Anthony Chase

Theater Talk Host

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:30 and 8:30 during Morning Edition.

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Art/Theater
12:06 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Theater Talk: Buffalo Quickies and some short runs

Matt Witten narrates Goethe's play "Egmont" about the tragic hero who fought for liberty against tyranny.

As the nomination period for the Tony Awards draws close, Anthony ventures to Broadway to take in the musical "On the 20th Century" with Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, "The Audience" with Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and "Disgraced" presenting the real lives of Disney princesses - and it's NOT for children (just those who once were).  Meanwhile, both stages at the Alleyway Theatre Complex are busy.

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Theater Talk: Community Theater is where it all began

Alan Ayckbourn's clever play is at the Kavinoky.

Our western tradition of theater began with the Greeks, and for them, theater was community theater.  When Sophocles, Euripides, or Aeschylus saw their plays, it was a community  effort.  To this day, Greek philosophy, politics, religion, ethics, medicine, and, of course, community theater, are an integral part of who we are.  This week Theater Talk notes several community offerings including "The Boys Next Door" presented by both the Lancaster Regional Players at the Lancaster Opera House and The Western Door Playhouse at the Woodbox Theatre in Niagara Falls,  "The Odd Couple" presented by

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Theater Talk: British Invasion 2014 - Oscar Wilde and Andrew Lloyd Webber shows arrive..

Oscar Wilde, author of "The Importance of Being Earnest" which is now on stage at Buff State

Pre-dating the TV show "Seinfeld" ("the show about nothing") by 100 years, Oscar Wilde's most popular (and unfortunately last) play "The Importance of Being Earnest" moved one contemporary critic to write that he had enjoyed the play but found it empty of meaning.  Nobody cares when you have delightful verbal fencing written by a master with lines such as:  “To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up,” “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his”  and "I hate people who are not serious about meals.

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Theater Talk: Next Thursday, Chase plays "Lady Bracknell" at Buffalo State

"After Miss Julie" is an update of the play by Strindberg, now at the Irish Classical Theater

The play has been blocked, lit, rehearsed and now all we need is an audience this coming Thursday, March 12th for the opening of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" at Buff State where Theater Talk co-host reverses roles in more ways than one. Now Anthony Chase will be on stage, not in the audience, playing "Lady Bracknell" in high heels, wig, and very stylish clothes.  "Arrivals and Departures" by Alan Ayckbourn opened at the Kavinoky, and the other two openings were Nobel prize winning playwright Eugene O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape" at Torn Space and Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" at ART In The Box on Linwood Avenue.

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Theater Talk: "After Miss Julie" and "White Boy Othello" re-imagine classic plays

White actor Jeffrey Coyle is playing the Moor opposite an all-African American cast in "White Boy Othello."

Two plays discussed in this week's Theater Talk re-imagine two classics. "After Miss Julie" takes Swedish playwright August Strindberg's very dark "Miss Julie" and moves it to Britain in 1945 after a Labor Party Victory.  In both plays Julie has a one night affair with a man from a lower class and ultimately sees suicide as the only way to move forward.  That opened last night at the Irish Classical Theatre and runs through March 22.

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Theater Talk: Big Momma, Mothers and Sons, Mommy's Martini Hour all on stage

Anne Hartley Pfohl stars in "Mothers and Sons" at the Alleyway Theatre

By coincidence, a number of theaters this weekend feature mothers and mother figures (all with varying levels of dysfunction).  Having Tyne Daly pass up the chance to spend a winter in Buffalo (go figure!) that opened the door for local talent Anne Hartley Pfohl to star in Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" at the Alleyway Theatre.  (The address is One Curtain Up Alley in the shadow of Shea's huge backstage.)

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Art/Theater
6:40 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Theater Talk: "Gigi" needs work; "Buddy" & "Beau" delight

"Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" delights at Musicalfare, but only through March 8th.

Just back from the Kennedy Center in our nation's capitol, Anthony reports that while the cast of Lerner & Lowe's "Gigi" is first rate, the direction is not.  They've got a month to fix things before opening on Broadway.

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Art/Theater
4:58 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Theater Talk: Last chance for Lion, Lovers, and Crash

Beau Jest, a romantic comedy, runs through March 1.

Openings this week include "The Mystery of the Silver Chalice" - a play at 710 Main where the audience directs the plot - "Beau Jest" at Jewish Repertory in which a Jewish girl hires an actor to play her boyfriend when she goes home to see the parents and "Million Dollar Quartet" which looks at the birth of rock'n'roll. It's at Shea's but for two days only.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Theater Talk: From 8 to 80, there's good theater for all

"Crash" at T.O.Y. looks at bullying, appropriate for audiences 8 years old and up

At the age of 80, Australian comedian Barry Humphries is retiring his character "Dame Edna Everage" after a 2015 farewell tour. Anthony flew out to Los Angeles to catch a show last week, but Buffalo/Toronto audiences can wait until early April when the tour comes to the Royal Alexandra in Toronto.

