Disney’s THE LION KING: PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh

Disclaimer: In exchange for sharing details about theupcoming Disney’s THE LION KING Performance coming to Pittsburgh through Disney Theatrical Productions and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, I received tickets to attend and review the show. All opinions are 100% my own.

“It means no worries…” – a song I so needed to hear on Thursday night. The past few months have not been normal and to be honest, taking time out of a busy week to go to a show was a little crippling for me. But hearing that song during Disney’s THE LION KING musical in Pittsburgh was absolute perfect timing.

Disney’s THE LION KING: PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh

For all the details on how you can attend a performance of Disney’s THE LION KING, head over to my Pittsburgh family-focused blog, ‘lil Burghers

Let me just throw this out here right away.

Every single detail covered – even the STEPS to the stage!

When the cast opened the evening with “Circle of Life”, I cried. Like big drippy tears. Yinz, it took until the last season of “The Parenthood” and “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother” to cry. Although I do bawl every single episode of “This is Us”. But I cried big ugly tears in my symphony level seat at Benedum Center listening to “Circle of Life”. There, I said it!

But for real, who wouldn’t? This opening number was pure magic. The sounds, the lighting, the costumes. I really can’t explain it other than I felt right there at Pride Rock and was on the edge of my seat for the rest of the night hoping I’d again get to feel the whisk of the elephant costume brushing past us or see the puppeter who brought Zazu into the theater or feel the breath of the singers (yes, four seats in I could feel their powerful voices on me). And I cried.

If you were alive in the 90s, you know the story so I’m not going into details on it, but what you do need to know is that if you know the story, the songs are in your heart and will be so loud in your head – try not to find yourself singing along if you don’t want the others in your row to hear you singing. No shame here, I definitely sang “Hakuna Matata” and even “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” along with the cast. But what you will find is that you lean in close to hear the voices of Mufasa, Scar, Nala, and Simba as they have solos that are not part of my memory of the movie I loved as a child. This is part of the magic – I promise! 

Greg went with me and experienced his first Broadway show. He also had all the feels about the cast, dynamics, and orchestra. It was really a wonderful production and the perfect way to have a date night with my husband (though I’d totally go back with the older kids – the show is recommended for ages 8 and up).

Thank you for bringing this beloved tale to Pittsburgh, Cultural Trust!

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As the world’s #1 musical, Disney’s THE LION KING comes to Pittsburgh as a presentation by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Broadway Across America as part of the 2019-2020 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh Series. The production will be at the Benedum Center from September 4-29, 2019. For tickets and more information, visit TrustArts.org.

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About THE LION KING

After 21 landmark years on Broadway, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by more than 100 million people.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years.  Performed in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Scheveningen, Holland; on tour across Japan and North America, with a separate production touring internationally, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe.

Having played over 100 cities in 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

The Lion King won six 1998 Tony Awards®:  Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical.  The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

Source: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Pittsburgh Must: Fogo de Chao

I was invited to a media opening night of Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Is there a better date night location for Greg and I than a Brazilian Steakhouse? The answer is nope. When I told him that I’d be treating him to dinner at an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, he was all in.

Opening on Monday, April 23 at the Luminere building (Oliver and Smithfield Streets, Pittsburgh), Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh is going to attract many couples for date nights, families for celebrations, and groups for events. Fogo de Chao is a chain Brazilian steakhouse, but if I didn’t tell you that, you probably wouldn’t realize it when you first step into the building.

The Bar Experience

We actually arrived on time to an event, early even, which was perfect because it gave us a chance to enjoy the front of house bar. While I’m on a Keto lifestyle (hence my excitement for a night of meat), I couldn’t indulge in the custom cocktails even though I really wanted to give them a try.

Instead, I opted for a delicious red wine while Greg went for the Carmelized Pineapple Old Fashioned. I watched on as a bartender carmelized the pineapples and tried not to think about how amazing they’d be with the cane sugar.

There is a Happy Hour at the bar Monday to Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm with Brazilian Bites and Beers, wines, and Brazilian inspired cocktails like the one Greg enjoyed.

