Theater Talk: 3 Takes on Dickens at RLTP, Alleyway, 710 Main

Dec 9, 2016

Moving from the East Side (the African American Cultural Center) to the West Side of Main Street (at Shea's 710 Main Theatre) the Paul Robeson Theatre opened CHRISTMAS IS COMIN' UPTOWN, a musical based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Scrooge is now a Harlem slumlord about to foreclose an apartment house, a recreation center and a church when his late partner and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future take him on their rounds. There's one addition to the classic tale-- a rousing gospel number in a baptist church.

Meanwhile, Road Less Traveled Productions (at 500 Pearl Street) presents THE CHIMES: A GOBLIN STORY, the second of Dickens' five Christmas stories. Just five actors take on 16 roles in a very skillful (and sometimes a little scary) production. Of course, for some, it wouldn't be the season without Neal Radice's A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Alleyway Theatre, starring David Mitchell as Scrooge. In this edition of Theater Talk, Anthony also recounts his recent trip to "that island paradise" - Manhattan, which is how he starts his holiday season.  And, once again, as a public service, we remind listeners not to ask Santa for a Red Ryder BB gun because "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" which is one of the numbers in the musical A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL at Shea's opening December 13.

The Paul Robeson Theatre company "is comin'" to 710 Main Theatre for a different take on Dickens.

OPENINGCHRISTMAS IS COMIN’ UPTOWN, musical by Sherman, Rose & Udell, presented by Paul Robeson Theatre, directed by Reginald Kelly. Dec 8-18, Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted and directed by Neal Radice, starring David C. Mitchell, Stephanie Bax, Michelle Holden, Noah Doktor, Shawn Calmes, Allison Barsi, Roger VanDette, David G. Poole, Jerry Hudson, Joyce Stilson, James Cichocki. Dec 8-18, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 5 & 8, Sun at 2. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted and directed by L. Don Swartz. Dec 8-18, Thu at 7, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda (743-1614). www.starrynighttheatre.com

A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s & Albert Nocciolino. Dec 13-18, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2 & 7. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

ONCE, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s & Albert Nocciolino. Dec 10 at 8. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

ONGOING

THE BETSY CARMICHAEL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, world premiere original comedy conceived & written by Mary Kate O’Connell & Joey Bucheker, directed by O’Connell, starring Betsy Carmichael, Jerry Mosey, Adam M. Wall, Corey Bieber, Sean Murphy. Through Dec 18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

BUFFALO PINOCCHIO, new adaptation of the classic story written and directed by Richrd Lambert, starring Todd Fuller, David Adamczyk, Betsy Bittar, Frank LaVoie, Joni Russ, Mary Moebius, Mark Bogumil, Suzanne Fitzery, Kathleen Ashwill, Leonard Ziolkowski. Through Dec 17, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

THE CHIMES: A Goblin Story world-premiere adaptation written and directed  by John Hurley, starring Andrea Andolina, Gerry Maher, Lisa Vitrano, Nick Lama, Steve Brachmann. Through Dec 18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

JUNIE B. JONES IN JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS, play by Allison Gregory based on Barbara Park’s series, presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Meg Quinn, starring
Renee Landrigan, Arin Lee Dandes, Dan Torres, Danica Riddick, Kevin Craig, Dan Urtz, Larry Smith. Through Dec 18, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Dec 17 at 10:00 a.m. Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

CLOSING

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, holiday play by Barbara Robinson, presented by Lancaster Regional Players, directed by Caroline Parzy-Sanders. Through Dec 11, Fri at 7:30, Sat & Sun at 2:30.  Williamsville Meeting House, 5658 Main St. (435-4919). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org

A MIDSUMMER’S DYKE’S DREAM, comedy by Shawn P. Northrip presented by Buffalo United Artists and Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Heather Fangsrud, Jennifer Gembka, Stefanie Warnick, Haberberger. Through Dec 10, Fri & Sat at 8. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org/www.varlets.org

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, play by James Rodgers, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Sami Granieri, starring Ricco Slaiman, Sam Fadel, George White, Tom Slaiman, Mary Anne Slaiman, Mike Lombardo, James Murphy, Sam Granieri, Carl Bishara, Robin Bishara. Through Dec 11, Fri & Sat at 7:30. Sun at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).

NUNCRACKERS: THE NUNSENSE CHRISTMAS MUSICAL, musical by Dan Goggin presented by Rocking Horse Productions, directed by Leigha Eichhorn, starring Christina Doyle, Gail Graesser, Liz Staley, Artie Vanderpool, Alexandria Watts. Through Dec 11, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.lancopera.org

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, musical by Finn, Sheinkin, & Feldman, presented by Niagara University Theatre, directed by Steven Braddock. Through Dec 11, Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Leary Theatre in Clet Hall, NU campus (286-8685).

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE, starring Loraine O’Donnell, John Fredo, Doug Crane, Jen Stafford, Mary Craig, Timothy Finnegan, Dudney Joseph, Annette Christian, Arianne Davidow, Griffin Kramer. Through Dec 27, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Dec 10 & 17 at 11:00 a.m. Forest Lawn Chapel, 1411 Delaware Ave. (332-2233).