Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 241 Pittsburgh Broadway Series Opens with "School of Rock" - Powerhouse Kids-A Voice

The Pittsburgh Broadway 2017-18 season opened with "School of Rock”, the musical, with music by Andrew  Lloyd Weber. The play is based on the 2003 movie with the same name.  If you like kids then you will love this lighthearted play because the best part of the show is experiencing the kids powerhouse musical talent as they perform rock n roll live. 

School of Rock is about a die-hard  struggling rocker, Dewey (Rob Colletti),  who after getting kicked out of his band impersonates his friend, Ned (Matt Bitter),  in order to land a job as a substitute  teacher  in a prestigious  prep school.  Dewey  has little interest in teaching until he witnesses  the students’  musical talent. He introduces them to his passion, rock music, and forms a  band of  5th graders to compete in the  Battle of the Bands.

The young cast in this show have a powerhouse of  musical talent. I got goose bumps when  Zack (Pheonix  Schuman) played a riff on the guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman)  plucked the base, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) played a run on the key boards and Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) pounded the drums.

In the School of Rock  we see the transformation  of anxious  kids stemming  from parental  pressure  to achieve high academic performance,  to ones  that gain confidence  as  part of a band.  These kids expressed that they just  wanted their parents to hear them as they sang, “If Only You Would Listen”.  We  join in their excitement as they  developed  a feeling of belonging  when Dewey made them all part of the band  in, “Your In the Band” (watch here).

Dewey  teaches  his band that the spirit of  Rock n Roll is to , "Stick it to the Man”. He encouraged them to use the energy  produced from things that made them angry. The students  rattled off what made them  angry such as  “parents that don’t pay attention to them” or  "being over scheduled”.  We all know children that might say the same thing (maybe even our own)!

The show is humorous, fun, and energetic. It reminds us that "Rock n Roll is not about being perfect" but about  expression or having a  voice.  

(School of Rock  that runs until Oct 22nd was  a great kick off to a PNC Broadway Series. I will continue to keep the Broadway series in my  survival tool box. The next  show, “Color Purple” runs form November  14th to  November 19th).              `

 Other source

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 240 Black Violin-Create your own path

My Blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book” reminds us to “be unique” and unique is  just what  you get with Black Violin. Classically trained violist (Wil B) and violinist (Kev Marcus)  fuse  classical music with hip hop, pop and rock. They call  their new musical genre “Classical Boom”. Their music is not just about a new sound but as Wil B  said during their show, it is about  “breaking stereotypes, thinking  outside the box and creating your own path.”

 I have always enjoyed the symphony and even a little violin/fiddle as in the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” but I never really listened to hip hop. I was curious how they would  put it all together.

Black Violin  exploded with energy from the start. I definitely picked out bits and pieces of familiar classical music as they played. Then they mixed in beat boxing rhythms and song hooks by using a DJ and/or a rock beat from a phenomenal  drummer.   They added the violin and viola to pop songs from Bruno  Mars (Uptown Funk), Ed Sheeran (The Shape of You) and Marvin Gaye (Let’s get it On).  

The audience was often on their feet scything an arm through the air in time with the beat and words. I particularly enjoyed the song “Invisible” from their third released album Stereotypes,  which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart and # 4 on Billboard R&B Chart (listen here).

Encore with students  from Hope Academy and Pittsburgh CAPA 

Black Violin’s  commitment to music outreach was evident  during the encore which was played with students from Hope Academy and Pittsburgh CAPA.  These school kids aging from 7 to 17, sounded terrific and their excitement for playing  string instruments  was infectious.

These two guys sure created their  own enjoyable musical  path and by doing so, encourage others to "think outside the box". 

(With their dedication to innovation and creativity this event and more are brought to Pittsburgh by  the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust , part of the 2017-2018 Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series.  I definitely will continue to see what new “outside the box” shows are next at

 Spiritual source
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2)

Other sources
Black Violin


Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 239- Pittsburgh Opera –Tosca-Romance, Loyalty, Love, and Deceit – An explosive musical experience

Mario and Tosca 
I have seen several  operas, some  modern (Day 212) and some classical (Day 143), but they have all been larger than life productions. What I love about the opera  is that it is not really about the story but about the way the set, voices, and symphony  combust  to produce the overall "operatic experience."  The best way to describe Puccini’s "Tosca" was a powerful  vocal and musical explosion!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 238-Equus- Pittsburgh Public Theater at the O’Reilly: the power of Worship

I have seen many plays but never one as powerful, as thought provoking, or as visually interesting  as Equus. Equus  tackles  the question that most of us ask when we hear about a horrific crime or event-“why?”  In this  drama,  Martin Dysart,  a child psychiatrist,  searches for the  source of  the pain in a  teenage boy,  Alan Strang, that birthed a horrific act of horse mutilation. As the  puzzle unfolds,  we discover  that the act of worshiping a  higher being  or thing can be a powerful  catalyst for good or evil.     

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day 237 Adam Ant-Palace Theater Greensburg-New Wave Icon Just Like I Remembered

I have recently enjoyed  several  tribute band’s recreations of  music from the 80’s and 90’s (see Days 220 and 222 ).  Adam Ant  is a UK  80’s Punk Rock/New Wave  icon.  I  remembered going to an  Adam Ant concert  as a 80's high school girl at the now long gone  Syria Mosque with my best friend Paul (who quiescently  changed his name to Adam). We dressed in “new wave” garb by wearing  black and white, garnishing our outfits with  safety pins  and adding  white stripes under our eyes. We   jumped like crazy to the energetic pulsating drum beat of Adam and the Ants.  When I heard that he was  touring again  I was off to a new venue, The Palace Theater in Greensburg, to see the real deal and once again experience  the high octane music of Adam Ant!