By Sharon Eberson
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Children’s Theater Festival marches into its 36th year with a return to in-person festivities May 14-15.
Activities and performances by professional arts companies from around the world will fill the Downtown Cultural District after two years of online content. A press release today noted that featured theater performances include Starshine, described as “a magical immersive theater piece about the constellations”; Flutter, about the seasons for babies and their caregivers; Grimmz Fairy Tales, a hip-hop remix of classic tales; Won’Ma Afrika, acrobatics and “death-defying feats”; Doodle POP!, a visual adventure through the ocean; and PSS PSS, a silent physical comedy piece.
“After three years away from the Cultural District, we couldn’t be more excited to present the EQT Children’s Theater Festival live and in-person this year,” Pamela Komar, director of Theater, Music and Youth Programming for the Trust, said in a statement. “Our theater staff, performers, artists, and community organizations have been planning for this event for years now and we have some very special things in store for you.”
2022 Children’s Theater Festival Schedule
Starshine (Jumping Jack Theater) – You’re invited to join a sensory enriched journey through the galaxy in an intimate theatrical experience for a small group of audience members and their caregivers. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Flutter (Treehouse Shakers) – A discovery play that introduces the very young to the four seasons. Babies and toddlers will have the freedom to move within the space and investigate hands-on textures while experiencing sounds, music, and engaging visuals. Recommended for ages 6-18 months and their caregivers. is
Grimmz Fairy Tales (Experiential Theater and Children’s Theater of Charlotte) – The hip-hop, fable, story-dance-pop sensations Jay and Will Grimmz have come home to the city where they grew up to give a concert. They’re known not just for their sounds, but for the stories their music tells and “off-the-chart” theatrical effects. Greatest hits include “Snow White and the Seven Shawties,” “Down with Rapunzel,” “Hansel & Gretel: Lost in the Streets” and their”Granny-winning” song, “Cinderella Remix!” Recommended for age 6-13.
Won’Ma Afrika (Cirque Kalabante) – Kalabanté’s daring acrobats perform to the pulsating rhythm of the djembes of Guinea, in a show that embodies the strength, agility and joy of life found in African youth. Recommended for all ages.
Doodle POP! (Brush Theatre; a co-presentation with Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse) – The mischievous Doodle POP! duo invites you on an ocean adventure in the doodling world and answers the question: Will they be able to return a turtle doodle to the sea safely? Recommended for ages 3-7.
PSS PSS (Compagnia Baccalà; a co-presentation with Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse) – The comedic coupling of mishaps and acrobatics is inspired by the physical comedy of silent film stars like Charlie Chaplin. It is the winner of 15 international prizes, including an honor from Cirque Du Soleil. Recommended for age 8+.
“Mr. Messado’s School of Magic for the Young and Young at Heart” (Liberty Magic/Pittsburgh Cultural Trust) – Mr. Messado brings a fresh take on the age-old art of prestidigitation, with an hourlong spectacle featuring magic, clean comedy and interactive wonder. Recommended for ages 13+. Younger siblings ages 6 years and older are welcome (but no tattletales, snitches or cheats).
JazzTime! Musical (adapted from stage to screen for educators and group leaders; produced by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust with support from PNC Grow Up Great, in partnership with the EQT Children’s Theater Festival) – In this 30-minute production, students experience the styles and elements of jazz through a musical created and performed by local Pittsburgh artists. The introduction to jazz begins with Grandma Rose as she reminisces about her days as a popular vocalist with a band of the finest musicians. After a fall in her attic, Rose awakes to music being played by her old band. Now reunited, they sing the old songs that taught her all about jazz music, exploring tempo, dynamics, melody, improvisation and more.
Black Violin – Violinists Kev Marcus and Wil. B use their blend of classical and hip-hop music to overcome stereotypes while encouraging people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds to join to break down cultural barriers.
Featured performance tickets are $12 each. For more information and tickets, visit TrustArts.org/PGHKids, call 412-456-6666 or visit the Box Office at Theater Square.
Categories: Show Previews