Esperanza Spalding will perform at the Byham Theater Friday night.
Meet Mrs. Malaprop
In his 1770s comedy of manners "The Rivals," writer Richard Brinsley Sheridan presented the Archie Bunker predecessor Mrs. Malaprop, a woman prone to substituting a word that sounds like the word she intends but has a different meaning -- and thus, we have the term malaprop.
Directed by Annie Tyson, Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama takes on "The Rivals," which also introduces a woman intent on marrying a poor man and the rich fellow who hopes to woo her.
It's at the Philip Chosky Theater, Purnell Center, Oakland campus, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; also 8 p.m. Oct. 9-12 and 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 13. Tickets are $25-$29 (with discounts for students, seniors and CMU faculty and staff) at www.drama.cmu.edu or 412-268-2407.
Musical mysteries of Pittsburgh
The subtitle of "Conducting Business," a new book by Leonard Slatkin, principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and head of the Detroit Symphony, is "Unveiling the Mystery Behind the Maestro."
While it's always intriguing to see what transpires behind the scenes, the greater mystery is in front of maestros, of course. It never ceases to amaze how so many musicians can play cohesively and with a singular interpretation.
The program of the concerts, at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, Downtown, will be: Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances," Schumann's Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish," and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Olga Kern soloing. Tickets start at $20; www.pittsburghsymphony.org or 412-392-4900.
Rock at the Altar
The October schedule at Altar Bar is filled with national acts almost every night, including a lively run of shows this weekend, spanning hip-hop, alt-rock and punk.
• New York-born and Bay Area-based alternative hip-hop artist Aesop Rock (real name Ian Bavitz) rolls in tonight, touring on "Skelethon," his first new album in five years, marking a switch from Def Jux to Rhymesayers, All Music Guide writes that "Aesop sounds stronger and sure after taking this journey, making 'Skelethon' his most rewarding effort to date." He's joined by Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19-$20.
• New Orleans alt-rock groove band Mutemath arrives fresh off the Honda Civic Tour with Linkin Park and Incubus for a show at 8 p.m. Friday with The Civil Twilight. $25-$28.
• The Saturday party features 2 Live Crew, the Florida hip-hop crew led by Luther Campbell that faced obscenity charges back in the '80s when it released "As Nasty As They Wanna Be." The show is 9 p.m. with Depaul and L.S.Q. $18-$20.
• On Sunday, it's Propagandhi, a veteran leftist punk band from Winnipeg (late of Fat Wreck Chords) that dates back to 1986 and is touring on its sixth album "Failed States." Singer-guitarist Chris Hannah noted of the album: "We really liked how it managed to stay 'cinematic' while careening back and forth between our brazen metallic tendencies and our more ragged punk rock roots." Comeback Kid opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18-$20.
Call 1-866-468-3401 or go to i.ticketweb.com.
Trolley to pumpkins
You could just drive to a pumpkin patch -- or you could get there in vintage style.
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum's annual Pumpkin Patch Trolley will take visitors on a ride on an antique trolley to the pumpkin patch where children get to select their pumpkin and then decorate it at the new Education & Events Room.
Families can take a tour and see trolleys and enjoy other kids' activities including complimentary refreshments and games for children.
It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday and then Oct. 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28 with the last ride to the pumpkin patch at 4:15 p.m. Admission for Pumpkin Patch Trolley is $9; $8 for seniors (62 and older); $7 for kids (1-15); and free for kids under 1. A special family rate of $35 covers up to two adults/seniors and four children. Admission includes pumpkin for each child; additional pumpkins are $2.
Take I-79 to Exit 41 Racetrack Road or Route 19 to Racetrack Road, then follow the blue signs three miles to the Museum in Washington. Information: www.patrolley.org or 724-228-9256.
Music with a message
Guns, drugs and dead presidents will not be the predominant themes when Lecrae hits Stage AE tonight.
The Atlanta-based Christian rapper arrives on the Unashamed Tour, having topped the hip-hop charts with his latest album, "Gravity," the follow-up to his Grammy-nominated "Rehab."
He recently told Entertainment Weekly "... there's a stigma attached that says, 'Oh, the music's probably not gonna be good, and all he's gonna do is rap sermons,' so it's been good for people even outside of the Christian faith to enjoy the music and to really appreciate the craft and the musicality of it." Trip Lee and Tedashi open.
Trip Lee joins the lineup performing songs from his latest album "The Good Life," along with Reach Records newcomer, KB, who will debut songs off of his upcoming LP, "Weight & Glory."
Doors are at 6 p.m. Tickets are $19.50 to $25; 1-800-745-3000.
