Firedogs relives the grandeur that once was Pittsburgh’s steel industry while extolling the wonders of smelting and slag. An active lesson in how to take your history seriously by goofing it up, this re-education seminar is peopled by characters such as Bessie the Bessemer Furnace, Furnace Man (a bug-eyed iron elephant), and Old Man Steel (a slab of steel plate serving as narrator). 

The Squonkers answer questions like, “Why has smelting gone out of style?” and “What is this afterblow we keep hearing about?” all while suffering through industrial accidents and making music on car wheels and bits of steel.

Created in 1996.


“pop art history to giggle at with a rich vein of regional affection” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“a hilarious, manic treatise on the history and process of steelmaking.” - Pittsburgh Tribune Review

“a freaky comic lecture on steel by the self-declared masters of Performance Steel Making” “a living cartoon of intelligence and irreverence, perfectly Pittsburgh.” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette




The Band 
Electric Bass
Brian Berkheiser

Jackie Dempsey

Acoustic & Electronic Percussion
Kevin Kornicki

Jana Losey

Flute, Sax, Wind Synth
Steve O’Hearn

The Team
Jackie Dempsey with Squonk Opera

Design & Staging
Steve O’Hearn

Concept Development
Steve O’Hearn, Jackie Dempsey, Jana Losey, Brian Berkheiser, Kevin Kornicki, Casi Pacilio

Lighting Design
Holly Koenig

Jana Losey with Squonk Opera

Sound Design
Casi Pacilio

Production Management
Casi Pacilio

Costumes, Set & Props
Steve O’Hearn, Casi Pacilio & Jana Losey