Theater Talk: High culture and lowbrow humor, we've got it all

Sep 22, 2017

With 15 shows on stages this weekend (see Artvoice's "On the Boards" below) how can you choose? Go high (culture) with Puccini's opera MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Rockwell and DESIGN FOR LIVING at Irish Classical, or go low with the campy KILLER RACK (breast augmentation with extreme prejudice and great songs by Neal Radice) at the Alleyway or Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS at the Kavinoky.


Emily Yancey stars in the high camp musical comedy "Killer Rack" at the Alleyway.
Credit Alleyway Theatre

Also discussed: ON YOUR FEET, the story of two Cuban immigrants - Gloria and Emilio Estefan - and their rise to pop star fame, opening tonight at Shea's. Through New York State incentives, Broadway shows have been "teching" (conducting their technical rehearsals prior to national tours) in upstate cities, including Buffalo. If the explosive energy of the also-teched-in-Buffalo FINDING NEVERLAND from last season continues, ON YOUR FEET should be a winner. On some quieter notes (using music by Bach in the background) JOHN at Road Less Traveled presents a young couple with issues on Thanksgiving trip to a B&B. Richard Lambert's character in MY OLD LADY confronts a bit of obscure French custom at The New Phoenix Theatre. And, up in the front of the Alleyway complex, BUA presents Donna Hoke's SONS & LOVERS with another look relationships, both gay and straight.

OPENING

MADAMA BUTTERFLY, opera by Giacomo Puccini presented by Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Sep 22 at 8, Sep 24 at 2:30. Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005). www.buffalooperaunlimited.org

Holley Bewlay is "Madama Butterfly" at Rockwell Hall, Friday at 8, Sunday at 2:30

ON YOUR FEET, touring production the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino, directed by Jerry Mitchell. Sep 22-30. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org

ONGOING

ANYTHING GOES, musical by Cole Porter presented by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Dan Zerpa, starring Michelle Holden, M. Joseph Fratello, Chris Andreanna, Marni Stone, John Panepinto, Kelsey Giampoala. Through Oct 1, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus Sep 30 at 3.  Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Rd., Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

DESIGN FOR LIVING, comedy by Noel Coward presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Kate LoConti, Adriano Gatto, Ben Michael Moran. Through Oct 8, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE, play by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen adapted from the novel by Sinclair Lewis, presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Kurt Schneiderman, starring Dennis Keefe, Christopher Standart, J. Tim Raymond. Through Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 8. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499). www.subversivetheatre.org

JOHN, play by Annie Baker, directed by David Oliver, starring Darleen Pickering Hummert, Priscilla Young Anker, Sara Kow Falcone, Adam Yellen. Through Oct 1, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 15 at 8). Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org
 

Sabrina Kahwaty, Heather Reed and Colleen Pine KILLER RACK at the Alleyway Theatre
Credit Buffalo News

KILLER RACK: The Feminist, Horror Musical Comedy, world premiere of the musical written and directed by Neal Radice, starring Emily Yancey, Nathan Andrew Miller, Kim Piazza, Joey Bucheker, Kyle Baran, Andrew Zuccari, James Cichocki, Heather Reed, Sabrina Kahwaty, Colleen A. Pine. Through Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 7:30. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

MY OLD LADY, play by Israel Horovitz directed by Michael Lodick, starring Eileen Dugan, Anne Gayley, Richard Lambert. Through Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

Anne Gayley, Eileen Dugan, and Richard Lambert star in a three person dramatic comedy, MY OLD LADY, at the New Phoenix Theatre.

PETER & THE STARCATCHER, play by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, music by Wayne Barker, directed by Chris Kelly, starring Jacob Albarella, Anthony Alcocer, Bobby Cooke, Steve Copps, Kevin Craig, Philip Farugia, Renee Landrigan, Jordan Levin, Jesse Tiebor, Daniel Torres, Doug Weyand, Preston D. Williams. Through Oct 8, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

THE PRODUCERS, musical by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan, directed by Lynne Kurdziel Formato, starring Norm Sham, Brian Mysliwy, Arianne Davidow, Greg Gjurich, Marc Sacco, Todd Benzin. Through Oct 1, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

SONS & LOVERS, new play by Donna Hoke presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Tod Fuller, starring Caitlin Baeumler Coleman, Steve Brachmann, A. Peter Snodgrass, Dave Granville. Through Sep 30, Fri & Sat at 8, plus Oct 1 at 7. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, comedy by Robert Harling presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Kyle LoConti, starring Lisa Ludwig, Lisa Hinca, Justyne Harris, Maureen Porter, Mary McMahon and Bethany Gruendike. Sep 21-Dec 3, 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

CLOSING

9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, musical by Dolly Parton & Patricia Resnick presented by Rocking Horse Productions, directed by Leigha Eichhorn, starring Susana Breese, Anne DeFazio, Derrik Reynolds, Emily Styn. Through Sep 24, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.LancOpera.org

ROOMMATES, world premiere of a play by Mark Humphrey, presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Drew McCabe, starring Victor Morales, Michael J Starzynski, Brett Klaczyk. Through Sep 23, Thu-Sat at 8. The 330 Performance Space, 330 Amherst St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, comedy by Robert Harling, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Sami Carol, starring Dawn Ansel, Betsy Bittar, Patricia Crowe, Elaine Meranto, Rasheedah Muhammad, Airy Nikohl. Through Sep 24, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun. at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).

UPCOMING

BUNNICULA, presented by Theatre of Youth. Sep 30-Oct 29, Sat & Sun at 2 (no performance Oct 21 & 22). Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. (884.4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

DEAR WORLD, musical by Jerry Herman presented by O’Connell & Company, directed by Kelli Bocock Natale, starring Mary Kate O’Connell, Roger Van Dette, Katy Miner, Amy Jorrisch, Nick Lama, Jon May, Matt Gilbert, Matthew Mooney, Gianna Palermo, Jeremy Kreuzer, Joel Russlett.  Sep 28-Oct 22, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

MENOPAUSE The Musical, musical parody presented by GFour Productions. Oct 10-15, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 4 & 8, Sun at 2 & 6. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org/710main

Listings adapted from "On the Boards" appearing in Artvoice 9/20/2017