Hillman Center for Performing Arts
|Address||423 Fox Chapel Rd.
|Owner||Shady Side Academy|
The Hillman Center for Performing Arts is a multi-stage performing arts venue on the campus of Shady Side Academy's Senior School in Fox Chapel, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Featuring dedicated music and vocal practice spaces, the Richard E. Rauh proscenium theater, and the Peter J. Kountz black box theater, the Hillman Center serves as Shady Side Academy's primary performing arts classroom. Additionally, undertaking the development of a professional performing arts series in the fall of 2006, the Hillman Center also serves the community as a public performing arts venue, whose programming goal is to feature “The Best of Pittsburgh and the World.” The Hillman Center's artistic niche strives to support not only Shady Side Academy's curriculum but also the Pittsburgh community. Featuring traditional offerings (such as symphony and orchestral music, classical dance, and opera) and world music and culture performances, the Hillman Center offers globally diverse arts programming to the regional community. International performers celebrate the diverse ethnic and national communities of Pittsburgh and help connect the audience to the rest of the world.
The Hillman Center for Performing Arts is Shady Side Academy's primary performing arts classroom. As a teaching and learning space, the Hillman Center offers current students a chance to discover and nurture their talents. As a public performance venue, the Hillman Center presents programs of excellence that represent Pittsburgh's cultural traditions and celebrate global artistic innovation. The annual series benefits the current students and alumni of Shady Side Academy, as well as the citizens of Western Pennsylvania, through residencies and performances.
The Hillman Center for Performing Arts includes the 641 seat Richard E. Rauh Theater with full orchestra lift as well as the Peter J. Kountz Theater, a black box performance venue of 120 seats. Both spaces were designed by John Sergio Fisher & Associates. The Wean Room, an executive conference room for 40, the Mary Hillman Jennings Plaza, plus vocal and instrumental practice spaces, the Dr. Larry J. Papincak Memorial Recording Studio and a full scene shop, make the Hillman Center a multi-use facility.
On Thursday, September 30, 2004, Shady Side Academy celebrated the official opening of the Hillman Center for Performing Arts with an inaugural performance in the Richard E. Rauh Theater. Over 500 guests enjoyed a diverse program, which highlighted talented Shady Side Academy alumni, students, and parents in the performing arts. The performance featured Owen Young ‘82, cellist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Courtney Hershey Bress ‘92, principal harpist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra; Candace Otto ‘98, vocalist and former Miss Pennsylvania; mezzo-contralto Susan Toth Shafer P’06, Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition winner with her accompanist Russell Miller of the Eastman School of Music; “Blues on First,” featuring Stanley Chepaitis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor, and Roy Sonne, Louis Lowenstein, and Penny Anderson Brill P’09, P’10 of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; the Shady Side Academy Chamber Choir singing “Dream Lofty Dreams,” a piece specially commissioned for the opening with text by John Ruskin set to the music of Robert Maggio; the Shady Side Academy Jazz Combo, featuring Joseph Reilly ’05, Reid Van Lehn ’05, Jon Weingarden ’05, Brent Abbott ’05, Adam Levine ’05, and Benny Shaffer ’05; and Craig Davis ’90, Jon Ziegler ’97, Cameron Lister ’01, and Michael Papincak ’03.
Hillman Performing Arts Series and Guest Performances
Following the official opening of the Hillman Center for Performing Arts in September 2004, Shady Side Academy named faculty member David Liebmann to be Executive Director. He established the Hillman Center's public programming, beginning the first season of its professional, public Performing Arts Series on Friday, October 6, 2006 with a performance given by the Golden Dragon Acrobats from Hebei, China. Subsequent performances during the 2006-2007 Season featured Pittsburgh's River City Brass Band and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
The 2007-2008 Season included The Boys of the Lough, a Grammy-nominated Celtic band, San Jose Taiko, Ira Ross & Friends, Samite of Uganda, Flamenco Sepharad, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Giant Eagle became the first major corporate sponsor. The Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Weiner Family Foundation provided additional support.
As word of the venue spread, groups began to rent the facilities for performances. Such guests included: Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, River City Youth Brass Band, Chatham Baroque with the Pittsburgh Opera Center, Nandanik Indian Dance Troupe, Pittsburgh Youth Pops Orchestra, Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, and Candace Otto MacDonald.
The current Executive Director of the Hillman Center is Sarah York Rubin.
Shady Side Academy Student Performances In The Hillman Center for Performing Arts
The Shady Side Academy Gargoyle Society, under the direction of Dana Hardy-Bingham, produces a variety of theatrical productions each year, including a fall play, a winter musical, and a student-directed/student-written original play series in the spring. The winter musical is an inter-departmental effort with Dr. Dan Brill serving as Music Director.
Recent fall play and spring musicals include:
- Into the Woods, Spring 2015
- The Misanthrope (student adaptation), Fall 2014
- Grease, Spring 2014
- An Enemy of the People (student adaptation), Fall 2013
- West Side Story, Spring 2013
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (student adaptation), Fall 2012
- The Music Man, Spring 2012
- Romeo and Juliet (student adaptation), Fall 2011
- Kiss Me, Kate, Spring 2011
- On the Verge, Fall 2010
- Guys and Dolls, Spring 2010
- The Importance of Being Earnest, Fall 2009
- Barnum, Spring 2009
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Fall 2008
- Fiddler on the Roof, Spring 2008
- Brush Up Your Shakespeare (student production), Fall 2007
- Footloose, Spring 2007
- Amadeus, Fall 2006
- South Pacific, Spring 2006
- Pygmalion, Fall 2005
- Oliver, Spring 2005
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, Fall 2004
The Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and String Ensemble, under the direction of Dan Brill, and the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Stanley Nevola, perform one concert each at the Hillman Center each trimester, featuring varied styles of vocal and instrumental performance.
Additionally, Shady Side Academy's Middle and Junior Schools use the Hillman Center for Performing Arts for performances, productions, and special events.
- Hillman Center for Performing Arts
- Shady Side Academy
- Candace Otto
- Golden Dragon Acrobats
- Sherry Kloss and the Music Institute for the Development of Personal Style, in memory of Jascha Heifetz