The Service

Before I dive in to tell you about the food, I have to stop and tell you about the service. It was so good, we had to ask the Manager over to thank him for the experience. From the host station to the bartenders, to the wait staff and Gauchos, not one person disappointed us. They worked together as a team like magic.

I’ll let Greg describe it to you – “The operation is pretty fluid, seamless. Seems like the staff is operating in a hive mind fashion. So much going on at once but they impressively keep it together.”

Incredible. We’ve been to Brazilian steakhouses two other times (in Aruba and Myrtle Beach) but never felt this connected to the team that was there to make us happy at Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. Once I told a gaucho how I liked my meat, they remembered. The gaucho with lamb knew not to ask me if I wanted it again after I told him I didn’t prefer the taste of lamb and would not like to try it – but he did remember to continue to visit Greg with the cuts of lamb. And another realized how much I loved the top sirloin and just kept bringing it on repeat. Amazing.

The Food

Dinner starts at the Market Table, a selection of fruits, veggies, salad, soup, and some cold cut meats and cheeses. It is modeled after the feasts that villages would have at harvest time, each family bringing to the table what they had grown and were proud of. I was particularly drawn to the different hot peppers and (no surprise) chorizo cuts. Bonus? EVERYTHING on the Market Table is gluten-free. 

Back at the table, a basket of rolls has arrived. Greg noted that they were light and fluffy – a little thicker than a croissant – but not so thick that you might fill up if you had one before the meat. He cautions you to take it easy on the Market Table and rolls and/or don’t eat all day before. Because when you turn your token green…

bring on the meats. (via Churrasco style service)

And by meats I mean 17 glorious cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. (There are seafood options, but we didn’t experience those in our preview.)  The Gauchos are quite vested in you enjoying it – and no surprise, as they are selecting it and part of the cooking process. They bring the rack of meat to the table and cut your choice of done-ness right in front of you.

Try not to be too anxious to use your tongs to grab the meat off and chow down while they are still there – I dare you. Or if you do, they’ll know how much you love it. (Someone might have had to be reminded to calm down her yinzer, we were on a fancy date, you know. That didn’t stop me from throwing up big praise hands more than once when I ate a cut of meat that I thoroughly enjoyed. No shame.)

This bacon wrapped chicken was worth waiting for! Our gaucho special made it for me!

The table also receives sharing sides – garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, and fried plantains. I can’t tell you how they were, but Greg made sure not a crumb was left behind. Two dipping sauces (one chimichurri, the other a delicious mystery to me) are also given.

When you are ready to “tap out” and have the meat take a break from coming to the table, turn the token red and the Gauchos will know you’re done (even if just “for now”).

After you’ve had your fill of food from the Market Table and Churrasco service, you can indulge in dessert (just ask your waitress) and/or coffee. I had to go with a coffee and yes, they had heavy whipping cream. Greg was tapped out, so I can’t tell you about the choices but I know from being nebby n’at they looked pretty darn amazing.

Will We Return?

Absolutely. I am already scheming a way to experience the brunch and another dinner. I want my parents to try it, and I think the kids would even enjoy (kids 6 and under eat free, seven to 12 are half price).

And of course I tried to scheme a way to change our carb-load pre-marathon dinner from the club to Fogo asked about the event spaces so I can convince my co-workers to come try for a future party. (There are three rooms, the biggest holds up to 100 guests, and you can enjoy the menu items and or get Churrasco service!)

Treat yourself and your family to this experience, it is absolutely a Pittsburgh must.

About Fogo de Chao

With 52 locations across the United States and others worldwide, Fogo de Chao has been around since 1972. If you are not lucky enough to be treated to the amazing service we experienced in Pittsburgh, add Fogo to your list of restaurants to look for while traveling (locate the nearest to you here).

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh opens April 23 for seven days a week with lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. Prices start at $15 for a lunch option (without churrasco experience) up to $48.95 for the experience described above. More details on this location available here.