March in Pittsburgh is a study in contrasts. The month that contains the first day of spring can also deliver the season’s last epic snowstorm. Whether it’s out like a lion or a lamb, there are plenty of terrific happenings to head to this month—from glass art to salsa dancing. So winter blues, we officially show you the door via our top 9 Pittsburgh events not to miss in March. For more details, check out our events section each week.
1. How I Learned What I Learned, March 5 – April 5, Pittsburgh Public Theater
Pittsburgh has been abuzz about a brand new documentary co-produced by WQED that celebrates the life and work of renowned playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson. If you missed its national PBS premiere on February 20, catch the premiere at Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s of How I Learned What I Learned. Wilson’s one-man play about coming of age in Pittsburgh—his final life’s work—stars stage, film and TV actor Eugene Lee. Part of PPT’s 40th anniversary Season of Legends, the work is co-conceived and directed by Todd Kreidler, author of the Broadway musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me.
Audiences will be transported to Pittsburgh’s Hill District during the pivotal year of 1965. Wilson shares his experiences dropping out of school at age 15 to write poetry, supporting himself by cutting grass and working at local landmarks Klein’s and Kroger’s and even dishing about his girlfriend Snookie. From a near duel at Downtown’s iconic Oyster House and the Christmas pageant in Sister Mary Eldephonse’s seventh grade class to hearing John Coltrane at the Crawford Grill, Wilson shares his insights, passion and outrage while documenting the neighborhood and its people. Born in 1945 in the Hill District, Wilson went on to become the first African American writer to have two plays running simultaneously on Broadway and one of seven American playwrights to win two Pulitzer Prizes.
Don’t miss PPT’s free panel discussion, The Making of a Playwright: August Wilson and Black Horizon Theatre, on March 16 at 7 p.m., which will be moderated by Larry Glasco and Chris Rawson. Purchase tickets.
2. ABC@PGC, March 6 – June 7, Pittsburgh Glass Center
Sometimes you step up to an artwork that is so visceral you just want to reach out and touch it. But then you remember the rules. Forget “do not touch” and head to PGC in Garfield for an immersive new exhibition that invites viewers to not only touch, but also to wear, artworks. Inviting visitors of all ages to actively encounter art, ABC@PGC playfully explores the more creative and exuberant side of the alphabet. Featuring colorful glass sculptures juxtaposed with an illuminated word building component that attendees can rearrange and wear like apparel, the enticing exhibit challenges assumptions about how art can be experienced in a gallery setting. Created by Seattle artists Jen Elek and Jeremy Bert, ABC boasts a primary color palette reminiscent of children’s play equipment, along with brilliantly hued blown glass assemblages, wall panels and mirrored objects, that will have you thinking more about what it means to actually look at something.
ABC will be augmented by free literacy-related activities offered in collaboration with local arts and tech organizations. Don’t miss the opening reception on March 6, where you can meet the artists, play word games and watch glassblowing demos. A Family Day with hands-on activities, storytelling, letter and word games and make-and-take glass projects is set for March 8.
3. History Uncorked: We Can Do It!, March 6, Heinz History Center
Dig out those shapely shoulder-padded frocks, statement jewels and wedge heels (and double-breasted suits for the dudes) and head to the Heinz History Center for Uncorked. Celebrating the Center’s upcoming exhibition, We Can Do It! WWII, which opens on April 25, this year’s benefit bash takes a cue from 1940s-inspired décor and fashion. Whether you’re more Rosie the Riveter or Joan Crawford, prepare to enjoy “The War Years” at one of Pittsburgh’s premier party spots for the young professional set. With five hours of ’40s-themed fun, revelers will enjoy music by DJ Mad Maxx, Wreck Loose and Zig Daniels, food and libations from 25 local purveyors and a signature silent auction.
Ready to get uncorked? Learn 1940s dance moves with Arthur Murray Dance Studio, relax with a Massage Envy session and snap a ’40s keepsake in the Shutterbooth. Added bonus: All History Center exhibitions will be open throughout the event. Uncorked is expected to draw 1,500-plus, so don’t delay in getting tickets.