By Steve Sucato
Fortune smiled on Monica Bill Barnes when she met Ira Glass, host of public radio’s This American Life, in 2012. She and her 18-year-old New York-based dance troupe, Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, have since enjoyed life-altering success, teaming with Glass for Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.
In its second year of touring, the 90-minute, intermissionless extravaganza blends music, radio interviews restaged as dance, and stories from the lives of performers Glass, Barnes and Anna Bass. Choreographed by Barnes — whose work is known for its potent mix of funny faces and heartache — the show is packed with humor, sight gags, confetti and Glass’ own insights and charm. Stories include one about a group of Riverdance performers who are certain they’ll win the lottery if they just dance hard enough, and Bass’ experience dancing with strong-willed partner Barnes. “Chemically, we are similar movers,” Barnes says of Bass, by phone from New York.
“On stage she is a more generous performer than I am. I tend to be more reactive. Side-by-side it adds up to a perfect mixed message for audiences.”
Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host will be performed 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $25-65. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on February 25, 2015. Copyright Steve Sucato.