Theater Talk: Women playwrights, directors tackle tough topics

Jan 26, 2018

In Hollywood, female screenwriters and directors may be "news," but here in Western New York this month it's clear that a woman's place is in the theater, especially when it comes to handling "difficult" subjects. As part of the International Women's Voices Theater Festival, Lara D. Haberberger is directing one acts, Kelly Beuth directs Paul Vogel's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, Katie Mallinson directs Jennifer Haley's THE NETHER,  Paulette D. Harris directs Dominique Morisseau's SKELETON CREW, and Lynne Kurdziel -Formato directs MAMMA MIA!

Sabrina Kahwaty plays "Iris" and Steve Jakiel is "Papa" in the virtual reality world of THE NETHER at Road Less Traveled Productions through February 11, 2018.

ONGOING

AN ACT OF GOD, play by David Javerbaum presented by O’Connell & Company, directed by Victoria Perez, starring Joey Bucheker. Through Feb 11, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

THE BOY AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING, original play by Finegan Kruckemeyer presented by Theatre of Youth. Through Feb 4, Sat & Sun at 2. Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

THE CONSTANT WIFE, comedy by W. Somerset Maugham, presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by David Oliver, starring Josephine Hogan, Steve Brachmann, Kristen Bentley, Kristen Tripp Kelley, Kate LoConti, Kelsey Mogensen, Eric Rawski, Jon May, Elliot Fox. Through Feb 11, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, play by Paula Vogel presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Kelly M. Beuth, starring Andrea Gollhardt, John Profeta, Brittany Germano, Theresa DiMuro-Wilber, Justin Fiordaliso, Jenny Gembka, Molly/Oliver Lewars. Through Feb 10, Thu-Sat at 7:30.  The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (462-5549). www.subversivetheatre.org

MAMMA MIA!, musical based on the songs of ABBA, directed by Lynne Kurdziel-Formato, starring Lisa Ludwig, Loraine O’Donnell, Debbie Pappas, Peter Palmisano, Doug Weyand, Matt Witten, Arianne Davidow, William Hin. Through Jan 28, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Held over, Feb 3 at 3:30 & 7:30.  Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

THE NETHER, play by Jennifer Haley, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Jakiel, Eve Everette, Dave Marciniak, Sabrina Kahwaty, Matt Rivera. Through Feb 11, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

SKELETON CREW, play by Dominique Morisseau directed by Paulette D. Harris. Through Feb 11, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

OPENINGS THIS WEEK

ALL MY SONS, drama by Arthur Miller presented by The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Fran Newton, starring Michael Breen, Kunji Rey, Louis Visone, Sarah Fratello. Jan 26-Feb 11, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus Feb 10 at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek, Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

THE BOYS IN THE BAND, reading of the play by Mart Crowley presented by Buffalo United Artists, starring Bebe Bvlgari, David Granville, Adam Hayes, Jimmy Janowski, Chris Kelly, Tristan Lambrigh, Eric Rawski, Brian Riggs, Doug Weyand. Jan 28 at 7. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org

FRED'S REQUIEM, staged reading of the comedy by Matthew LaChiusa, presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Candice Kogut, starring Thomas Bailer, Jeffrey Coyle, Diane DiBernardo, Cassie Gorniewicz, Robert Ernie Insana, Rich Kraemer, John Kreuzer, Nick Lama, Rick Lattimer, Matthew LaChiusa, Jacquie Maass. Clarissa Maloy. Jan 26 & 27 at 8. 330 Amherst St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

SISTER ROBERT ANNE'S CABARET CLASS (A One-Nun-sense Musical Event), dinner theater presented by Rocking Horse Productions & Lancaster Opera House, directed by Jane Navarro, starring Katherine Marchiano. Jan 26-Feb 4, Fri & Sat at 7, Sun at 2:30. Ripa's Restaurant, 4218 Walden Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.LancOpera.org

WE HAVE ISSUES, staged readings of short plays presented by The Brazen-Faced Varlets as part of the International Women's Voices Theater Festival, directed by Lara D. Haberberger. Jan 27 at 1. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave. (598 – 1585). www.varlets.org

UPCOMING

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. Feb 15-Mar 10, Thu-Sat at 7:30. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

FAR AWAY, play by Carol Churchill presented by Torn Space, directed by Dan Shanahan. Feb 16-Mar 11, Thu-Sat at 7:30, plus Mar 12 at 7:30. Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave. (812-1733). www.tornspacetheater.com

JITTERS, comedy by David French presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio. Feb 1-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

ROSE, play by Martin Sherman, presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed Saul Elkin, starring Tina Rausa. Feb 1-25, 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

WAITRESS, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino. Feb 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

WAY BACK WHEN: An Evening of One Acts by Grant Golden and Rebecca Ritchie, directed by Betsy Bittar, starring Pamela Rose Mangus, David Lundy, Jon Summers, Kathleen Rooney, Todd Fuller. Feb 2-24, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.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.

Adapted from "On the Boards" appearing in Artvoice 01/24/2018