Theater Talk: This week it's musicals with sounds of the '50s, the '70s and the '90s (the 1590s)

Mar 2, 2018

S-M-L describes the stages mounting musicals (which take us back in time) discussed on this week's Theater Talk. There's the smallish but always intense Paul Robeson Theatre's DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE, created by Micki Grant in the turbulent early '70s; the medium sized Musicalfare Theatre's SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE with songs from the '50s by Lieber and Stoller, and the large Shea's Performing Arts Center's SOMETHING ROTTEN, about the first musical created in the '90s (the 1590s). 

SOMETHING ROTTEN at Shea's (3/6 - 3/11) tells the story of the "Bottom Brothers" who, to compete with the "rock star" William Shakespeare, invent the musical, combining story, song, and dance.
Credit Public Radio WBUR, Boston

OPENING

BEN BUTLER, comedic drama by Richard Strand, directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring John Fredo, Christopher Evans, Tom Loughlin, Patrick Coleman. Mar 2-25, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE, musical entertainment written by Micki Grant, conceived by Vinnette Carroll, directed & by Carlos R. A. Jones. Mar 2-25, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

Micki Grant, the creator of the 1970s eclectic musical DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE, at the Paul Robeson Theatre (3/2-3/25).
Credit Lia Chang

THE NIGHT ALIVE, comedy by Conor McPherson presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Brian Cavanagh, starring Vincent O'Neill, Brian Mysliwy, Cassie Gorniewicz, Kevin Craig, Adam Yellen. Mar 2-25, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

SOMETHING ROTTEN, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino, starring Rob McClure, Josh Grisetti, Adam Pascal. Mar 6-11, 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

WE GOTTA BINGO, interactive dinner theater comedy by WGB Creative presented by Lancaster Regional Players, directed by Russ Wendel. Mar 2-18, Fri & Sat at 7, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave. Lancaster. (683-1776). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org    

ONGOING

BEGINNING AGAIN, world premiere of a play by David Alan Brown, directed by Neal Radice, starring David Hayes, Smirna Mercedes-Perez, Adam Hayes, Tom Owen. Through Mar 10, Thu-Sat at 7:30. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

FAR AWAY, play by Caryl Churchill presented by Torn Space, directed by Dan Shanahan. Through Mar 10, Thu-Sat at 7:30, plus Mar 11 at 7:30. Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave. (812-5733). www.tornspacetheater.com

SMOKEY’S JOE’S CAFÉ    : The Songs of Leiber & Stoller, musical revue directed by John Fredo, starring Brian Brown, Nicole Marrale Cimato, Dudney Joseph, Jr., Ben Michael Moran, Lorenzo Shawn Parnell, Victoria Perez, Michele Marie Roberts, Marc Sacco, Zoe Scruggs. Through Mar 11, 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

CLOSING

AH, WILDERNESS, comedy by Eugene O'Neill,  directed by L. Don Swartz, starring Joann V. Mis, DJ Swartz, Vanessa Stipkovits, Trey Wydysh. Through Mar 4, Thu at 7, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda. (743-1614). www.starrynighttheatre.com.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

GORDITAS, reading in Spanish of the play by Gustavo Ott, presented by Raíces Theatre Company, directed by Sheila M. López, starring Melinda Capeles, Smirna Mercedes-Pérez, María Pérez-Gómez, Victoria Pérez. Mar 18 at 6. Road Less Traveled, 500 Pearl St. (381-9333). Free admission.

JITTERS, comedy by David French presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Sue Toomey, Guy Balotine, Marc Jon Filippone, Jeremy Kreuzer, Brett Klaczyk, Lucas Lloyd, Len Mendez, Katie Buckler, Alley Griffin. Through Apr 8, 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

UPCOMING

DISGRACED, play by Ayad Akhtar, directed by John Hurley, starring Afrim Gjonbalaj, Kristen Tripp Kelley, Matt Witten, Candace Whitfield, Mohammad Farraj. Mar 9-31, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, musical by Lloyd Webber & Rice presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Matthew LaChiusa, starring Christopher Teal, Anthony Alcocer, Candice Kogut, Casey Moyer; Nick Lama, Eliot Fox; Timothy Goehrig, Gary Andrews Stieglitz. Mar 8-31, Thu-Sat at 8. The 330 Performance Space, 330 Amherst St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

THE NANCE, play Douglas Carter Beane presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Kurt Schneiderman, starring Christopher Standart, Michael Seitz. Mar 8-24, Thu-Sat at 7:30. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (462-5549). www.subversivetheatre.org

‘NIGHT MOTHER, drama by Marsha Norman presented by Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by, Lara D. Haberberger, starring Heather Fangsrud, Priscilla Young-Anker. Mar 10-25, Sat & Sun at 2. Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant St. (598-1585). www.varlets.org

PRESENT LAUGHTER, comedy by Noel Coward presented by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by M. Joseph Fratello, starring Marc Ruffino, Dianna Kolek, Dawn Marcolini Newton, Lori Panaro, Robyn Baun, Brian Tabak. Mar 9-25, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus Mar 24 at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek, Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

SPRING AWAKENING, musical by Sater & Sheik, presented by MusicalFare Theatre, directed by Randy Kramer, starring Leah Berst, Patrick Cameron, Arianne Davidow, Adam Kluge, Nick Stevens, Jacob Albarella, Lisa Vitrano. Mar 8-18, Thu at 7:30, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2.  Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main St. (847-0850).  www.sheas.org

THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON, play by Jason Miller directed by Kelli Bocock-Natale, starring Richard Lambert, Victor Morales, John Kreuzer, Greg Natale, Mark Donahue. Mar 16-Apr 7, Thu-Sat at 8. . The New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park. (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

12 ANGRY MEN, courtroom drama by Reginald Rose, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Tom Slaiman, starring Sam Granieri, Sam Fadel, Mike Leszinski, Mike Lombardo, Drew Krause, Phil Weld, Don Batalaris, Ricco Slaiman, Bob Priest, Tim Bookhagen, Leon Levinsky, Carl Bishara, Brian Dana. Mar 8 at 7:30.  Mar 10-18, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Road, Niagara Falls (297-5910).

Listings adapted from "On the Boards" appearing in Artvoice 02/28/2018