In the Wings: Return of the prodigal

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• OK, that's excessive. But right out of college in the '90s, Todd Kreidler made a fine start in Pittsburgh as a theater critic and director, went on to work very closely with August Wilson for six years and has blossomed into a playwright.

We get a look at one of his latest at 7 p.m. Monday, when the Public Theater presents a reading of "Stayers and Goers" in the Helen Wayne Rauh Rehearsal Room on the third floor of the O'Reilly Theater. The story involves "annunciations, denials, resurrections, and redemption ... family secrets, land deals and uneasy truths," the Public says. Directed by Larry John Meyers, the reading features Autumn Ayers, Meggie Booth, Stephen Coleman, Jason McCune and Joel Ripka. And this Public Exposure series is free, although you can also reserve at 412-316-1600.

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New theater launched

• Phase 3 Productions makes its bow with a revisionist version of Strindberg's once-shocking classic, "Miss Julie" (Friday through Nov. 30 at the Brew House, South Side), this time transferred from Sweden to Ireland. They promise a "feisty, sexy, fast-paced (90-minute) evening." Melissa Hill Grande directs Alyssa Herzog, Terry Hoge and Nicki Mazzocca; info at 412-567-5033 or (where there's a steamy if murky promo).

August Wilson, Seattleite

• On Nov. 7, Seattle dedicated an August Wilson pedestrian walkway, marked by 12-foot archways and an image of Wilson, along with biographical information and quotes. His widow, Constanza Romero, joined in. I learned about this from a blog in the Seattle Times, where I posted this comment:

"Congratulations to Seattle for honoring a great American playwright who made his home there for the last 15 years of a tragically shortened life. He belongs, of course, not just to Seattle, to St. Paul (where he lived for 12 years) and to Pittsburgh (where he lived his first 33), but to the whole nation and the world.

"It is fair to note, however, that it is not just 'most' of Mr. Wilson's major plays that are set in Pittsburgh's Hill District, but nine of the 10, which is why they are often referred to as the Pittsburgh Cycle. I look forward to visiting August Wilson Way, just as his Seattle fans may want to visit the many Pittsburgh sites associated with his youth and early manhood, the specific sites associated with his plays and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, due to be completed next spring."

Some day I expect to be able to add the August Wilson birthplace to that list.

Personal privilege

• That's a defensive head for what's really a sports item, though it wouldn't take much to point out theatrical parallels.

I have a confession to make: A couple of weeks ago I began to root for this year's Penn State football team, an unlikely development for a passionate 40-year fan of Pitt. So now I have to apologize to all real Penn State fans, because look where my support has gotten them.

It really wasn't my intention to hex them and see them upset by Iowa. On the contrary, I decided to root for them to run the table and beat some Southern/Southwestern powerhouse for the national title, not just as a matter of sectional pride but because I thought it would give Joe Paterno a chance to retire on top. And once he leaves, I figure it won't be long before Penn State and Pitt resume the rivalry that spiced up our late fall -- even though it was usually to Pitt's disadvantage.

So now I'm rooting for Penn State to win out, taking the Big 10 and Rose Bowl. Maybe that will be enough to allow Joe to leave.

Retirement is on my mind, I guess.

The Call Board

• The "Pittsburgh Pundits," led by John McIntire, are back at the late night Cabaret at Theater Square, Friday 10:30 p.m., dealing this time with "Barack and Roll -- Failin' with Palin." I saw their "Electile Dysfunction" special, and they give good intellectual/giggle value.

• Stage Right in Greensburg stages "The Producers" this weekend at the Palace Theatre, featuring David Cabot as Max Bialystock, Vince Tresco as Leo Bloom, Scott Sambuco as Carmen Ghia and Renata Marino as the Svedish bombshell; call 724-832-7464.

• Several readers wrote to point out that "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," now at the CLO Cabaret, had its Pittsburgh premiere two years ago at Trafford's Theatre Factory. Beth and David Wolk called it "a wonderful production with Chelsea Dawn, Jaime Slavinsky, Corey Nile Wingard and Justin Zeno."

The bottom line

Paid admissions at city's pro theaters for the week ending Nov. 9:

MammaMia/Benedum (93%) .......... 20,774
LongStoryShort/City (64%) ........ 1,219
Love,Perfect/CLO Cab. (51%) ........ 594
MuseumDesire/Quantum (100%) ........ 438

Christopher Rawson can be reached at or 412-263-1666.


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