With both “Hamilton” and Cirque du Soleil rolling into town, January is shaping up to be a cultural powerhouse. Add in Blood Mary and barrel-aged beer festivals, and what’s not to love about 2019?
1. Hamilton at the Benedum Center: January 1 – 27
Pittsburghers have anxiously awaited the esteemed arrival of Hamilton since March 2017 when the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced local dates for the legendary musical. Then we almost broke the Internet in November vying for tickets. Showcasing a score fusing hip-hop, jazz and Broadway tunes, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical weaves the remarkable life story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Still ticketless? Do not despair: A special digital lottery for $10 (!) tickets starts Dec. 30, and 40 tickets will be sold for each performance. Learn more here and good luck!
2. Adam Green’s Aladdin at The Andy Warhol Museum: January 11, 8 p.m.
Maybe you’ve been a fan since his lo-fi hero days with The Moldy Peaches — the duo he co-founded with Kimya Dawson whose music was featured in the Oscar-winning film “Juno.” Or you dig his expressionistic visual art and solo albums. Anyone with an ounce of admiration for Adam Green shouldn’t miss this magnificence. Green’s second film — which he wrote, directs and stars in — is a contemporary twist on Arabian Nights. In Green’s world, “the lamp is a 3-D printer, the princess is a decadent socialite, the planet gets a sex-change and its population prints out an analog version of the Internet.” As papier–mâché sets come to life, the immersive fantasy stars eclectic actors like Macaulay Culkin, Natasha Lyonne and Francesco Clemente. Before the film, Green will perform a solo acoustic set. Buy tickets.
3. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: January 14-20
Take a seat at some of Pittsburgh’s hottest restaurants to savor multi-course, top-notch dinners without breaking the bank, because they’re specially priced at $20.19 and $35.19. From tried and true establishments like the Hyeholde and Morton’s Steakhouse to newer food destinations on the scene such as Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Downtown, Seasons in Etna and Superior Motors in Braddock — there’s a flavor to satisfy every palate. Don’t miss delicious deals at DiAnoia’s Eatery, Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille, Sienna Mercato and many more. Diners can neighborhood-hop while experiencing the city’s award-winning dining scene. Learn more.
4. Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo at PPG Paints Arena: January 16 to 20
A 41-foot-long turntable. A labyrinth that replicates the floor of Chartres Cathedral. A cast representing 18 different nationalities wearing 260 distinct costumes. If your curiosity is piqued, then the hairs on the back of your neck will bristle when Cirque du Soleil’s magnificent “Corteo” soars into town. Explore a theatrical terrain where tragedy and magic mix, where lines between illusion and reality are blurred and where 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors guide you along a joyous procession. Watch in awe as high-flying performers navigate a grand set housing 600-pound rotating beds, curtains inspired by the Eiffel Tower, and giant chandeliers made of 4,000 jewels. Buy tickets.
5. Good Wood Barrel-Aged Beer Festival at East End Brewing: January 19. 6-9 p.m.
Two of Pittsburgh’s top libation luminaries are teaming up to warm you up this winter. East End Brewing Co. and Wigle Whiskey know that the best cure for the winter blues is a pairing of barrel-aged beers and expertly distilled spirits. That’s why they’re co-hosting this mouth-watering wintery froth fest in Larimer, where the best barrel-aged beers from 20 area breweries will be on tap and ready for tasting. Representing all corners of the region, purveyors include everyone from Allegheny City Brewing, Butler Brew Works and Hop Farm, to Hitchhiker, Full Pint and Rusty Gold. Tickets include a keepsake snifter glass. There’s also a designated driver ticket for samples of East End’s refreshing homemade ginger ale. Buy tickets.
6. Let Freedom Sing Concerts at Ebenezer Baptist Church and Byham Theater: January 19 & 21, 7 p.m.
The power of music will shine a light on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at this cherished Pittsburgh tradition. Blending uplifting choral music, powerful oratory and evocative contemporary dance, the production will embody the vision and wisdom the of the Civil Rights leader. Filling the stage with song will be choirs from Mt. Ararat and Ebenezer Baptist Churches, Heritage Gospel Chorale, Temple Sinai, Lemington Chorale, CAPA and Woodland Hills High Schools and Greater Pittsburgh Unitarian Universalist Churches. Directed by Trini Lopez Massie, the concerts will also feature the DANA Movement Ensemble, Staycee Pearl Dance Project and Soy Sos. At Saturday’s free concert, donations will be accepted for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Tickets for Monday’s event start at just $1.50.