Theater Talk: Small stages (ONCE at MusicalFare) and big (PHANTOM at Shea's)

May 4, 2018

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Shea's features the stellar designs of the late, great Maria Bjornson. In between shows many cast members went next door to the Alleyway Theatre for a revue to raise money for the WNED|WBFO Artie Awards' favorite charity, the ECMC HIV/AIDS and Immunodeficiency Services. The Tony Awards nominations are out and there are some surprises. And ONCE, at MusicalFare, blossoms on a smaller stage, just the size for which it was originally intended. Renee Landrigan as "Girl" and Amy Jakiel as "Reza" are outstanding in a very talented cast.

Renee Landrigan and Steve Copps are "Girl" and "Guy" in a very moving production of ONCE at MusicalFare
Credit MusicalFare

OPENING

BLACKBERRY DAZE, musical by Watson, Jones & Knowles, starring Latosha Payton, Danielle Green, Sandra Gilliam, Tifani Wofford, Ayana Williams, Augustus Donaldson Jr., Fisher. May 4-27, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org  

CHILDREN OF EDEN, musical by Stephen Schwartz presented by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Fran Newton, starring Adam English, M. Joseph Fratello, Amy Sturmer, Cassandra Bigouette, Dan Zerpa, John Panepinto, Kim Ehrenburg. May 4-20, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus May 12 at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Rd., Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

STELLALUNA, adapted for the stage by Saskia Janse, based on the book by Janell Cannon, music by Guus Ponsioen, presented by Theatre of Youth. May 5-Jun 2, Sat & Sun at 2 (no performance May 26 & 27). Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

ONGOING

THE AWFUL TRUTH, comedy by Arthur Richman presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, starring Eric Rawski, Zak Ward, Diane Curley, Ellen Horst, Maura Nolan, Adriano Gatto, Marisa Caruso, Chris Kelly. Through May 13, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

THE CHRISTIANS, play by Lucas Hnath, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Dave Hayes, Aaron Moss, Steve Jakiel, Victoria Pérez, Lisa Vitrano. Through May 20, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2 Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

THE FOREIGNER, comedy by Larry Shue, directed by David Oliver, starring Kevin Craig, Patrick Moltane, Aleks Malejs, Christopher Evans, Anne Gayley, David Mitchell. Dan Urtz. Through May 20, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2.  Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

THE FULL MONTY, musical by David Yazbek & Terrence McNally presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Susan Forbes, starring Anthony Alcocer, Jeffrey Coyle, Thomas LaChiusa, Pamela Rose Mangus, Victor Morales, Jamie Nablo, Connor Graham, Alejandro Pèrez, Alfonzo Tyson, Tim Goehrig, Smirna Mercedes-Pèrez, Diane McNamara. Through May 12, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (462-5549). www.subversivetheatre.org

ONCE, musical by Walsh, Hansard & Irglová, directed by Randall Kramer, starring Jacob Albarella, Ryleigh Grace Cavanagh, Mia Cimato, Katie Clark, Steve Copps, Philip Farugia, Robert Insana, Amy Jakiel, Renee Landrigan, Bob Mazierski, Theresa Quinn, Andrew J. Reimers, Nick Stevens. Through May 27, 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

SIGHT UNSEEN, play by Donald Margulies presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Constance Caldwell, Josie DiVincenzo, David Lundy, Peter Palmisano. Through May13, Thu at 7:30, Sat at 4 & 8, Sun at 2.  The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (650-7626). www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com

CLOSING

BUFFALO QUICKIES, festival of one act plays directed by Lee Becker, James Cichocki and Joyce Stilson, starring Christopher Standart, Andrew Zuccari, Tom Dreitlein, Jacquie Cherry, Bill Lovern, Kate Olena. Through May 5, Thu-Sat at 7:30. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

I DO! I DO!, musical by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, presented by O’Connell & Company, directed by Bobby Cooke, starring Mary Coppola Gjurich, Gregory Gjurich. Through May 6,
Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, touring production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino. Previews Apr 26 at 1 & 7:30. Through May 6, 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). www.sheas.org

WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, musical by Lane & Yazbek presented by UB Department of Theatre & Dance, directed by Nathan R. Matthews. Through May 6, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Drama Theatre, UB Center for the Arts, North Campus (645-ARTS).

UPCOMING

BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY, comedy by Ken Ludwig presented by MusicalFare, directed by Randall Kramer & Doug Weyand, starring Todd Benzin, Patrick Cameron, Maria Droz, Chris J. Handley, Marc Sacco. May 10 at 7:30, May 11-19, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

THE CURIOUS SAVAGE, comedy by John Patrick, directed by L. Don Swartz, starring Julie Senko, Gary W. Cox, Vanessa Stipkovits, Alexandra Saleh, Quentin Gray. May 10-20, Thu at 7, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda (743-1614).
www.starrynighttheatre.com

THE RAIN DOGS PROJECT, one acts based on the music of Tom Waits, presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Nick Lama and Katherine Burkhart, starring Candice Kogut, John Profeta, John Kreuzer, Carly Luksch, Gary Andrews-Stieglizt, Courtney Maj. May 10-26, Thu-Sat at 8. Jim Bush Studios, 44 17th St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

ROUNDING THREE, play by Richard Dresser. May 11-20, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave. Lancaster. (683-1776). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org
THE SHAW FESTIVAL

The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake has announced its 2018 season https://www.shawfest.com/2018season/.
At the Shaw's Festival Theatre:

    The Magician’s Nephew
    Grand Hotel
    Mythos: A Trilogy – Gods. Heroes. Men.
    The Hound of the Baskervilles

At the Shaw's Royal George Theatre:

    Stage Kiss
    Of Marriage & Men: A Comedy Double-Bill
    O’Flaherty V.C.
    Oh What a Lovely War
    A Christmas Carol

At the Shaw's Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre

    The Orchard (After Chekhov)
    The Baroness and the Pig
    Henry V

THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL

The Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, has also announced its 2018 season https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/WhatsOn/ThePlays including three plays by Shakespeare: Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Coriolanus, and The Comedy of Errors along with such classics as Long Days Journey into Night and An Ideal Husband.

Listings adapted from “On the Boards” appearing in Artvoice 05/02/2018