Pittsburgh CLO Data Landing at Heinz Area’s 75th Broadway Anniversary | Theater | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Pittsburgh CLO Star Wizard of Oz In front of the Heinz Field stage: Scarecrow, Jessica Grove (Dorothy), Evan Ruggero (Briki Woodman), Drury Williams (Lion)

The Pittsburgh CLO has returned in the dark for a year due to a pandemic, but not as much as many would expect. Instead of the Benedam Center in downtown Pittsburgh, the theater company at the Pittsburgh Steelers home made unprecedented returns, trading football helmets and black and gold jerseys for witch hats and yellow brick streets. We will debut in the summer of 2021. Opening round, Wizard of Oz, In Heinz Field.

“Toto, we are no longer in Benedum,” says CLO Executive Producer Michael Freishire. In the end zone, two series of shows entitled “Summer Under the Stars” with the aforementioned Frank Oz classic and Pittsburgh CLO will be set up to showcase the theater’s most talented actors. Musical celebration on Broadway To commemorate the company’s 75th anniversary. American idol Clay Aiken, a graduate originally slated to play The Drowsy Chaperon at the Benedam Center this July, before the pandemic forced the CLO to cancel the Pittsburgh CLO Orchestra. The extraordinary location offers space for up to 4,000 guests, including tables and chairs directly in the field in front of the stage.

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CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Pittsburgh CLO dancer Wizard of Oz in Heinz Field’s rehearsal room.

Wizard of Oz, the first in the series, which begins Thursday July 8th, will run through July 10th.

“It’s a show loved by grandmothers, grandfathers, grandchildren and everyone in between,” says Freisher. “I thought it was the perfect show to get my neighbors and family outside.”

The first day of rehearsals was Thursday, July 1st. The sky was gray and the humidity of midsummer was in the air, but that didn’t seem to bother the performers. Wizard of Oz .. The stars of the show, who play Dorothy (Jessica Grove), Tinman (Evan Ruggero), Scarecrow (Dan Deluca) and Lion (Drew Lee Williams), are thrilled when they take the stage for the first time in Heinz Feld . I had a feeling “Summer Under the Stars” returns to the stage for the first time in over a year.

“If you’re from Pittsburgh, you love the sport in Pittsburgh, and that’s the biggest thing, so it’s very exciting to play a musical in the NFL,” says DeLuca. “It’s a sense of community and a homely feeling.”

CLO original work, Broadway Musical Celebration Continue Oz, will be released on Wednesday July 21st and will run through July 24th. A 90-minute ode to Broadway with iconic Broadway numbers and a medley of various Broadway musicals. Mamma Mia, In Heights, Color Purple and An American in Paris ..

click to enlarge Melessie Clark (Glinda) practices with music director James Cunningham at Heinz Field for The Wizard of Oz in Pittsburgh CLO.  - CP Photo: KAYCEE ORWIG

CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Melessie Clark (Glinda) practices with Music Director James Cunningham at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh CLO. The Wizard of Oz.

According to Freisher, CLO has many famous Broadway Musical Celebration graduates, including Aiken, a Pittsburgh City Paper called “Fab-u-lous” As a Teenage Angel at CLO’s 2019 Grease performance. Approximately 13 prominent graduates will attend, including Norm Lewis, Robert Fairchild, Joe Serafini, and Ali Ewoldt.

“It’s a Broadway celebration,” says Freisher. “This is a CLO celebration. A Pittsburgh celebration. ”

In order to maximize the production of each show, according to Freisher, CLO hires experts from New York and is usually involved in the production of live concerts. Lighting designer Andrew Giffin, who previously competed in the Pittsburgh CLO and won the 2014 Gene Kelly Awards, has been involved in prestigious events including Justin Bieber. believe world tour.

The stage used by the Pittsburgh CLO was originally located on Auckland’s Flagstaff Hill, with additional runways on either side of the stage. When it comes to landscapes, instead of the traditional background, we incorporate a huge digital video wall. CLO also has multiple IMAX screens per stage, on which Steelers-provided cameras capture live close-ups of the performers during the performance of people sitting off-stage.

click to enlarge Youth ensembles practice dancing in Heinz Field.  - CP Photo: KAYCEE ORWIG

CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Youth ensembles practice dancing in Heinz Field.

Freisher said there will be no mandatory COVID-related safety measures such as mask requirements. However, the tables in the field are about 6 feet apart. He adds that Heinz Field offers an abundance of spaces for guests to sit in the stadium seats near or far from others.

The Heinz Field season also marks the retreat of the Pittsburgh CLO, which first opened at Pittsburgh Stadium in 1946.

After a year of catastrophic isolation from the coronavirus pandemic, the Pittsburgh CLO wants to revive the community with musicals and return to its roots.

“We went to the Steelers and they couldn’t have been more graceful,” says Freishser. “”[The Steelers and Pittsburgh CLO] Both of them are here to take care of the community and I think it would be great. ”

When the Pittsburgh CLO announced a permanent closure in April 2020, the CLO lost 252 performances and the academy switched to online learning. During this time, the organization said: “Raise the curtain” “It really worked,” said Freisher. The CLO formed a theater company and raised enough to revive the show when conditions permit.

“I have to say, and I’m sure you can speak to any theater or non-profit in town, no matter what they are offering, this town is for all of us. We strengthened ourselves by making sure we were on the other side, ”says Freisher. “Pittsburgh is very proud of the institution.”

Summer Under the Stars, Broadway 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Pittsburgh CLO. 8-10 July 21-24 July. Heinz Field. 100 Art Rooney Avenue, north side. $ 15-85. pittsburghclo.org

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