Happy Hour! Pop-Up Opera hits Downtown


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When and Where: The Pittsburgh Opera Theater on Thursday surprised locals with guerrilla-style opera vignettes at Sonoma, Seviche, Sharp Edge Bistro and August Henry’s City Saloon, all Downtown.
Love is in the air (and so is rejection): Happy Hour! is composed of nine vignettes, all set in the same bar. The original lyrics, written by masters’ students in the Dramatic Writing program at Carnegie Mellon University, were composed around the ideas of love and acceptance in the 21st century, from internet dating to karaoke catastrophes. The music was composed by Roger Zahab, who took on the project after a little nudging from Opera Theater's artistic director. “The idea of drawing people to look at everyday life through the lens of artistic experience was exciting to me.”
Encore, encore! Patrons were happily surprised by the funny, romantic, (and a little naughty) 5-minute performances by company’s 2014 young artists. Some took videos on their phones while others shouted “Aw, give him a kiss!” or “Have a Jack on the rocks!” after one performer was rejected by his online love match. “I thought it was awesome, just like my home life...except better,” laughed Robert Thomas at August Henry’s. Added Chuck Brannigan, “It was interesting! We weren’t expecting it!”
Performing guerrilla opera is…: “Pretty tough. You have to be adaptable, but people are really positive about it and get involved in your ‘relationship,’” said William Strong, who plays SexyMan142 during the “Desperately Seeking” vignette.
Future performances: Thursday, 6 to 6:45 p.m. at Bites and Brews, 1947 Tavern, The Harris Grill and 5801 Video Lounge and Cafe, all in Shadyside and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. at Sonoma, Seviche, August Henry’s City and Sharp Edge Bistro, Downtown. The full performance of Happy Hour! takes place Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Twentieth Century Club, Oakland.


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