The Shaker

Inside dish on interviews, editorials, events listings, musings from the minds of BV’s contributors, viewer mail, and other bits of fabulousness — It all goes into The Shaker, ‘Burgh Vivant’s bacchanalian bulletin board. Saddle up to the bar, and get ready for another round of what’s shakin’!

Forgotten Things, Buried Deep – a review of “Downstairs”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Basements, like memories, hold a lot of forgotten things, buried deep. This is especially true in Theresa Rebeck’s darkly comic “Downstairs.” Irene (Helena Ruoti) has graciously let her brother, Teddy (Martin Giles), camp out in the basement over her suburban home, much to the chagrin of her husband Jerry… Read more »

The Dickens you say – a review of “A Christmas Carol”

Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant The Theatre Factory breathes life back into “A Christmas Carol” by choosing a 2012 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic by Patrick Barlow. Barlow thoughtfully reduces the cast. His reimagined version is limited to Scrooge plus an ensemble of five who plug and play into a range of roles. The essence of… Read more »

A Cap and Cheese Christmas – A review of “Yinzer Yuletide: Pittsburgh Lights and Legends”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Take an old-fashioned Perry Como Christmas special, replace the Canonsburg native with WQED’s Rick Sebak and set the whole thing in Pittsburgh and you have, “Yinzer Yuletide: Pittsburgh Lights and Legends.” “Yinzer Yuletide: Pittsburgh Lights and Legends,” like those Perry Como Christmas specials of yore, have special guest stars… Read more »

A Pittsburgh Twist on Dickens N’at – A review of “Yinzer Scrooged: A Pittsburgh Christmas Carol”

By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant Imagine “A Christmas Carol” told from a present-day Pittsburgh perspective. The Charles Dickens classic is updated with a Pittsburgh twist at the fictitious “dahntahn” WBRC Studios in Bricolage’s 11th annual Midnight Radio Series, “Yinzer Scrooged: A Pittsburgh Christmas Carol.” We follow Jeffenezer Scroogeoff (Wali Jamal) as his story is told… Read more »

A Change for the Halibut – a review of “The (Christmas) Lake Effect”

By Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant Each holiday season, ballet companies expectantly produce their obligatory rehashing of “The Nutcracker.” So too do America’s playhouses delve into the shallow pool of holiday theatrical options with perennial appearances of “A Christmas Carol” or “White Christmas.” Little Lake Theatre’s production of “The (Christmas) Lake Effect” successfully colors outside the… Read more »

Merry & Gay – a review of “The Santaland Diaries”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant It’s Christmastime in the city, and author and playwright David Sedaris reminds us that the season isn’t all comfort and joy in “The Santaland Diaries.” Unemployed stoner David (Shua Potter) has moved to the big city and is in desperate need of employment. Then, right before his money runs… Read more »

Winner takes it all – a review of “Dance Nation”

by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant A group of thirteen-year-old dancers in Liverpool, Ohio give it their all to win a series of dance competitions that will get them to Nationals in Tampa, Florida in Clare Barron’s absurdist play, “Dance Nation.” Side note: Tampa, Florida is the Mecca to this dance troupe. The girls speak… Read more »

The Politics of Colorism – a review of “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play”

By Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant The Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play” takes place in 1986 at a girls’ boarding school in Ghana. In delving into pecking orders and prettiness rankings, Ghanaian American playwright, Jocelyn Bioh, makes transparent the universal nature of high school mean girls. Paulina (Markia… Read more »