Theater Talk: Kelly Meg Brennan impressive at Red Thread; Debbie Pappas entertaining at MusicalFare

Nov 11, 2016

Kelly Meg Brennan holds the eerily lit venue at 44 17th Street in Buffalo for 80 ripping minutes as she portrays over 20 characters in a one-woman monologue portraying the last night of Jack the Ripper's final victim, Mary Jane Kelly. Speaking to an unseen person (Jack, himself?) she describes her life and the circumstances that brought her to her present situation, an "unfortunate" as the Victoria press called sex workers. It's not about Jack, though. It's about Mary and Ms. Brennan has the audience wrapped around her little finger in wrapt attention. If they don't extend the run, it will close on Saturday.  Meanwhile, on Main Street three first rate productions keep audiences in their seats.  MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION takes on the topic of sex workers and presents various ethical points of view at Shea's 710 Theatre,  EQUUS presents repressed sexuality at Irish Classical, and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS beautifully weaves the music of George Gershwin through the Broadway musical with stunning sets at Shea's. And, for an evening of nostalgia with a few surprises, treat yourself to Debbie Pappas's beautiful voice in TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL.

Kelly Meg Brennan as Mary Jane Kelly (Jack the Ripper's last victim) flawlessly inhabits at least 20 different roles at Red Thread Theatre

OPENING

ONGOING

CRIMES OF THE HEART, a drama by Beth Henley presented by Second Generation Theatre Company, directed by Greg Natale, starring Jake Albarella, Bethany Burrows, Charmagne Chi, Arin Lee Dandes, Ben Michael Moran, Jessica Wegrzyn runs through November 20, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30, plus November 5 at 2:30, no evening performance November 5 at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.lancopera.org

EQUUS, the drama by Peter Schaffer presented by The Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by David Oliver, starring Vincent O'Neill, PJ Tighe as Alan Strang. Margaret Massman, Greg Gjurich, Wendy Hall, Kelsey Mogensen runs through November 20, Thursday & Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 at the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassical.com

4000 MILES, the first of three plays by Amy Herzog being presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Marissa Biondolillo, Ellen Horst, Sara Kow-Falcone, Nick Stevens runs through November 20, Thursday at 7:30, Saturday at 4 & 8, Sunday at 2 at  The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (688-4114 x391). www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com

HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND THEN KILL THEM, a comedy by Halley Feiffer presented by ART of WNY, directed by Maura Nolan, starring Sue McCormick, Melissa Levin, Mara Morris runs through November19, Thursday-Saturday at 8. 330 Amherst St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, a drama by Dale Wasserman, adapted from the book by Ken Kesey, presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Michael Lodick, starring Thomas LaChiusa, Victor Morales, Diane DiBernardo-Blenk runs through December 3, Thursday-Saturday at 8 at the Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499). www.subversivetheatre.org

STAGE DOOR, the play  by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber presented by Niagara University Theatre, directed by Amanda Lytle Sharpe runs through November 13, Thursday at 7, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 at the Leary Theatre, Clet Hall on NU campus (286-8685).

TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL, by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman, directed by Doug Weyand, starring Louis Colaiacovo, Debbie Pappas runs through December 4, Wednesday & Thursday at 7, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3:30 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 at the  MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

THE MUSIC MAN, the famous musical by Meredith Willson presented by The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Fran Newton, starring Chris Turton, Michelle Holden, Chris Andreana, Amy Sturmer, Paul Bene runs through November 20, Friday & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 3, plus November 19 at 3 at the Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek, Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

THE 39 STEPS, play  by R.C. Sherriff, directed by David Lamb, starring Chris Evans, David Lundy, Christian Brandjes, Kate LoConti runs through November 20, Thursday & Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3:30 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 at the Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

TRUE WEST, play by Sam Shepard, directed by Scott Behrend, starring David Mitchell, Matt Witten, Robert Rutland, Tina Rausa runs through November 20, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2 at the Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

THE UNFORTUNATES, a play by Aoise Stratford presented by Red Thread Theatre, directed by Josephine Hogan, starring Kelly Meg Brennan runs through November 12, Thursday-Saturday at 8, plus Wednesday, November 9 at 8 at Jim Bush Studios, 44 17th St. (445-4653). www.RedThreadTheatre.info

CLOSING

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, the touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s & Albert Nocciolino. runs through November 13, Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 & 8, Sunday at 2 & 7 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION, the drama by Bernard Shaw presented by The Shaw Festival. Runs through November 13, Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 & 8, Sunday at 2 comes to Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org/710main

THE UNFORTUNATES, a play by Aoise Stratford presented by Red Thread Theatre, directed by Josephine Hogan, starring Kelly Meg Brennan runs through November 12, Friday-Saturday at 8, plus Wednesday, November 9 at 8 at Jim Bush Studios, 44 17th St. (445-4653). www.RedThreadTheatre.info

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

EXTREMITIES, a drama by William Mastrosimone presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Lisa Ludwig, Patrick Moltane, Lisa Hinca, Kelly Cammarata runs through November 13, 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