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New restaurant planned for Theater Square in Cultural District | TribLIVE.com
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New restaurant planned for Theater Square in Cultural District

Disappointment over the recent closing of the Seventh Street Grille was tempered last week by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s announcement that Toni Pais of the East End restarurants Baum Vivant and Cafe Zinho plans to open an additional restaurant in the Theater Square building.

Cafe Zao is expected to open in late January, just in time to serve the crowds of ticket holders heading to “The Lion King.”

Cafe Zao, Portuguese for big cafe, will occupy 3,000 square feet on the ground floor of the Theater Square complex at 649 Penn Ave., the building between the O’Reilly Theater and Katz Plaza.

Open seven days a week, it will seat 75 and serve a fusion cuisine with Portuguese, Northern Italian, French and American influences in a setting that falls in between fine and casual dining. Pais expects it to attract not just those heading to or lingering after Cultural District attractions but diners in search of a singular dining experience.

Dark Night’s new home

The Dark Night Cabaret begins its new season Monday in a new home.

The performance series has moved from its former venue in the University of Pittsburgh’s Henry Heymann Theatre to the Studio Theatre in the basement of the University’s Cathedral of Learning at Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard in Oakland.

Among this month’s offerings is a sneak preview of the upcoming Pitt Repertory Theatre production of Edward Albee’s “Everything in the Garden,” directed by Jeff Cordell.

Excerpts from the dark comedy are on the program that begins at 8 p.m. Monday.

Also on the bill: Show host Robert Isenberg will read from his new serial novel “Soma”; American singer Lyse (aka Lisa Jarvis) will perform her original Japanese lyrics set to the music of composer and Pitt Japanese and business student John Gorr; and Paul Tabachneck and his new power pop quartet Everybody Wins will perform songs from their upcoming release “Sleeping with Strangers.”

Admission: $5; $4 with student I.D. Details: (412) 683-4667.

Scholarship awarded

Greensburg native Meghan Greiner is the winner of the Orchard Performing Arts Company’s 2003 Marietta Adams Memorial Scholarship.

Each year, Orchard Performing Arts Company, better known to theatergoers as Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont, awards a $1,000 scholarship to a college freshman who plans to pursue an interest in theater.

Greiner, a Hempfield High School graduate, has worked at Apple Hill for three summers as a stage manager and set builder. She was also active in productions at her high school and has appeared in shows such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Annie” and “Cinderella.”

Now a student at St. Vincent College, she plans to become a high school teacher and theater sponsor.

Reading of ‘Yo; Mama’

On Friday, for one night only, Open Stage Theatre will present a staged reading of playwright Heather Scarlet Arnet’s comic look at parenthood “Yo; Mama.”

The performance is a benefit for Open Stage Theatre’s new space at 2835 Smallman St. in the Strip District.

The reading begins at 8 p.m. Friday and is followed by a wine-and-dessert reception with the cast. Tickets are $75.

Details: (412) 257-4056.

Local man receives honor

Dr. Vernell A. Lillie has received the 2003 Career Achievement in Education Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

The association is a national organization of individuals and institutions that provides vision and leadership in theater education and promotes excellence in the profession.

Lillie, the artistic director and one of the founders of Kuntu Repertory Theatre, is an associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Africana Studies, a board member of City Theatre Community Media and a consultant for the Black Theatre Network.


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