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Art/Theater
7:30 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Theater Talk: Buffalo-Broadway connections

The Graduate - a coming of age story - is at the Alleyway Theatre.

Having just seen A.R. Gurney's "Family Furniture" at the Kavinoky Theatre, Anthony Chase noticed strong parallels with Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" back on Broadway, especially upper class families who can talk a lot, but not about their problems.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Theater Talk: Whichever play you see this week, you'll have fun

O'Neill and Hogan star at the Irish Classical

Of last week's two openings, A.R. Gurney's "Family Furniture" at the Kavinoky (D'Youville campus)  is "soulful" while Alan Ayckbourn's tightly plotted "Snake in the Grass," a Red Thread Theatre production at the Marie Maday Theatre (Canisius College), is the "thriller."

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Theater Talk: Playwrights Ayckbourn and Gurney effective in small spaces

Popular Buffalo playwright A. R. Gurney

In common with the great Anton Chekhov, playwrights Alan Ayckbourn and Buffalo's A.R. Gurney both make effective use of small sets which serve multiple purposes as well as indirect action - the off stage drama churning beneath the service. In Ayckbourn's "Snake in the Grass" two sisters reunite after the death of their abusive father.  In Gurney's "Family Furniture" a mother might have engaged in an infidelity, but nobody is talking, at least not directly, in the drama set in Buffalo in the 1950s.

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Art/Theater
12:06 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Theater Talk: Buffalo's Christine Baranski is 'deliciously wicked.'

Buffalo's own Christine Baranski makes a deliciously wicked stepmother in Sondheim's "Into the Woods"

It's a rare theater company that has something on the boards over Christmas, but that's when the movies bring out some blockbusters, including an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." Major stars fill the silver screen, including Meryl Streep as "The Witch" and Buffalo's own Christine Baranski as "The Stepmother."  Anthony reports that there are some differences between stage and screen versions, partly because gruesome elements can be comedic on stage while movies, which are only two dimensional, somehow seem "more real." On the other hand, effects such as levitation and magic

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Art/Theater
4:36 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Theater Talk: Mr. and Mrs. Claus come out, conquer Martians, and save Christmas during the Blitz

"It WAS a Wonderful Life" celebrates former famous Buffalonians at Forest Lawn.

Two versions of “A Christmas Carol,” one with Mike Randall at the Sheridan-Parkside Community Center Theatre and one (32 years running!) at the Alleyway, continue as does “Miracle on South Division Street” by “Over the Tavern” playwright Tom Dudzick at the Roycroft Pavilion in East Aurora and “Jerry’s Girls” presented by O’Connell and Company at the Park School in Snyder.

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Art/Theater
12:06 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Theater Talk: Diverse theaters offer different takes on Christmas

David C. Mitchell as Ebenezer Scrooge at the Alleyway Theatre

With all of the theaters in the Buffalo area, is there competition for the same audience?  Not so, Anthony Chase tells Peter Hall. Each local theater has a niche market which it serves.  For example, the audiences for "A Christmas Carol" currently at the Alleyway Theatre (and it its 32nd production) will be looking for nostalgia and something for their kids.  Subversive Theatre's "The Guns of Christmas" at the Many Fried Playhouse is both a political statement and a moving portrayal of the horrors of war. And the BUA's "Santa Claus is Coming Out" at The Mainstreet Cabaret or "The Santaland Diaries" at the Road Less Traveled Theatre will appeal to yet a third kind of audience looking for something different.

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Art/Theater
7:49 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Theater Talk: Santa comes out while Cinderella gets edgy

At the Manny Fried Playhouse "The Guns of Christmas"

"Cinderella" has dropped a lot of the 1950s schmaltz and with a new script by Douglas Carter Beane (and a great pair of shoes) this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical brings a lot of  sassy adult humor to Shea's Performing Arts Center,  but only through this Sunday, December 7th.  Down the block, BUA presents "Santa Claus is Coming Out," a story where Santa decides that, despite expectations, it's always better to do the right thing.  And across Main Street, for a little more edgy seasonal humor, Mark Sacco brings David Sedaris' "The Santaland Diaries" to the stage at Road Less Traveled (sti

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Art/Theater
11:43 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Theater Talk: Holiday shows 'Amahl,' 'Nutcracker,' 'Cinderella' and '4 Girls 4' will delight

