For the fourth year in a row, five people will unfold true tales Thursday night when the storytelling juggernaut, the Moth Mainstage, returns to the New Hazlett Theater, North Side.
The theme is "What Lies Beneath: Stories of Steely Reserve." Emcee for the event is stand-up comedian Ophria Eisenberg, a native of Canada and host of National Public Radio's new weekend program, "Ask Me Another."
Of the five storytellers, two are local. One is John Fetterman, the Braddock mayor who was honored last week at the White House along with other successful alumni of AmeriCorps. As the leader of a community where the Edgar Thomson Works still produces steel, the 43-year-old Mr. Fetterman knows a great deal about hanging tough in difficult times.
Braddock's greatest assets, Mr. Fetterman said, are "the incredibly rich history and the resilience of the place." Serving as its mayor has been, "the best professional job" he's ever had.
Much work lies ahead, but Mr. Fetterman is encouraged by the filming there of the Christian Bale movie "Out of the Furnace" and the success of a Levi's billboard campaign that starred local actors. Levi's paid for a new community center in Braddock.
Mr. Fetterman's story is "very personal" and about an event that occurred shortly after he took office in 2006, he said during a recent telephone interview.
The other local raconteur, Nora Mathews, moved to Pittsburgh last year. A native of upstate New York, the 26-year-old South Side Slopes resident is a massage therapist by day and a writer and storyteller in her spare time. She has trekked across northern Spain and also studied chant and ritual song at the World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland.
A 2008 graduate of Emerson College, where she earned a degree in literature and publishing, Ms. Mathews is at work on a fantasy novel for young adults. She began spinning stories here in October and is the winner of a Pittsburgh Moth story slam. To accommodate larger audiences, the story slams moved in February from Club Cafe to the South Side's Rex Theater.
Other raconteurs appearing are Joan Juliet Buck, Josh Broder and Kevin Free.
Ms. Buck is a writer, novelist and performer. Her film roles include a Scottish waif in the Disney film "Greyfriars Bobby" and Meryl Streep's nemesis in "Julie and Julia," the movie about chef Julia Child. Ms. Buck edited the Paris edition of Vogue magazine for seven years and was associate editor of the London Observer magazine. She has written two novels about multicultural expatriates: "The Only Place to Be" and "Daughter of the Swan."
For more than 20 years, Mr. Broder worked as an actor and director in theater. Now, he's an executive coach and often focuses on the theme of leadership in his stories. Mr. Broder toured Siberia two months before the Soviet Union collapsed. He settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., long before that community saw the arrival of artisanal cheese, pickles and ice cream sandwiches. Along with his wife and son, he enjoys of all those culinary treats.
Mr. Free is a writer and performer whose storytelling has been heard on National Public Radio and Dana Rossi's "The Soundtrack Series." A New York neo-futurist, he is the author of more than 60 short plays. He was named one of nytheatre.com's People of the Year in 2010. His full-length plays, "Face Value" and "A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People," were published by indietheaternow.com.
Marylynne Pitz: email@example.com or 412-263-1648.