Theater Talk runs gamut from BEHANDING (dark Irish humor) to ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE (funny kid stuff)

May 12, 2017

Call it marketing, or branding, or just plain knowing your audience, but Buffalo theaters this week are delighting their niches with finely chosen fare.

  Theatre of Youth (TOY, get it?) presents a musical by the wildly popular children's author, Mo Willems, featuring ELEPHANT (Bobby Cooke) and PIGGIE (Arin Lee Dandes) along with a Supremes/Vandellas/Shirelles style girl group, the Squirelles, made up of, well, squirrels. Fun for the 4+ set and their parents too. (Hint: Mother's Day is this Sunday). Meanwhile, American Repertory Theater continues to offer one of the darker, quirkier, more "low-life" dramas that their audience loves. In A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE by acclaimed Irish author Martin McDonagh, Carmichael (Thomas LaChiusa) has been searching for his missing left hand for 27 years. Two bottom-feeding lovers have a hand to sell. It's at ART's (relatively) new location at 330 Amherst Street, next door to the Sportsmen's Tavern. Playwright Donald Margulies was in town last weekend to attend his play THE COUNTRY HOUSE at Road Less Traveled Productions. He enjoyed the play, thanked the actors, spoke to the public, and had a conversation with Anthony Chase, who was particularly impressed with the performances of Christian Brandjes, Barbara Link Larou, and Renee Landrigan.

Thomas LaChiusa and Candace Kogut appear in A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE, a dark comedy at American Repertory Theater through May 27.

PROFESSIONAL THEATER
ONGOING

A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE play by Martin McDonagh presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Matthew LaChiusa, starring Thomas LaChiusa, Nick Lama, Candice Kogut, Shabar Rouse. Through May 27, Thu-Sat at 8. 330 Amherst St. (697-0837) www.artofwny.org

THE CEMETERY CLUB, comedy by Ivan Menchell presented by O’Connell & Company, directed by Sheila McCarthy, starring Anne Gayley, Joy Scime, Constance Caldwell, Rob Schwartz, Deborah A. Krygier. Through May 21, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

THE COUNTRY HOUSE, play by Donald Margulies, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Christian Brandjes, Kristen Tripp-Kelley, Chris Kelly, Peter Palmisano, Barbara Link Larou, Renee Landrigan. Through May 21, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE'S "WE ARE IN A PLAY!”, musical by Mo Willems and Deboraph Wicks LaPuma, presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Michael Walline. Through Jun 3, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Jun 3 at 10:00 a.m. Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

THE GREAT GOD PAN, play by Amy Herzog presented by The Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Kelly Beuth, Jordan Louis Fischer, Darleen Pickering Hummert, Amelia Scinta, Steve Vaughan, Lisa Vitrano, Adam Yellen. Through May 21, Thu at 7:30, Sat at 4 & 8, Sun at 2. The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (688-4114 x391). www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com

KALAMAZOO, play by Michelle Kholos Brooks and Kelly Younger, directed by Sheila McCarthy, starring Betsy Bittar, Marc-Jon Filippone. Through May 27, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, musical by Colin Escott & Floyd Mutrux, directed by Randall Kramer, starring Brandon Barry, Steve Copps, Jeffrey Coyle, Arianne Davidow, Joseph Donohue III, Brian McMahon, Andrew J. Reimers, Dave Siegfried. Through May 28, 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 OLD SETTLER, play by John Henry Redwood directed by Mary Craig, starring Debbi Davis, Johnny Rowe, Courtney Turner. Through May 28, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

CLOSING

THE FATHER, drama by Florian Zeller, directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring David Lamb, Aleks Malejs, Christopher Evans, Kristin Bentley, Jenn Stafford, Adriano Gatto. Through May 14, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

I’M FINE, world premiere of the play written and directed by Neal Radice, starring Ray Boucher, Emily Yancey, James Cichocki, Joyce Stilson. Through May 13, Thu-Sat at 7:30. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

THE WINSLOW BOY, play by Terence Rattigan presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Brian Cavanagh, starring Collan Zimmerman, Robert Rutland, Pamela Rose Mangus, Kevin Craig, Kate LoConti, Ben Moran, Todd Benzin, Matt Witten. Through May 14, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

UPCOMING

DESDE EL PUENTE, a bilingual one-act play festival written, directed and performed by the Raíces Ensemble, presented by Raíces Theatre Company. May 26-Jun 11, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 6, plus Jun 1 & 8 at 7:30. Manny Fried Playhouse 255 Great Arrow Ave. 3rd floor. (381-9333).
www.raicestheatrecompany.com

WICKED, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino. May 17-Jun 4, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 1 & 6:30, plus May 18 at 1. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org

COLLEGE, COMMUNITY, AND OTHER THEATER

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, musical presented by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Carolyn Quigley. Through May 21, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus May 20 at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Road, Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

NOODLES, comedy by L. Don Swartz, directed by DJ Swartz, starring Daniel Torres, Amanda Woomer-Limpert, Carolyn Woomer, Debby Koszelak Swartz, Chris Fire, Mark Woomer. May 11-21, Thu at 7, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda.  (743-1614). www.starrynighttheatre.com.

RUN FOR YOUR WIFE, comedy by Ray Cooney, presented by Lancaster Regional Players, directed by David Hall, starring Scot Kaitanowski, Suzie Hibbard, Amy Feder, Joel Murphy, Jackson DiGiacomo, Victor Morales, Chuck Basil, Russ Wendel. May 12-21, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30.  Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org

Theater listings adapted from "On the Boards" in Artvoice May 9, 2017