Wonder of the World is absolutely delightful. I can't remember laughing so hard so often at a theatrical production in a long time.
The play is a massively dark comedy set mostly in Niagara Falls -- so if you bear a torch for things like the Maid of the Mist, insanely kitschy theme restaurants, and idle threats of suicide, then this production really has your number.
I won't delve into each generously hammed-up performance -- the whole ensemble did brilliantly, especially after the minibar came into play. But I will say that David Flick portrays a sweater-vest who suffers from an embarrassing compulsion that I personally happen to share -- and he does so with a combination of sensitivity and grace that does our whole society a long-overdue service.
In my opinion, the Open Stage Theater itself rather stole the show. The street address reads Smallman St., but the entrance is actually on Railroad St., so one can really consider it Off-Off-Penn Ave, so to speak. The joint seats only about 60 patrons in just three rows forming an L around the performance space, so one enters feeling prepared to sacrifice production values for intimacy. However, the innovative use of a flat-screen monitor and lovingly produced digital footage, as well as set design that is creative when it must be but doesn't try to do too much with the challenging material makes patrons feel outright spoiled considering.
Again: laughing gas. You go now.
Somehow we wound up on the Media Matters distribution list. They'd like you to know about Our Tribune Review publishing "false Heritage Foundation claims about autoworker compensation", and about Our Jim Quinn urging a response to terror in Mumbai regardless of whether "a lot of peaceful Muslims" are hit. Forwarded without comment.
Better still, somehow we wound up on the Don Walko distribution list. Gov. Rendell signed his anti-blight legislation into law. This gives owners, neighbors, leinholders, non-profits and others more tools to use at the court of common pleas. Read about it.
BREAKING, DRUDGE SIREN, EXCLUSIVE: Best of all, somehow we wound up on the Chelsa Wagner distribution list. A lengthy missive opens thusly:
After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to run for Mayor at this time. Though I fervently believe that we need strong leadership and vision at all levels of government, my constituents have elected me to represent those values in Harrisburg.
Yada, my 22nd Legislative District, yada, Obama, transporation, regional priorities, yada ...
The Mayor's race, however it evolves, must address how our City can reestablish itself as a strong regional core. We must discourage sprawl and the temptation to develop further and further away from our urban core. We must promote smart growth strategies to attract major projects and jobs to the center city that utilize and compliment existing developments, infrastructure and amenities. We must ensure that all 88 neighborhoods in this City are livable, not merely a select few. We also must address the burgeoning gorilla in the room: our City's unfunded pension, while also implementing new and innovative ways to deliver City service more efficiently and effectively. While this City has made strides under Act 47 state oversight, it is not out of the woods, as both revenues and expenditures are not yet steady. This is a crucial time for our City, and while I work on these objectives as a state official, I am hopeful that our City officials, particularly our Mayor, will seize the moment and establish a vision that solidifies Pittsburgh's destiny for years to come. As always, I am extremely proud to be a Pittsburgher and hold at the highest level of esteem for my position as an elected official representing a large portion of this City. I remain committed to serving this City and its wonderful residents in the way that I may be of greatest assistance.