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What to do in Pittsburgh this weekend: April 5-7

A half-dressed man on a table looks at a person painting him.
Jason Snyder
Hansel Tan and Lisa Velten Smith star in "Scenes from an Execution," at Quantum Theatre.

Check out "Unblurred Takeover by BOOM" along Penn Avenue, or watch the new contemporary dance production "The Show of 1,000 Tomorrows" — here's what to do in Pittsburgh this weekend.

Visual Art
If you’re a fan of the creative-placemakers at BOOM Concepts, and of the venerable first-Fridays gallery crawl Unblurred, you’re in luck. This month’s Unblurred is a special Unblurred Takeover by BOOM, with on-site programming, curated exhibitions and more along Penn Avenue. Partners in the ventures in photography, dance, painting, sculpture, music, fashion and more include Silver Eye Center, Two Frays Brewery, Pedantic Arts and numerous individual artists. The action begins at 5 p.m. Fri., April 5.

World’s Fairs, with their hopeful visions of the future, used to have quite a hold on the popular imagination. Attack Theatre summons that era in its new contemporary dance production. “The Show of 1,000 Tomorrows” is set in the remnants of a World’s Fair and “embraces the boundaries of past, present and future.” There are five performances over two weekends starting Fri., April 5, at Attack Theatre Studios, in Lawrenceville.

Art imitates life a little too accurately for some tastes in Howard Barker’s “Scenes From an Execution,” opening in a new production by Quantum Theatre. The play, set in 16th-century Venice, concerns a rebellious woman painter named Galactia who, commissioned by the Doge to paint an epic work celebrating a big battle, offers a vision that raises hackles. Lisa Velten Smith stars. The show is staged in a former church owned by Allentown nonprofit Abiding Missions. It runs Fri., April 5, through April 27.

Visual Art
It’s sure to be one of Pittsburgh’s biggest art shows this year: “Vermeer, Monet, Rembrandt: Forging The Frick Collections in Pittsburgh and New York” features one painting by each of the aforementioned fellows, including two esteemed visitors: a Rembrandt self-portrait and “Girl Interrupted At Her Music,” one of only 36 Vermeers in the world. Works by Titian, Degas, Whistler, El Greco and more round out the 60-piece show, which draws on the Frick Pittsburgh’s collection as well as New York’s famed Frick Collection. The show opens Sat., April 6, and runs through July 14, but getting tickets early is recommended.

“Dinah: A Musical Revue” is a play by Ernest McCarty about famed vocalist Dinah Washington. And in the new production by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co., it’s also a chance to catch a top-this band of local jazz all-stars. Backing Delana Flowers as Washington are keyboardist Dwayne Fulton, bassist Dwayne Dolphin, saxophonist Tony Campbell and drummer Roger Humphries. The first performance is Sun., April 7, at the Hill District’s Madison Arts Center. The show runs through April 28.

In 2021, celebrated jazz composer Terrence Blanchard’s 2019 opera “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” became the first work by an African-American composer ever performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Now excerpts from the multiple-Grammy-winner’s work make their Pittsburgh debut. “Fire” is based on New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s memoir about confronting his history of sexual abuse. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust hosts Blanchard himself, vocalists Will Liverman and Adrienne Danrich, The E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet for the Tue., April 9, show at the Byham Theater.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: