Stage Notes: Memories of 1990 'Our Town' at Pittsburgh Public Theater; Flaherty-Ahrens team at 30

Thursday, 26 September 2013 12:13 PM Written by 

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A nice note arrive in the e-mail after the "Our Town" preview ran Wednesday with great images -- like the one above -- by PG photographer Larry Roberts. The Thorton Wilder play, with Tom Atkins in the central role as Stage Manager, opens the season for Pittsburgh Public Theater.

Here's what former Pittsburgh Public Theater’s former managing director, Dan Fallon, had to say:

"I know Tom [Atkins] will be amazing in the role [of Stage Manager.] It did call to mind the first time we did OUR TOWN at the Public. Talk about an "All-American" production — our George Gibbs was portrayed by John Haymes Newton, who’s most recent prior credential was playing none other than "Superboy" in the TV series of the same name. The entire physical production (costumes and sets) and concept was taken to London by our same director, and featured Alan Alda as the Stage Manager in his first return to live theater after ‘M*A*S*H.’ Best of everything to new company’s production! I look forward to it!"

That 1990 production of "Our Town" was shared with London’s Anglo American Theatre Company. In a 2005 interview with TheaterMania, Alda was talking about returning to Broadway in "Glengarry Glen Ross" when he recalled doing a lot of things "either to get the experience or to pay the rent. But, for the last 20 years or more, I have been extremely fortunate to do things that interest me. I loved doing ‘Art’; I think it’s one of the great plays. And I loved QED [in which he played scientist Richard Feynman]. About 12 years ago, I played the Stage Manager in ‘Our Town’ in London because I wanted to hear the play every night."

Flaherty-Ahrens team at 30

Wish I could be in New York this weekend as Dormont’s own Stephen Flaherty and writing partner Lynn Ahrens and an amazing array of Broadway talent celebrate the duo’s collaboration with "Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration" at 54 Below. The team of composer Flaherty and lyricist Ahrens are responsible for the musicals "Ragtime," "Once on This Island," "Seussical," "My Favorite Year" and more. Their next big adventure, "Rocky: Broadway," is set to open in February at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre.

See if you can figure out the Pittsburgh connections in each amazing lineup:

  • 7 and 9:30 tonight: Stephanie J. Block, Liz Callaway, LaChanze, Kecia Lewis, Sean McCourt, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Testa.
  • 8 p.m. Friday: Liz Callaway, Quentin Earl Darrington, LaChanze, Kecia Lewis, Marin Mazzie, Sean McCourt, Jessica Molaskey
  • 11 p.m. Friday: Annaleigh Ashford, Liz Callaway, Quentin Earl Darrington, Julie Halston, Marin Mazzie, Jessica Molaskey, Bobby Steggert
  • 8 p.m. Saturday: Kevin Chamberlin, Quentin Darrington, Lewis Grosso, Jeremy Jordan, Marin Mazzie, Jessica Molaskey, Sean McCourt
  • 11 p.m. Saturday: Annaleigh Ashford, Kevin Chamberlin, Quentin Darrington, Lewis Grosso, Julie Halston, Jeremy Jordan, Rebecca Luker, Jessica Molaskey, Bobby Steggert

Tickets and info: 54below.com or 1-646-476-3551.

CLO leaders honored

Charles Gray and Van Kaplan, the former and present producing artistic directors of Pittsburgh CLO, will be among the honorees when the National Alliance for Musical Theatre pays tribute to founders and past presidents at Show Off!, a benefit concert Oct. 20 at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The concert celebrates 25 years of NAMT's annual Festival of Musicals.

Gray was among the organization's founding members in 1985, and Kaplan is a past president. Show Off! will be performed as a special conclusion to this year's festival, Oct. 17-18 at New York's New World Stages.

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