710 Main Theatre looking to build on past success

May 19, 2015

In preparing the 2015-2016 schedule for 710 Main Theatre,  it's apparent that Shea's President Anthony Conte considered a wide array of possibilities.

"I'm in New York eight to ten times a year. I'm a Tony (Award) voter which means I have to say everything on Broadway or I can't vote," Conte told WBFO News. "I see everything on Broadway. I selectively see things off-Broadway."

"At this time of the year, when it's Tony time, virtually every play that's been nominated for anything sends me their script."

The season begins in September with "For Heaven's Sake!" written by Buffalo-born playwright Laura Pedersen. The schedule's Buffalo connection includes two plays by A.R. Gurney--"Sylvia" and "Love Letters," which will reunite Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw, who starred together in  "Love Story" in 1970.

Another offering will be  "Wiesenthal," a one-man show based on the life of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

"It's an amazing show," Conte said. "I saw it down in New York Off-Broadway and thought this would be a great show for the market."

"After a serious show like that we come back with 'Avenue Q' so we figured people needed a little rest," Conte laughed.

This will be the third season since Shea's took control of 710 Main Theatre after the possibility of demolition loomed for the former Studio Arena Theater.
 
"We've been moving in the right direction. We put together a five-year business plan for our board when the idea first came up," Conte said.

"The results, we're actually about a year ahead of where we thought we'd be at this point in time."

He points to some success stories from last year. Conte believes "Lombardi" was on pace to set attendance records before the November snowstorm brought much of the area to a crawl.

Last year's presentation  of "The Mystery of the Silver Chalice" continues to draw attention.  That became clear during Conte's recent visit to New York City.

"I had producers and booking agents all over me" wanting to know more about the production.  

"For Heaven's Sake!" opens the season at 710 Main Theatre on September 17.