Michael Cerveris Returns to Pittsburgh for barebones ‘Nightmare’ Benefit

By Sharon Eberson

You may wonder, is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? 

The stop-motion musical has a spot on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the top 15 Christmas films of all time, where the question is settled with the conclusion:

“Whatever it is, it’s a classic.”

Michael Cerveris, who performed a fundraising concert for barebones productions in Braddock in 2018, returns for a benefit in 2023.

For its 20th season, barebones productions is inviting audiences to experience this particular Nightmare live. Two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Cerveris will channel the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, in a live musical reading of the film at City Winery Pittsburgh in the Strip.

The 1993 movie’s pop-rock score and edgy Tim Burton concept fit are a good fit for an annual barebones Halloween fundraiser, which in the past has included live Rocky Horror show. 

Michael Cerveris during a 2022 recording session with Loose Cattle in Louisiana. (Image: Joseph Vidrine)

Cerveris made his Broadway debut in The Who’s Tommy and went on to award-winning roles in Fun Home and Assassins on Broadway. Recent screen roles include the filmed-in-Pittsburgh Mindhunter for Netflix and HBO’s The Gilded Age. He also records and tours with the band Loose Cattle.

The West Virginia native with Pittsburgh family ties previously performed a concert to benefit Patrick Jordan’s Braddock-based company in 2018.

The 2023 concert features a live band, with Douglas Levine, Missy Moreno, Sophie Pollono, Liz Hammond, Dave Mansueto, Saige Smith, Jacquea Mae, Jeffrey Carpenter, Sarah Siplak, Holly Bryant Scott, Rod Schwartz and Caroline Nicolian.

Barebones’ 20th season continues with David Mamet’s American Buffalo, November 19-December 10.


The Nightmare Before Christmas concert starts at 6 p.m. Sunday, October 29, at City Winery Pittsburgh, 1627 Smallman St., Strip District. Tickets benefiting barebones productions are $100 for prime floor seating; a $250 VIP ticket includes a pre-show reception (4- 5:30 p.m.) with Cerveris, plus two drink tickets. pittsburgh.citywinery.com/event/a-nightmare-before-christmas

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