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Storytelling @ Riley’s Presents: Masks

October 25th, 2014

masksThis month at Riley’s we’ll be telling stories about masks. Think Halloween, theatre, deception, and the roles people play in everyday life. The theme is open to a variety of interpretations, and we’re looking forward to hearing yours.

If your interested in sharing a story, you can let us know by posting to our event page or signing up at Riley’s on the night of the event, October 28. We’re interested in told stories running approximately ten minutes, similar to the stories featured on Moth Radio.

Michael McBurney

Our featured guest this evening are members of The Throughline Theatre, storytellers who enthralled a standing-room audience back in June with their Stories from the Theatre.

Among the returning storytellers is Michael McBurney, whose previous story, “The Best Dr. Pepper I Ever Had,” made for one of this year’s stand-out story performances. An audio of that performance is available at a previous blog post and can be accessed by clicking here.

Michael is currently starring in Throughline’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. His previous shows with Throughline include Saving the World, Arsenic and Old Lace, and August: Osage County. He has also worked  with Alarum Theatre, the Duquesne Red Masquers and the Summer Company at Duquesne. We’re excited to have him back.

Lazel LeroyHazel Leroy studied Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism at University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pittsburgh and currently teaches at Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts. Active in the city’s theatre scene, she has added her talents to a number of Throughline Theatre productions, among them the recent world premier of C. S. Wyatt’s A New Death.

In her previous appearance at Riley’s, Hezel shared a story about a George Bernard Shaw production that suffered (or perhaps benefited) from a major prop malfunction. You can year that story by clicking on the player below, and you can hear Hazel’s new story by attending this month’s Storytelling Night.

Pat HeadshotAlso joining us will be Patrick Conner, a member of the Board of Throughline Theatre Company who has served the company as both an actor and dramaturg for various productions over the past few years.  He graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in English Literature, and served as a professor at West Virginia University for 34 years before his retirement in 2010.

This month will mark Patrick’s Storytelling Night debut, and we’re delighted to be welcoming him aboard.

Throughline TheatreIf all of this wasn’t inducement enough to attend this month’s Storytelling Night @ Riley’s, the evening will also feature two story monologues from Throughline’s current production, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The monologues will be presented off-book (in the tradition of great storytelling), and each will center on the story of Judas Iscariot, who wore one of the most deceptive masks of all. The storyrtellers for this segment will be Amy Portenlanger and Kevin H. Moore.

Amy Portlenlanger

Amy Portenlanger has performed in six mainstage production with Throughline,among them August Osage County, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and Arsenic and Old Lace. She currently plays the roles of Gloria and Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

She has also performed with several other companies around Pittsburgh, including The Cabaret at Theater Square, South Park Theater, Terra Nova, The Steel City Improv Theater, and The New Hazlett.

Kevin MooreKevin H. Moore earned his BA in Acting and BSW in Social Work from Slippery Rock University. He is currently a part of Saltworks Theater’s touring company and has performed with Pittsburgh Classic Players and Slippery Rock/Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His performance as two of the characters in Iscariot marks his debut with Throughline. Likewise, this will be his first appearance at Riley’s.

At the close of this month’s event, we will be giving away three pairs of tickets to The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. For a chance to win, all you need to do is be there. It’s our way of thanking you for supporting one of the city’s most exiting storytelling venues .

Riley’s Pour House is located at 215 East Main Street in Carnegie. Sign-ups begin at 7:15. Stories begin at 8:00 and continue until 9:30 (or until the last story’s told). Masks are optional.

Hope to see you there! Until then, scop on!


More Highlights from Stories @ Riley’s

July 24th, 2014

New Death

So much to do . . . so little time!

If you live in the western Pennsylvania area, the next few days are going to offer something for everyone: the world-premier comedy A New Death at The Throughline Theatre in Lawrenceville (currently running through July 26), the Confluence science fiction convention in Mars (July 25-27), and our monthly Storytelling Night at Riley’s Pour House in Carnegie (July 29).


Interestingly, some of the people central to this week’s Throughline and Confluence events were featured at last month’s Storytelling Night, which makes this a good time to post more Storytelling podcasts.

SONY DSCAs regulars to this blog know, Storytelling Night @ Riley takes place on the last Tuesday of every month, and each night centers on a theme. Last month’s theme was theatre stories, and the event featured stories by Michael McBurney and Sean Sears (both featured in previous blogs); C. S. Wyatt, Joe Coluccio, and Pete Grubbs (all featured below), and Hazel Carr Leroy, whom I hope to feature in an upcoming blog.

C. S. Wyatt is the author of A New Death, which premiered last week at Throughline Theatre and continues through this weekend. I’m going to see it tonight, and–judging from the story C. S. told at Riley’s last month–I’m sure I’m in for a night of laughs and insights into the ironies of everyday life. You can listen to the audio of that performance by clicking the player below. Enjoy . . . and then be sure to scroll down for the stories by Joe Coluccio and Pete Grubbs.

In addition to being a fine storyteller, performer, radio personality, and all-around good guy, Joe Coluccio serves a president of PARSEC — an organization that bills itself as Pittsburgh’s Premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization. This weekend, PARCEC will be hosting its annual science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA. I’ll be there . . . and so will Joe Coluccio.

One of the appeals of Confluence is its strong literary focus. Whereas some events billing themselves as science fiction conventions focus more on movies and gaming, Confluence prides itself in being predominately a literary convention. It also features the work of artists who perform stories in the most ancient of all literary traditions — the art of song. So if you’re attending Confluence, be prepared to listen to some of today’s top genre writers talking about and reading from their work. But you can also expect to hear some incredible musicians. One of those musicians will be Pete Grubbs, who this year will be performing as Confluence’s Filksinger Emeritus. Yes, that’s filk singer. For more information on filking, click here. For a story by Pete Grubbs, click below.

I hope all of this is enough to encourage you to check out both Throughline and Confluence, and I definitely hope that the stories have you considering turning out for the July 29th installment of Storytelling Night @ Riley’s. Our theme this time will be Midsummer Night Stories (think summer vacation, first love, and campfire tales!), and — weather permitting — we hope to hold the event on Riley’s new outdoor stage.

Stories beneath the stars! What’s not to love?

Scop on!

connolly bio blogThe host of Storytelling Night at Riley’s: Bram Stoker Award finalist Lawrence C. Connolly is the author of the Veins Cycle books, the first of which, Veins, has just been released in a special Kindle edition from Fantasist Enterprises.  The third book in the series, Vortex, will debut in print and ebook later this year.