Brett Keisel has one of the most famous beards not just in sports, but in existence, but it won’t be around for much longer.
Keisel is ready to cut it all off when he hosts the third annual “Shear Da Beard” on Thursday, February 7 at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille.
Fans can watch as celebrity barbers take the scissors to the beard, with all proceeds from ticket sales benefitting the cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC.
And once the beard is gone, rest assured in due time he will start to grow it back in time for the 2013 season. He might even try and inspire some of the young players to partake in the beard growing, including Cam Heyward who Keisel said could eventually carry on the beard torch.
“I would love to take over the mantel one day, but I think it’s more genetics than anything,” said Heyward, sporting stubble but not a beard. “I don’t know if I have the genetics to pull it off.
“The last time I had a beard was during training camp. It was too itchy. I think when Keisel wants to pass it on I am going to make a statue of his beard and say this is what it should look like and never show my face.”
In addition to seeing Keisel’s beard go, guests will be treated to live performances by Chris Higbee and Donnie Iris, and can bid on some unique items in a live and silent auction.
Tags: Brett Keisel, Shear Da Beard
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Art Rooney, Sr. was a story teller, always sharing an anecdote with those who crossed his path, always having a good story to tell about his life, from his days growing up on Pittsburgh’s North Side, to his boxing career, to purchasing the Pittsburgh Steelers and seeing them grow into four-time Super Bowl champions.
That is what makes The Chief, the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s one-man play about the Steelers’ founder, so special. It’s simply Rooney telling stories, sharing his life, through the brilliance of actor Tom Atkins, with the audience.
The setting for the play is Rooney’s office at Three Rivers Stadium in March, 1976. The office is a replica of what it was like back then, from his actual desk, to a box filled with his favorite cigars, to photos that adorned the wall and much more.
In the play, Rooney is trying to avoid heading off to a dinner that is set to honor him by doing what he loves to do most, tell stories. And it’s not just football the play focuses on, as it allows you the opportunity to really know Rooney, and what his life was like.
The only problem Rob Zellers and Gene Collier, who co-wrote the play, had was finding a way to keep the play to only 90 minutes, as the stories could go on for hours.
“There were so many good stories,” said Zellers. “This was a real Pittsburgh character that not only was a lot written about him, but he still had a lot of friends around the city when we did our interviews for it.”
Among those who shared stories were family members who gave their blessing for the play, friends, and many who knew him as the Steelers loveable owner.
“I think he is the kind of colorful character that perhaps we don’t see as much now as we saw 30, 40, 50 years ago,” said Zellers. “I think people miss that kind of character. A lot of depth, a lot of dimension, a lot of core Pittsburgh values. I think people look at the man and think back very positively about the city and learn more about themselves.”
It’s that character, the stories, and the love Steelers’ fans have for him, that have made the play, which debuted in 2003, return to the stage this year after a brief hiatus. This year celebrates the 10th Anniversary of The Chief, and gives insight into the man who not only was the founder of the Steelers, but truly was one of the most beloved men in Pittsburgh sports.
“It’s amazing for any play to come back,” said director Ted Pappas. “You get one run of a great show and you feel fortunate. It’s pretty wonderful. It’s a play about a lot of things, the City of Pittsburgh, the founding of the Steelers, but most important it’s about family.
“If the story is true, and the person telling the story is fun and exciting, I think that story telling pulls everybody in no matter what their age is. We have people coming from all over the country and world to see the show. You are sitting with veteran theater goers and football fanatics.”
Time is running out, though, to catch The Chief as it will be presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods at the O’Reilly Theater only until Saturday, Jan. 12. Steelers’ chairman Dan Rooney took in the play last week, as have many Steelers’ fans recently.
“You will never see more men at a show than at this one,” said Zellers. “I was listening to two guys talk about it, and one said, ‘what did you think?’ and he said ‘awesome,” and turned around to his friend and said, ‘dude, we’ve got to see more plays.’”
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Public Theater box office at 412-316-1600 or visiting www.ppt.org.
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Steelers.com got a behind the scenes look at The Chief. Check out the photos and video that shows the set, featuring some great Steelers history.
Tom Atkins as Art Rooney, Sr., “The Chief.”
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