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’!

Youth is full of sport – a review of “Much Ado About Nothing”

Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant Steven Wilson’s new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Pittsburgh Playhouse takes risks – and reaps the rewards. Wilson not only wrote the adaptation, but he directs the production. Wilson’s adaptation takes place in World War II-era Italy after the Italians have allied with the U.S. He… Read more »

We’ll Have Nun of That – A review of “Over the Tavern”

By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant In the 1950’s in upper state New York the Pazinski’s, a Polish Catholic family, live above Chet’s Bar and Grill, the eponymous establishment run by Chet Pazinski (Steven F. Gallagher). Chet and his wife Ellen (Megan May) have four teenage children, Rudy (Dylan Lawton), Georgie (Ben Meyer), Annie (Delilah Hartlage)… Read more »

Dark Lady – a review of “The Woman in Black”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant Mr. Arthur Kipps (Martin Giles) hires an Actor (James FitzGerald) to help him tell a frightening story from his past in Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s Gothic horror novel, “The Woman in Black.” In the prior year, Kipps sequesters himself from his family on Christmas Eve because they… Read more »

Love, Labor and Loss – a review of “Shakespeare’s Will”

  By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant On the night of his funeral, Anne Hathaway (Sheila McKenna) recounts her love, labors and her losses in Vern Thiessen’s “Shakespeare’s Will.” She tells the tale of meeting young William Shakespeare, her future husband, at the fair in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the town where the two grew up. She details… Read more »

Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit – a review of “Blithe Spirit”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant The Condomines are hosting an unusual dinner party. Charles (Eric Leslie) and Ruth (Stacey Rosleck) have invited the Dr. & Mrs. Bradman (Rick Bryant and Aleta Richmond) and the eccentric Madame Arcati (Ina Block) to hold a séance in Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.” Charles, a skeptic, is researching mediums… Read more »

Don’t Rub Me the Wrong Way – a review of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr”

By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant In the town of Agrabah, Aladdin (Joseph Stater) and his group of pals Babkak (Ben Heavner), Omar (Max Peluso), and Kassim (Joshua Price) verge on the edge of “badness.” Aladdin steals loaf of bread at the local market. Even though he’s hungry and has no money, he gives the loaf… Read more »

Our House – a review of “Next to Normal”

Tiffany Raymond, ‘Burgh Vivant When you think of musicals, one tends to think of lighter fare. There’s nothing light about the musical “Next to Normal” (book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey). This modern-day “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” unflinchingly delves into the world of mental illness. The most compelling thing about this musical is… Read more »

Fleeced – a review of “Not Medea”

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh In 431 B.C., Euripides shocked theater-goers in Athens with a sympathetic portrayal of one of Greece’s great mythological characters, Medea, a woman who decides to enact vengeance after her husband spurns her for another woman. But playwright Allison Gregory revisits this story in a unique and unusual way in “Not… Read more »