Joe Bonamassa previews his upcoming album, "Driving Towards the Daylight," at the Benedum Center Saturday night.
'Maiden' goes Off the Wall
Off the Wall Productions' website includes an essay that playwright Ariel Dorfman wrote last year about his play "Death and the Maiden," as it was about to be revived in London. "The play I wrote 20 years ago about Chile's torture and trauma has a painful, global relevance today," he wrote in The Guardian. "It happened yesterday, but it could well be today."
The play piles on tragedy in the aftermath of violence -- a tortured and raped political prisoner believes her tormentor is within her grasp.
"Death and the Maiden" runs at Off the Wall, 147 North Main St., Washington, Pa., 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, then 8 p.m. May 17-19. Tickets: $5-$30 at 412-394-3353 or proartstickets.org. Information: 724-873-3576.
Michaelson in Munhall
Brooklyn singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, who got an early career boost from getting songs like "The Way I Am" on "Grey's Anatomy," is back with the new album "Human Again" and playing a sold-out show Friday at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead.
In recent bio, she explains, "The album is called 'Human Again,' because it's taken me a very long time to be happy. I am writing about a really dark time in my life even though I'm not there."
The album, with the lead single "Ghost," exposes a tougher, more mature approach. "My father said, 'Where are all the ditties?'" she noted. "I said, 'Well, I think I'm past the ditties, Dad.' I'm done with that part of my life. I'm ready to think a little bolder."
Riddle me this: Add singing to the piano, flute and clarinet makeup of the local Trillium Ensemble but don't add another person. How? The trio's pianist, Katie Palumbo, will play and sing at the same time in the premiere of "Restless" by composer Nathan Hall. It may be standard in the pop world to play piano and sing, but it's not in classical music.
"Restless" is a nature-inspired work for "singing pianist," flute (Pamela Murchsion) and bass clarinet (Rachael Stutzman), that will be the theme of the ensemble's two concerts this weekend: 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Maurice Church, 2001 Ardmore Blvd., Forest Hills, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Incarnation of the Lord Catholic Church, Perry North. $15 ($10 students and seniors); email@example.com.
FRIDAY AND SUNDAY
Au revoir, Paris fest
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Paris Festival concludes this weekend with the first PSO performance of an exquisite and lyrical piece that deserves to be brought back again: Arthur Honegger's Cello Concerto. Honegger is best known in America for his "Pacific 231," an orchestral work written (in 1923) to sound like a locomotive. That hardness melts in the 1930 concerto to a gentle undulation above which the soloist enters. At 8 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, the PSO's Anne Martindale Williams will take that role, conducted by Manfred Honeck.
Yet that concerto is not even the most interesting part of the concert. That would be Attack Theatre dancing to Darius Milhaud's 1922 ballet "La Creation du Monde," with members of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra playing with those of the PSO. The program also contains Igor Stravinsky's "Petroushka" and George Gershwin's "An American in Paris." Tickets start at $20. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
If blues guitarists got the attention they did a few decades ago, Joe Bonamassa would be a household name.
The 35-year-old burner from West Hartford, N.Y., started out opening for B.B. King and has since topped the blues charts and shared stages with the likes of Eric Clapton, John Hiatt and Paul Rogers.
He headlines the Benedum Saturday night, touring on his latest traditional blues album, "Driving Towards the Daylight" (due May 22), with covers of songs by Tom Waits, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor and more.
"Every one of these songs is a reinterpretation of something that originated in the blues," he told American Songwriter. "I'm just borrowing from Jimmy Page who borrowed from Willie Dixon and so on. So I think it will always retain a certain amount of purity because the roots are the original. The key is to broaden your audience without the 'sellout' word being tossed around. I think my records of the last six years have done a good job in just that. It's about making music you love and doing it in an honest way."
The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $62 to $92. Call 412-456-6666.
Cirque and symphony
Feats of daring will accompany the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's regular feats when it performs "Cirque de la Symphonie." A bevy of circus performers -- acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers and strongmen -- will encircle the group at Heinz Hall 8 p.m. Saturday. The music will be favorites from Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Khachaturian. Hopefully none of the musicians' expensive instruments will be damaged. $35-$80; 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
May Market at Phipps
Just in time for Mother's Day, the front lawn of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will become the May Market on Saturday and Sunday, with Phipps horticulturists, local garden clubs, nurseries and farms offering a wide selection of plants and accessories.
During May Market hours, guests can receive half off the regular price of Conservatory admission to see the Summer Flower Show: Fountains of Youth.
It's free and runs from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Go to phipps.conservatory.org.
"Yo, Vikings!" had its start with the true story of a fifth-grader who becomes fascinated with Erik the Red through a school project and landed a Viking ship right in her backyard.
Point Park's own Marcus Stevens and composer Sam Willmott have taken Judith Schachner's popular children's book and made it a mother-daughter coming-of-age musical that lands at Pittsburgh's Playhouse Jr. in time for Mother's Day weekend.
Mr. Stevens, who wrote the book and lyrics, has taken the Vikings out of Emma's imagination and personified them for the stage as "vaudevillian Muppet Vikings, which is my and Sam's sense of humor."
"Yo, Vikings!" is at Point Park University's Playhouse Jr. at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft St., Oakland, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. Tickets are $7 and this weekend, moms receive a free ticket with the purchase of a regular-price ticket; more at pittsburghplayhouse.com or 412-392-8000.
Race for the Cure
It's Mother's Day and that means the 20th annual Komen Pittsburgh Race for the Cure at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.
The race typically draws some 30,000 participants and raises about $2 million, 75 percent to support education, screening and treatment programs here. The other 25 percent goes to Komen National's breast cancer research programs.
The Survivor Parade and Tribute is at 8 a.m.; the 5K chip-timed run at 8:35 a.m. and the untimed walk/run and 1-mile fun walk at 8:45. Registration is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Flagstaff Hill and at Flagstaff on Sunday beginning at 6:30 a.m. Information: www.komenpittsburgh.org.
NEED 2 KNOW
• LA Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, led by the rowdy Dave King, makes a return visit to Stage AE on its "Speed of Darkness" tour at 7 tonight. Tickets are $28.50-$30; 1-800-745-3000.
• Dance troupe the Pillow Project will get cinematic at this month's installment of its "Second Saturdays" series with movement vignettes created with the works of filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher in mind. Dancers will be accompanied by local singer-songwriter Ricardo Iamuuri. It's 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at The Space Upstairs, Point Breeze. Admission: $10 donation suggested at the door. Information: www.pillowproject.org.
• Carnegie Mellon University's Roger Dannenberg is known locally as a composer whose music often uses cutting-edge computer programming and interfaces. But he was a trumpet player first and still loves to perform. One favorite is Duke Ellington, and Mr. Dannenberg commissioned composer John Wilson to write an arrangement of "Sophisticated Lady" for full orchestra with trumpet soloist. He will perform that with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at JCC in Squirrel Hill. The program includes Gershwin's "An American in Paris" and Ives' "The Unanswered Question." Information: www.edgewoodsymphony.org.
• The opening reception for five exhibitions will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Exhibiting are the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Print Group, Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors and three Pittsburgh Filmmakers members, Andrew Batista, Matthew R. Day and Andrew Kelemen, who are showing their video work. The shows run through July 22. $5 donation, members free; 412-361-0873 or http://pittsburgharts.org.