Asia in Pittsburgh and the Talented Marshalls

A busy week-end in the Burgh, events everywhere, including the Pens. But that is for the next blog. 

This is about film and theatre, and how the city continues to be, not just a location for movies, but an environment for foreign film festivals, and the celebration of musical theatre. All in the same week-end. 

For three years, I have been fortunate enough to be involved with the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, albeit, peripherally.  It’s first year, it got praise from The Wall Street Journal, and the Gala Friday night was the best yet. It was complete with a wealth of cultural performances–

Lion Dances, Indian Fusion Dances, Phillippine tininkling(their national dance),

 to name just a few.  Great food, and the premiere of the first film of the festival.  The Festival lasts thru May 18, and you can catch the movies at the Harris, Melwood, or Regent Square. They have been carefully selected, and cover a wide rage of issues, cultures, and cinematic styles. 

It also attracts some of the top young Asian actors, one of whom is from Monroeville, and is co-starring in the new Michael Myers movie, “The Love Guru,” premiering June 20. 

Manu Narayan  is on the far right. He told me that he met so many people with Pittsburgh connections on the set of Guru. That always seems to be the case. He said even Jessica Alba is a huge Steelers fan. I can’t wait to see the film . The other guy is from Serbia, Radovan Jovicevic. He is a guitarist and composer, and he and Manu, lead singer and saxophonist, formed the Neo World Rock band, Darunam. Their first EP and music video was “All That’s Beautiful Must Die”–  a fusion of Indian, American, and the Balkans. Got it in the gift bag. Love free stuff. Especially when it is good. 

And the young lady, is Ruby Jain, who helped put the Red Carpet Gala together. Not knowing the Pens were going to be in the Eastern Conference Finals when the date was chosen months ago, it did conflict with the gmae that night, so we had to settle for announcing the score periodically, and watching on DVR’s later. 

 Saturday night, the Pittsburgh CLO honored Rob and Kathleen Marshall with their Richard Rodgers Award for excellence in musical theatre(this photo is not from that evening). It is the tenth one given, and previous recipients have included Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Stephen Sondheim. CLO was gracious enough to make the Marshall siblings available for an interview, and I was so excited to meet them. They are so brilliant, yet so accessible, and just delightful. They started in CLO as kids–Rob was 12, Kathleen 10, and their sister, Rob’s twin, Maura, was also part of their first foray into performance–The Sound of Music. They were the Von Trapp children.  As everyone around here knows, Rob went on to choreograph, and direct on Broadway, as did his sister. They both have been nominated for and have won Tonys, and in his directorial debut in film, he was nominated for an Oscar for “Chicago.” He also directed “Memoirs of a Geisha.” I didn’t get to go the the Gala that night, but after the interview, I was told that Harry Connick, Jr. was going to walk in and surprise Kathleen. He is returning to Broadway to appear in a show she is directing next year. And Rob talked a little about losing Javier Bardem from his upcoming movie musical, “Nine.” Rob said it is true, Bardem pulled out because of exhaustion, but he hinted that someone very special would replace him.  I wonder if it could be……Johnny Depp???? Merely my personal speculation.

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