4 Girls 4 comes to 710 Main Theatre on Wednesday

Menotti's opera for all ages - "Amahl and the Night Visitors" - features a new production at the Riviera Theatre this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  The BPO and Neglia Ballet team up for Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" Saturday and Sunday at Shea's where Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" opens on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday, December 3rd, one night only at 710 Main Street, it's "4 Girls 4" with Maureen McGovern, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, and Faith Prince.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Theater Talk: Snow keeps audiences at home making soup

Even though snowfall in the actual theater district has been relatively light, half of the potential audience for shows is snowbound and under a travel ban which has led to a number of cancelations all week long.  We hope that this weekend has more shows up than dark. 

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Theater Talk: 'Death of a Salesman' worth revisiting

"End Days," "The Homosexuals," and "My Life on a Diet" may be closing, but "Lombardi" just opened at 710 Main Street and one of the great American tragedies, Arthur Miller's 1949 Pulitzer Prize winning "Death of a Salesman," continues at the Irish Classical Theatre.

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Art/Theater
12:06 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Theater Talk: Two American classics, 'Salesman' and 'Menagerie,' open tonight

Two American classics open tonight, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" at the Irish Classical Theatre and Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" at the Lancaster Opera House, along with lighter fare including "Mamma Mia" at Shea's.

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Art/Theater
6:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Theater Talk: When young girls tell lies...

Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" opens Thursday and Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" continues at The New Phoenix Theatre, two plays that delve into what chaos is caused when young girls tell adult lies. On a more upbeat note, "Ain't Misbehavin'" brings the music of Fats Waller to Musicalfare Theatre with a young, energetic cast.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Theater Talk: BPT's 'The Children's Hour;' BUA's 'The Homosexuals' open tonight

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" from the 1930s is not a "modern" play, but in style harkens back to Henrik Ibsen's realist dramas.  With a controversial topic, a rumor of lesbianism at a girl's school, Buffalo Public Theatre opens tonight at The New Phoenix Theatre on Johnson Park.

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Art/Theater
12:06 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Theater Talk: "Blood Type: Ragu" opens at the Smith

While the first round of plays for most theaters are winding down, and before the next cycle, there is still plenty of theater.  And coming up, "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Musicalfare and "The Children's Hour" at New Phoenix Theater, which offers a very intimate experience.  "Blood Type: Ragu" is at the Smith, and is all about growing up Italian.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Theater Talk remembers Marian Seldes

The lights on Broadway dimmed for star of stage, film, radio and television, Marion Seldes, best known for her work in the plays of Edward Albee. Seldes died Monday at 86 after six decades of "ruling" Broadway with her regal presence. 

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Theater Talk: 'All Quiet' tells a dark story with power and grace

Most of the Curtain Up! plays continue into October, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" at the New Phoenix Theater on Johnson Park in Buffalo, part of the international 100-year look back at World War I.  This sad story of young Germans who volunteer together is told with power and grace and is enhanced by the puppetry of Michele Costa.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Theater Talk remembers Polly Bergen

Polly Bergen died last Saturday at the age of 84.
Credit Public Domain

Stage and screen star Polly Bergen passed away last Saturday at the age of 84. Nominated for a Golden Globe, a Tony, and multiple Emmy awards (she won for "The Helen Morgan Story"), she might be best remembered for her appearances on the television game show "To Tell the Truth."

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Art/Theater
7:26 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Theater Talk: 'Over the Tavern' is back for Curtain Up!

After 20 years, Buffalo playwright Tom Dudzik's "Over the Tavern" continues to delight audiences, this time at the Kavinoky Theater through October 5. Set in 1959, the story of 12 year-old Rudy who goes "knuckle to ruler" with his teacher, Sister Clarissa, has been tightened up a bit, but all of the familiar cultural references remain intact.

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Art/Theater
9:12 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Theater Talk: Full houses expected for Curtain Up!

Theater Talk co-host Anthony Chase will be the emcee at this year's Curtain Up! gala dinner at Shea's Performing Arts Center next Friday, September 19. While the dinner always sells out, the local theater productions themselves sell out even faster. 

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Art/Theater
8:40 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Theater Talk: Joan Rivers remembered

Millions have enjoyed the comedy of Joan Rivers for decades on television, but comedy was only intended to support her while she launched her Broadway career. Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81. Anthony Chase recalls seeing her on Broadway, as well as many local stages.

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Art/Theater
6:30 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Theater Talk...or is it Theatre Talk?

On the eve of Labor Day, Peter and Anthony discuss the Astor Place Riot of 1849, which stemmed from a theatrical rivalry. 

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