened with the Bard.
City hosted Kinetic –
Literary giants on the card.

Cabarets for locals
Were a must-see –
CLO and Trust series,
Or the PMT canopy.
Alone Together Pittsburgh
Bid farewell in June,
But a barebones “Tragedy”
Forecast a ’22 boon.

In the Cultural District,
Magic reappeared,
As did comedy and jazz,
And for that, we all cheered.
Movie musicals were
One of last year’s glories,
Reaching lofty heights
With a new “West Side Story.”

On Broadway, it was open
And close, but I bet you know:
Understudies and swings
Are the heart of each show.

The push toward diversity
That was long overdue
Stayed in the spotlight
With vows to see it through.
We lost Stephen Sondheim
Always on my mind,
For his brilliance, of course,
And when I’m lost for a rhyme.

Now I get personal.
it was that kind of year
Anytime I was down,
I looked to theater for cheer.

I produced online shows,
Off the Record was one,
Worked with great teams
To raise much-needed funds.

Performers came through,
And on this, I am vocal
When purchasing tickets,
It’s best to buy local.

I made a leap to a new site
For performing arts writing.
OnStage Pittsburgh it’s called,
I hope you’ll come find me.

Thanks for your indulgence.
My intentions are the best.
I hope you all get boosted.
Be well, and be blessed.

While we all have suffered
During this blasted virus,
It’s to theater we turn,
For hope, to inspire us.

So good riddance Two-One,
Time for a fresh start
’22’s been lucky for me.
Please, don’t break my heart.

Categories: Arts and Ideas


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