In the Wings: 10/26/06

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The winner is ...

Bricolage announces that the winner of the audience poll among the six shows in its 2006 Staged Reading Performance Series is David Turkel's "Key to the Field," which it calls "a surrealist thrill-ride through the twisted landscape of the American dream." (I haven't seen the paper trail, but I'm pleased, since I voted for it in this column on Aug. 24.) So "Key to the Field" will get a full production in 2007, when there will also be a new staged reading series. First up: Bricolage Urban Scrawl II, six-plays-in-a-day (January, TBA;

Rachel Corrie

As with everything that touches on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "My Name is Rachel Corrie," the play about the 23 year-old American activist killed in 2003 when she came between an Israeli bulldozer and a Palestinian home, has caused controversy. Now, drawing on writings by Corrie and other sources, Madeline Izzo has written "The Story of Rachel Corrie: A Death in Rafah," which will be given a staged reading by Pitt theater chair Bruce McConachie and grad students Meredith Conti and Seth Cassell, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside -- with (of course) a moderated discussion to follow. Proceeds ($10 admission, $5 students) benefit the church's Committee for Justice in the Middle East.

'The Crucible' at the New Hazlett

Hard on the heels of Quantum's summertime "The Crucible" comes a version by Prime Stage ("theater for families"), directed by Nona Gerard, which has the honor of opening the New Hazlett (Sat. through Nov. 5).

Young theatricians

Mt. Lebanon High School's Max Simone, who wrote "The Gateway" at City Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival (review tomorrow), has good theater genes: his mother is Helena Ruoti.

Young Nadia Cook-Loshilov, acting in two Black & White festival shows, also plays Oedipus' daughter at the Public -- that's why her two shows are first in Program A. (Lissa Brennan is also double-dipping, appearing in the first play of Program B and working at City Theatre.)

The call board

The "Spamalot" cast's late-night cabaret on Sept. 28 produced a full house and raised more than $2,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and other AIDS groups.

Quite by accident (lest you think I actually have time to watch TV), in the PG cafeteria I recently caught Joe Manganiello, Pittsburgher and CMU grad, as Brad, Marshall's law school buddy, in "The World's Greatest Couple" episode of "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS). Joe looks great. He was on the previous "Ted Mosby Architect" episode, as well. His girlfriend Dawn appeared as Anna.

Just in time for Halloween: a new group, Poets Corner, founded by Yvonne Hudson, offers "The Hopelessness of Love: a Conversation between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes," with Jennifer Tober and Joe McGranaghan, at 7 p.m. Fri. (Plath's birthdate) and Sat. (anniversary of Hughes' death). The site is the Victorian Chapel at the North Side's landmark Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Ave. in old Allegheny West; $8-$20; free parking; 412-512-0589.

"Modern Living," an evening of plays by Richard Sheinmel and songs by Pittsburgher Clay Zambo, continues through Sun. at New York City's La MaMa E.T.C. (212-475-7710,

"A Moon to Dance By" is a new drama by Pittsburgh legend Thom Thomas about D.H. Lawrence's one-time lover, Frieda Weekley, her young Italian lover and her son. Exploring love and forgiveness with what I'm sure is Thomas' characteristic intellect and grace, it will have a private reading Monday in New York City, with Elizabeth Ashley, Robert Cuccioli and David Lansbury, directed by Ed Sherin. Pretty fast company!

Theater online

Just up is a Web-only review by Phil Stephenson of Heather Raffo's "Nine Parts of Desire" in Boston (see it at Since last week, my On Stage journal has new material on the Costumers Guild exhibit, New Works gala, pie-eating in East Liberty and more.

The bottom line

Paid admissions at city's pro theaters for the week ending Oct. 22:

Oedipus/Public (66%) ....... 3,166
Good Body/City (96%) ............ 1,740
Forb. Bway/CLO (54%) .............. 709
Camino Real/Open Stage (54%) ........92


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