Northside theatre festival to create unmatched atmosphere


Photo by Sabrina Romano

Hudson Rush of Wilkinsburg performs a section of her performance-art piece “Resurrection” at Bistro to Go in Historic Deutschtown Wednesday, March 25 during a preview of the second annual Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, which will take place May 8-10 at several Northside locations. Rush hopes to encourage people to live life to the fullest through her skit.

By Sabrina Romano

Just based on the event’s preview at Bistro to Go in Historic Deutschtown Wednesday, March 25, edginess, passion and a great performance are some things the Northside community can expect from the upcoming, second annual Pittsburgh Fringe Festival May 8-10. At the sneak peek, 10 performers and directors gave the audience a glimpse of their festival performances.

Victor Capone, the festival’s project manager, helped secure venues and plan the festival.

“It is a weekend-long festival with about 25 different shows that’ll be going on like a marathon, just in the Northside,” Capone explained. “There is one show that is site-specific and I don’t know if they’ve named their site so that might be out of the neighborhood. But the other ones are all here.”

Performances will take place in several places across Historic and East Deutschtown, and Central Northside. There are four sponsor hosts in Bistro to Go, Randy Land, City of Asylum and Max’s Allegheny Tavern, while New Bohemian and Neu Kirche will also be holding events.

“We want people to be able to come to a show and maybe see a few shows and around here, you can get a meal, you can (get) the historic feel of the neighborhood,” Capone said.

The festival-goers can expect a wide-range of performances.

“It’s mostly like plays, musicals,” Capone said. “It includes puppet shows. There’s an opera. A few of them are like stories”

Nick Hrutkay, a North Shore resident, is directing a play called “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” this year.  He gave the audience a short synopsis of his play at the event preview.

“It’s a cult musical about a transgender rock singer from East Berlin. And she’s giving a one-night-only concert chronicling her life while following the tour of her ex-lover, who is a mega rock star,” Hrutkay explained.

This is Hrutkay’s second time taking part in Pittsburgh’s Fringe Festival. Last year, he directed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I love all the non-mainstream stuff that comes,” Hrutkay said. “It’s stuff that you wouldn’t see at traditional theatres. And I think it also gives a change for emerging artists to really get their work out there.”

Hudson Rush, a resident of Wilkinsburg, briefly performed part of her piece at the event preview. She plans to do an interactive performance that makes the audience think about their choices and aspirations in the wake of their hypothetical death.

“At this point, what I want is for people to come and do chalk outlines and while I am doing the chalk outline of each person that participates, I would like them to think about one or numerous things that keep them from truly living their lives to the fullest,” Rush explained.

Rush decided to take part in this year’s fest because she found it to be a good outlet for her work and to become part of Pittsburgh’s theatre and art community.

“The one thing I feared all my life is to really start to do what I’ve always wanted to do which is performing and writing and creating art. I thought what a better format where there is really no holds barred as far as what you want to do,” Rush said. “They want you to get people to participate and it’s a great way to get into the community.”

Robert Miles of Historic Deutschtown attended the preview and is excited for the actual festival in May.

He found out about Fringe Festival recently after finding them on Facebook and now he also follows them on Twitter.

“I guess what I am kind of curious about is how they are going to approach whatever theatre they’re doing,” Miles said. “I like the fact that they are trying to bring something new to this neighborhood in this vain. We have that New Hazlett Theatre over here but nothing quite like this. It really reminds me of New York or Chicago.”

DSC_9321Photo by Sabrina Romano

Michael McGovern previewed three Dracula skits at Bistro to Go in Historic Deutschtown Wednesday, March 25 during a preview of the second annual Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.



Editor’s note: Fringe Festival co-founder Emily Selke, 22, originally from Nokesville, Va. and a 2013 graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia was one of three Americans who died in the Germanwings plane crash Tuesday, March 24 in the southern French Alps, according to the Associated Press. She was traveling with her mother, Yvonne, who was a U.S. government contractor.

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