The Legacy Theatre is the Hottest Ticket in Town!
Dec 31, 2019 11:29AM
By North Hills Monthly magazine
The Legacy Theatre
On a recent Saturday in the North Hills, a red and purple sunset marks the onset of an early winter’s night. Just as the color and light fade into darkness outside, the color and light switch on inside the Legacy Theatre, signaling that preparations for another sold-out show are underway.
Now entering its eighth season, the Legacy Theatre is host to a robust performance schedule that for 2020 includes 18 live productions featuring national touring acts, as well as free movies and educational seminars throughout the year. The 251-seat theatre, on the campus of UPMC Passavant Hospital and adjacent to UPMC Senior Communities’ Cumberland Woods Village Independent Living residence, entertains some 13,000 patrons annually and has welcomed more than 81,000 patrons since its inception in 2012.
Legends of the Pittsburgh music scene, Johnny Angel and the Halos, are set to take the stage on this night. Hours before the show, Jack “Johnny Angel” Hunt, drummer and one of three lead vocals, is sporting his signature shades, cap, and warm smile, bounding about with youthful energy. It’s easy to imagine teenage Jack, running the streets and school yards of the North Side with friends, two of whom would become and remain bandmates and partners to this day. Fifty-four years in the business has not diminished his love of performing, of the music, and of the audience. “It never gets old,” says a grateful Jack.
The Legacy Theatre is one of Jack’s favorite venues, and he and his group have been regular performers at the theatre from the beginning. Jack explains that the space is well suited to delivering the old-school soul music of the ‘60s that defines the group’s sound.
Says Jack, “It’s an intimate space. I can look out and see the expressions on the faces of the people in the audience. I can see their smiles and feel their joy. It matches the way we perform these classic songs, and everybody is uplifted. Likewise, I can see when people are moved by a more tender ballad. It’s a shared experience in a space that feels a bit like home, like a living room performance.”
Kathy Seaton, who with her husband, Don, is a long-time patron of the Legacy Theatre, echoes Jack’s sentiments. “You’re invited in to be a part of the performance. It’s so special,” she said. Kathy and Don and are in the house on this night to see their favorite act. Kathy notes that she and Don first saw Jack and company in the ‘70s in Bellevue and have been devoted fans ever since, so much so that they sponsor the group’s Legacy performances.
“We’re proud to support such fine people and such wonderful musicians,” says Don. Adds Kathy, “They are representative of the quality of the talent available at the Legacy Theatre, which is exceptional across the board. We’ve already purchased tickets for five shows for the 2020 season, a year in advance, so we don’t miss out.”
Marti and Gary Beatty started out as patrons and have served as ushers for the last three years. Marti says they have been attending performances in Pittsburgh since their children were young. “Back then, we figured out it was cheaper to buy theater tickets than pay a babysitter,” Marti laughs. The Legacy provides them with a vibrant theater close to home, and their son, Jeremy, joins them for performances.
He’s already looking forward to the return of Abbamania, an ABBA tribute, and his favorite act from the 2019 season, this coming September.
With show time approaching, Marti and Gary return to their ushering duties, and Kathy and Don take their seats. The theatre is filling quickly, and the audience is animated. Friends old and new greet one another with anticipation. As Kathy describes the scene, “People are coming together for a joyful Saturday night. What could be better than that?”
Both performers and patrons describe the Legacy Theatre as “state of the art” in terms of the technology with which its equipped, and it’s about to receive a significant upgrade to enhance that status. This includes an entirely new lighting and sound system and the addition of a “smart podium.” These upgrades are underway now and will improve the experience for audiences of the live productions, as well as those who attend the full slate of free lifelong learning seminars and movies available throughout the year.
Truly, the theatre is a great resource and social outlet for seniors throughout the region, with attendees coming from a 15-mile radius to take advantage of its diverse offerings. The theatre is closed in January for upgrades but reopens for movies and seminars in February. The first live production for 2020 features The Skyliners on March 21.
For more information about events at the Legacy Theatre, visit http://thelegacylineup.com. You can purchase tickets for live productions online or call 1-800-838-3006 and press 1. Be sure to ask about discounts for multishow packages!