As the weather starts to cool, our weekend activities seem to disappear. But don’t fret, Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, located between the Convention Center and Stanwix Street, offers some fantastic local theater, music, and entertainment. These 14-square blocks contain a plethora of restaurants, retail stores, public parks, seven world-class theaters, art installations, and distinguished art galleries to explore.
The Cultural District is Downtown Pittsburgh’s center for an amazing art and entertainment scene that includes everything from classical theater, ballet, and opera to modern dance, music, and musical theater. Always a hub for activity, the Cultural District provides fun and recreational productions all year round, but is a great activity for the colder weather seasons. Dedicated to providing the best local entertainment geared towards a romantic date night, a night of merriment with old and new friends, or family themed productions.
Below is a list of some of the incredible theater, dance, and music companies that feature prominently, all year long, in the Cultural District’s event schedule.
Hailed as one of the nation’s premiere regional theaters, the Pittsburgh CLO believes that a community can be brought together by great live musical theater. It’s critically acclaimed summer season has launched the careers of many actors and performers, welcomes a wide variety of Broadway stars to its stages, and is an integral part in making Pittsburgh a must stop cultural destination.
Even better, the Pittsburgh CLO provides year-round entertainment at the CLO Cabaret, provides world class performance training at their Academy, hosts the Gene Kelly Awards to recognize the local young talent this region has to offer, and makes it their mission to develop new musicals and plays ensuring a future for live theater. Most of these shows take place at the Benedum Center, one of Pittsburgh’s most beautiful and historic theaters, which offers audiences a chance to feel a part of history.
Because the CLO has asserted itself as an investor and producer for many Broadway shows, they have made it possible for new and award-winning shows to be brought to our audiences directly from Broadway. Fascinatingly, in 2014, the CLO helped to originate a new Broadway musical with the Tony nominated musical An American in Paris, keeping in tradition with their mission to provide local audiences with world class shows.
For this season’s show lineup, check out their website here.
PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh
Similar to the Pittsburgh CLO, PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh provides patrons with live musical theater projects. However, this series features shows from new and revival touring Broadway shows that are directly from New York. Many of these shows are Tony Award winning and nominated shows that sometimes feature the original stars of the show as one time only performances (in the case of Billy Porter coming back to his hometown of Pittsburgh to perform his Tony Award winning role in Kinky Boots).
This coming season, there are 7 award winning shows to choose from. They are: Finding Neverland, A Christmas Story, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Something Rotten, The King and I, Fun Home, and An American in Paris.
For more information you can visit their website.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theater
Based in the Strip District, just blocks from the Cultural District lays the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, a company that has been performing beautiful works of ballet in Pittsburgh since its debut in 1970. Since then, they have been performing at the immaculate Heinz Hall, the central figure of the Cultural District. This wonderful company of dancers, choreographers, instructors, directors, producers, and musicians, perform classical works (The nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, etc.) and contemporary productions.
They are also very active within the surrounding Pittsburgh areas, providing classes and performances to children and adults all over the areas. To find out when they will be performing next, make sure to visit them here.
As the seventh oldest opera company in America, the Pittsburgh Opera begin in 1939 and has a rich legacy of producing international quality operas, performing at the Carnegie Music Hall located in Oakland. Over the years they have moved venues, from Heinz Hall and the Benedum Center, to their permanent home which resides in the Strip District. This move gave them more room and space to rehearse for shows they perform at the Benedum.
Throughout the year, you can enjoy performances that range from the classics to modern operas. The Pittsburgh Opera is also very heavily involved in cultivating and enriching the community through education programs. Also interesting is that “the internationally-renowned Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program is among the country’s top five training centers for rising opera stars and the newly designed administrative and rehearsal space provides for events ranging from free community Brown Bag concerts to concert recitals by world-class opera singers.”
If you are interested in learning more you can do so here.
Pittsburgh Public Theater
If musical theater, opera, and ballet are really your cup of tea, the Pittsburgh Public Theater might be the place for you. They are a contemporary theater company, located right next to the acclaimed restaurant Meat & Potatoes, in the O’Reilly Theater, that offers a unique viewing experience for the audience. Its three-quarter thrust stage allows the viewers to watch the performance from three sides, allowing you to really feel like you are a part of the action. Don’t be alarmed by the word contemporary, they perform all types of works from classical and modern American theater pieces to international classical and modern plays. The really cool part of this company is that they bring in well-known actors and directors to star in the stunning productions which gives you a New York theater feel right here in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Public Theater endeavors challenge your thinking and entertain you while also providing amazing educational opportunities for actors, directors, and writers of all ages. Make sure to check out their schedule of upcoming shows here.
Pittsburgh is a recognized as the “City of Champions” because of our great sports teams, but many people forget about the world class theaters and companies that reside in our city as well. This fall and winter, we suggest you check out any and/or all of these theater, dance, and music companies. You definitely will not regret your decision to spend the evening enjoying the distinguished entertainment, food, and atmosphere of the Cultural District.