Theater Talk: Big performances from pint sized "pistols" Maria Droz and Arin Lee Dandes

Mar 24, 2017

Acting coach Constantin Stanislavski (whose name is associated with Marlon Brando's "method acting") once said, famously, "Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors." But what if the actors are, well, actually kind of small? Two Buffalo favorites who fit that category show their huge talents in two ongoing productions.

One campy, the other kiddie. The character Iras in a high-camp CLEOPATRA at the Alleyway is played with great energy by Maria Droz in a really breakout, standout performance. It's hard to get a ticket as often happens when Buffalo drag favorites Jimmy Janowski and Bebe Bvlgari are involved, but it's worth the wait, and Droz is a big reason for that.  The other pint of high octane jet fuel is Arin Lee Dandes who plays Fern, the champion of Wilbur the pig, in Theatre of Youth's CHARLOTTE'S WEB. And it's the last weekend to see an American classic, Arthur Miller's play A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with strong performances from the entire cast, including John Fredo as Eddie the longshoreman, Debbie Pappas Sham as his long suffering wife, and Renee Landrigan as Catherine, the unwitting fuse in this explosive drama.  It's up at the Kavinoky, but only for four more performances.

Jimmy Janowski's starring role in CLEOPATRA at the Alleyway is causing sell-outs. Cleo's strong supporting cast includes Maria Droz as Iras.

PROFESSIONAL THEATER
ONGOING

CHARLOTTE’S WEB, a play with some song and dance routines based on the book by E.B. White,

Arin Lee Dandes as "Fern" hugs Wilbur the pig, in CHARLOTTE'S WEB at Theatre of Youth.

presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Meg Quinn, starring Kurt Guba, Arin Dandes, Jacob Albarella, Jordan Levin, Dan Torres, Jennel Pruneda. Through Apr 9, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Apr 8 at 10 a.m. Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

Maria Droz delivers an over-the-top performance in the high camp CLEOPATRA at the Alleyway Theatre.

CLEOPATRA, a campy comedy by Charles Busch presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Todd Warfield, starring Jimmy Janowski, Bebe Bvlgari, Maria Droz, Timothy Patrick Finnegan, Adam Hayes, Michael Seitz, Guy Tomassi. Through Apr 8, Fri & Sat at 8. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org

IN THE CONTINUUM, a play by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, directed by Paulette D. Harris, starring Ayana N. Williams, Christina Foster. Through Apr 2, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT, a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by Victoria Pérez, starring Melinda Carpeles-Rowe, Anthony Alcocer, Greg Howze Jr., Rolando Gomez, Rosa Fernandez. Through Apr 2, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

THE SEEDBED, drama by Bryan Delaney presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Greg Natale, starring Chris Kelly, Kristen Tripp Kelley, Arianne Davidow, Eric Rawski. Through Apr 2, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

THE UNDERPANTS, a comedy by Steve Martin presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Jeffrey Coyle, starring David C Mitchell, Candice Kogut, Pamela Rose Mangus, Ben Caldwell, Rich Kraemer, Michael J Starzynski. Through Apr 1, Thu-Sat at 8. 330 Amherst St. (697-0837) www.artofwny.org

CLOSING

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, a drama by Arthur Miller directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring John Fredo, Debbie Pappas Sham, Adriano Gatto, Peter Palmisano, John Kreuzer, Adam Yellen, David Lundy, Renee Landrigan. Through Mar 26, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

OPENINGS

PROOF, a drama by David Auburn presented by Buffalo Laboratory Theatre, directed by Katie White. Mar 23 at 7:30, Mar 24-Apr 2, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org/710main

THE CORRESPONDENT, a play by Ken Urban presented by the New Phoenix Theatre,  directed by Kelli Bocock-Natale, starring Richard Lambert, Candace Whitefield and Jimi McMaster, Thu, Fri &  Sat at 8, March 24 - April 15. New Phoenix Theatre on the Park, 95 Johnson Park Buffalo, NY 14201 (716-853-1334) newphnxtheatre@aol.com

THE SOUND OF MUSIC, a touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino, directed by Jack O’Brien. Mar 28-Apr 2, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org

COLLEGE, COMMUNITY THEATER, AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

MOTHER HICKS, a play by Suzan Zeder, presented by Niagara University Theatre, directed by Steve Braddock. Mar 23-27, Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2, Mon at 7. Leary Theatre, Clet Hall on NU campus (286-86850). www.theatre.niagara.edu

HEAVEN CAN WAIT, a comedy by Harry Segall, presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Brett Klaczyk, Michael Breen. Through Apr 9, most Thu, Sat & Sun, evening shows arrival at 6, show at 7:30; matinee shows arrival at 1, show at 2:30. Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga (395-3207). www.mybobbyjs.com

IRENA’S VOW, a dramatic reading of the play by Dan Gordon, presented by The Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius College and the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo, directed by David Granville, starring Sue Brzezny. Mar 26 at 6. Marie Maday Theatre in Lyons Hall, 2001 Main St. (888-5970).

MISS NELSON IS MISSING!, a play adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the book by Harry Allard & James Mitchell. Mar 31-Apr 2, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.lancopera.org

Calendar adapted from "On the Boards" appearing in Artvoice, March 22, 2017