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’!

The Sunset Looks Good from the East and the West – A review of “The Outsiders”

By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant The haves and the have nots are the basis for “The Outsiders,” a play by Christopher Sergel based on the novel by S.E. Hinton. Set in the 1960s, two divergent gangs of teenagers seem to be on a collision course. Separated entirely by their socioeconomic circumstances, the Socials (Socs), rich,… Read more »


Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant.   Alan Stanford both adapts and directs Pittsburgh’s Classic Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” While I’ve seen “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” many times, it’s always in the summer and almost invariably performed outdoors, given the play is primarily set in the forest outside of Athens. Even the title… Read more »

Jarring Revelation: a review of APPROPRIATE, University of Pittsburgh Stages

Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant.   Three siblings are mad, sad and definitely not glad to be back home at their old homestead.  They’ve returned to their roots after the recent death of their father and patriarch of the family to distribute, divvy up, claim and settle his estate. Antoinette “Toni” Lafayette (Kelly Trumbull) is a former… Read more »

Budding Relationships – a review of “The Verge”

by Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant It’s tempting to dismiss Susan Glaspell’s play, “The Verge,” as dated, given its one-year shy of its centenary. However, Glaspell was a powerhouse in her day and has ascended to dramatic legend. She was only the second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and she cofounded the Provincetown… Read more »

There’s No Business Like Show Business – a review of “The Book of Merman”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro’s “Book of Merman” is a high concept idea. Take the “Book of Mormon” and add Ethel Merman. It’s simple! You know you’re getting a cross between “The Book of Merman” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” In this show, the two Mormon missionaries, Elder Braithewaite… Read more »

Man-eater – a review of “Little Shop of Horrors”

by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant The Skid Row Urchins, Crystal (Tavia Rivee), Ronnette (Melessie Clark) and Chiffon (Abigail Stephenson), the ever present and ever harmonious chorus, warns us that strange things are about to happen in Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s “Little Shop of Horrors.” Things get strange right away. Schlubby Seymour (Philippe Arroyo)… Read more »

It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does – A review of “The C-Word”

By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant Mental illness and suicide are very serious subjects but injecting dark humor into the conversation often allows one to avoid coming face to face with those issues.  Conversation about these concerns are presented in the world premiere of “The C-Word” by Olivia LeSuer. College-age Grace (Audrey Nigh) has recently come… Read more »

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 »