Esperanza Spalding, the fiery bassist/vocalist/composer who snagged the Grammy for best new artist in 2011 (over Justin Bieber), returns to Pittsburgh to display her many talents at the Byham Friday at 8 p.m.
Inspired by Yo-Yo Ma, Ms. Spalding started playing at 5 years old, became a concert master at the age of 15, and at 20 she became the youngest faculty member in the history of Berklee College. Since then, she has topped the Billboard contemporary jazz charts, performed at the White House and collaborated with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Alicia Keys and Q-Tip.
Her current tour is for the new album "Radio Music Society," encompassing soul, gospel and swing. Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times asked her if she could have imagined 10 years ago how far music would take her. "I think 10 years ago I thought I'd be a much stronger player," she said laughing. "In the past few years I've slowed down my practicing a little bit. But the good news is, things I wanted to achieve in terms of projects and places I wanted to go I've been able to do. Things I barely dreamed of 10 years ago have come true."
SouthSide Works goes to the dogs on Saturday with DogtoberFEST, an event presented by the local nonprofit group CARMAA (Coalition to Adopt, Rehome and Match Abandoned Animals).
It begins at 11 a.m. in the parking lot next to McCormick & Schmick's with a Pooch Pride Parade Costume Contest offering more than $500 in prizes available for Most Creative Costume, Best Homemade Costume and Dog-Owner Lookalike Costume (entry fee is $5).
There will be live music, homemade food, specialty vendors, training demonstrations and Ask-a-Vet and Ask-a-Trainer booths. Adoptable dogs from shelters and rescues can meet their potential new families (who can fill out an application).
The baroque music ensemble Rebel was formed in the Netherlands in 1991 -- when northern Europe and England were the epicenter of period instrument research and performance. Now based in New York, it is known more for simply being a top notch ensemble, and that counts soprano Sherezade Panthaki, an arresting singer in the old style (less vibrato, clear timbre), and noted trumpeter John Thiessen. The program is Bach, Handel and Telemann. 8 p.m. at Synod Hall in Oakland. $10-$35; www.rbsp.org or 412-361-2048.
Autumnfest at Seven Springs
Pumpkins, apples and fall leaves will be plentiful at the 28th annual Autumnfest, starting Saturday and Sunday.
There will be an arts and crafts marketplace, wagon rides and performances by Zany Umbrella Circus, Gashouse Annie, Ginger Beards and more.
For the little ones there will be a petting zoo, pony rides and The Kids' Zone tent filled with arts, crafts, games and activities.
The festival grounds are open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. this weekend and Oct. 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. There is a $5 per car parking fee during Autumnfest weekends and complimentary shuttle service throughout the parking lots.
• "Sister Mary Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree," the third entry in the Nunsense franchise, brings the wacky Sisters of Hoboken back to Mountain Playhouse for the first time since 2004. "Nunsense" I and II set attendance records in the 1990s at the Jennerstown theater. The show runs Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., 2 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 3 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 14. Tickets are $17-$39; more at 1-814-629-9201 or www.mountainplayhouse.org.
• The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society series continues with The Travelers, a group from Western China that incorporates the Mongolian Dombra, the Matouqin (a two-string horse-head fiddle), the shaman drum and African drums, and mixes styles from Chinese Long Song and traditional chanting to Mongolian Hoomei singing and modern western music. It begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $35 plus $4 handling fee (advance), $39 (door), $20 (student rush). Information: 412-361-1915 or www.calliopehouse.org.
• Original choreography from some of Point Park University Conservatory Dance Company's top students will be showcased this weekend at the GRW Performance Studio at Point Park University, Downtown. It's 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $7-$8 for students and $18-20 general admission at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com or 412-392-8000.
• Continuum Dance Theater kicks off its 2012-13 season with the premiere of "THE MOVEMENT: a new perspective" at The Space Upstairs, Point Breeze. It's 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets: $18 when purchased in advance at www.thedanceticket.blogspot.com.
• Local pianist Craig Davis will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Center East, North Side, paying tribute to legendary Pittsburgh pianists and composers Dodo Marmarosa, Erroll Garner, Billy Strayhorn, Oscar Levant, Mary Lou Williams and Sonny Clark. Joining Mr. Davis will be drummer and mentor Roger Humphries, guitarist Mark Strickland and several members of the Artie Shaw Orchestra, with whom Mr. Davis performs regularly. The cost is $50, $20 for students, which will include a post-concert meet-and-greet with the artists. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Oasis Recovery Center. For tickets, call 412-281-8362 or 412-320-4610.