Art/Theater

Two American classics open tonight, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" at the Irish Classical Theatre and Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" at the Lancaster Opera House, along with lighter fare including "Mamma Mia" at Shea's.

Actress Renee Taylor, known to millions as Fran Drescher’s overbearing (and overeating) mother on the TV series “The Nanny,” brings her one-woman show “My Life on a Diet” to Shea’s Smith Theatre from November 6th to the 16th. 

The exhibition "On Nature's Terms: Paintings by Thomas Paquette--Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act" remains on display through November 22 at the Quick Center for the Arts at Saint Bonaventure University. The short drive to the Southern Tier is dwarfed by the distances the artist traveled to complete the exhibition.

Photo from the Buffalo Public Theatre

A child's lie, that destroys the lives of two school teachers, is now being performed on at the New Phoenix Theatre. Buffalo Public Theatre is staging 'The Children's Hour.' It is adapted from the original 1934 play, tackling the topic of gay rights. WBFO's Eileen Buckley sat down with director Loraine O'Donnell, who explains how same-sex issues still transcend 80+ years later.

Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" opens Thursday and Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" continues at The New Phoenix Theatre, two plays that delve into what chaos is caused when young girls tell adult lies. On a more upbeat note, "Ain't Misbehavin'" brings the music of Fats Waller to Musicalfare Theatre with a young, energetic cast.

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" from the 1930s is not a "modern" play, but in style harkens back to Henrik Ibsen's realist dramas.  With a controversial topic, a rumor of lesbianism at a girl's school, Buffalo Public Theatre opens tonight at The New Phoenix Theatre on Johnson Park.

While the first round of plays for most theaters are winding down, and before the next cycle, there is still plenty of theater.  And coming up, "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Musicalfare and "The Children's Hour" at New Phoenix Theater, which offers a very intimate experience.  "Blood Type: Ragu" is at the Smith, and is all about growing up Italian.

The lights on Broadway dimmed for star of stage, film, radio and television, Marion Seldes, best known for her work in the plays of Edward Albee. Seldes died Monday at 86 after six decades of "ruling" Broadway with her regal presence. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Shea’s Performing Arts Center has set an all-time record for season tickets sold at the downtown theater.  13,644 season tickets have been sold for the new season that kicks off this week.  That includes more than 2,950 new season tickets.

Most of the Curtain Up! plays continue into October, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" at the New Phoenix Theater on Johnson Park in Buffalo, part of the international 100-year look back at World War I.  This sad story of young Germans who volunteer together is told with power and grace and is enhanced by the puppetry of Michele Costa.

Public Domain

Stage and screen star Polly Bergen passed away last Saturday at the age of 84. Nominated for a Golden Globe, a Tony, and multiple Emmy awards (she won for "The Helen Morgan Story"), she might be best remembered for her appearances on the television game show "To Tell the Truth."

A pop culture celebrity from television and Broadway will open the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pops concert series this Saturday at Klenihans Music Hall.  Singer, actor and dancer Matthew Morrison -- one of the star's of "Glee" -- will make his debut with the BPO.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with Morrison ahead of this weekend's Buffalo appearance.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Since several theaters have already opened up their schedules, tonight's Curtain Up! isn't truly the beginning of the theater season, but it will be a great party anyway.

After 20 years, Buffalo playwright Tom Dudzik's "Over the Tavern" continues to delight audiences, this time at the Kavinoky Theater through October 5. Set in 1959, the story of 12 year-old Rudy who goes "knuckle to ruler" with his teacher, Sister Clarissa, has been tightened up a bit, but all of the familiar cultural references remain intact.

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One of the most watched municipal election campaigns in North America is underway. Residents of Toronto vote next month and, already, it has been a political roller coaster. The main player in the drama is the subject of a new theatrical production that is about to hit the stage.

Free admission offered for Museum Day

Sep 17, 2014
Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

A new initiative will allow the public to visit area museums and cultural institutions for free. The event called Museum Day Live! will take place on September 27.

A local theater company will be pushed out of the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center, with the city's sale of the multiple-screen and fiscally-troubled movie complex to Benchmark Group.

Theater Talk co-host Anthony Chase will be the emcee at this year's Curtain Up! gala dinner at Shea's Performing Arts Center next Friday, September 19. While the dinner always sells out, the local theater productions themselves sell out even faster. 

Millions have enjoyed the comedy of Joan Rivers for decades on television, but comedy was only intended to support her while she launched her Broadway career. Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81. Anthony Chase recalls seeing her on Broadway, as well as many local stages.

On the eve of Labor Day, Peter and Anthony discuss the Astor Place Riot of 1849, which stemmed from a theatrical rivalry. 

Anyone who experienced Bruce Norris's riveting "Clybourne Park" at 710 Main Theatre, a Road Less Traveled production, will be interested to know that Norris's play "Qualms," currently in Chicago, continues the tradition of making audiences uncomfortable. 

Photo by Jay Moran/wbfo news

Accolades and large crowds accompanied "Motion Picture," the site-specific piece produced for Silo City in 2013 by Torn Space Theater. Producers hope to replicate that success this weekend with "STOREHOUSE."

Twice this week, the lights on Broadway were dimmed, a custom that honors the passing of a major star. Though best known for their work in film, Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams had strong ties to the stage. Anthony Chase and Peter Hall discuss their contributions in this week's Theater Talk.

On this week's Theater Talk, Anthony and new co-host Peter Hall talk about the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Anthony says the audience was so moved by legendary Broadway performer Chita Rivera's dancing that many openly wept. Also, it looks like Kander and Ebb's final musical The Visit might make it to Broadway after 11 years.

stratfordfestival.ca

For the Stratford Festival this season, actor Jonathan Goad is starring as the Earl of Kent in King Lear and Titania/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Gabe and Tony discuss the history of Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, Mary Poppins opening at ArtPark, and a staged reading of Ibsen's The Master Builder.  Tony also reviews Poseidon!  An Upside Down Musical.


On this week's Theater Talk, Gabe DiMaio and Anthony Chase discuss the death of theater legend Elaine Stritch.

On this week's Theater Talk, Gabe and Anthony talk about The May Queen at Chautauqua Theater Company, The Local One Act Showcase at American Repertory Theatre, Hecuba Again at Albert Invincible Theatre, Detour at Torn Space Theater, The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and Poseidon: An Upside Down Musical at Alleyway Theatre.

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

There exists quite a list of people who have called Western New York home and gone on to success in Hollywood. Among them is William Fichtner, who recently played Butch Cavendish, the nasty villain in the 2013 film The Lone Ranger.

WBFO News photo

This week on Theater Talk, Gabe and Tony discuss smaller productions and the the role that they play in the theater-going experience.

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