Graphic from Nickel City Opera

One of the more popular operas is being performed this weekend at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.  Nickel City Opera will stage Mozart's masterpiece  The Marriage of Figaro.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley had a chance to attend a rehearsal where the stars of this opera were gearing up for performances Friday and Sunday. 

ROMEO AND JULIET, the tragedy by Shakespeare presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, opened at “Shakespeare Hill” in Delaware Park and runs Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30pm through July 12. While Peter still naively clings to the notion that this is a romance, Anthony reminds us that it is a tragedy, played out by a number of mercurial characters, not just Mercutio. Take a blanket or jacket and something to sit on; and, in the best Shakespearean tradition, refreshments may be purchased on-site and consumed during the performance (from which the phrase “The Peanut Gallery” comes).

This year at the Shaw Festival, Harveen Sandhu plays Eliza Doolittle. Not the singing Eliza, but the Eliza of the source material, George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. WBFO's Mike Desmond spoke with Sandhu about the role.

The Shaw Festival is featuring a splashy song-and-dance musical this season. "Sweet Charity" is the story of a dancer seeking love and Julie Martell is on stage almost constantly in the role. She spoke with WBFO's Mike Desmond.

FUN HOME, the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist, swept five Tony Awards this past Sunday in the musical category.

The 25th Annual Artie Awards presentation last Monday night at 710 Main Theatre was a high energy non-stop romp featuring seven musical numbers with the original Buffalo casts, very funny ad-libs, not to mention lots of fabulous shoes and great hair.  The venue was a first for the Arties, but we hope not the last. 

Photo from The Book of Mormon webpage

"The Book of Mormon" returns to Shea's Buffalo this week.  The show broke records two-years ago with the Buffalo audience. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talks with Shea's President Tony Conte about why the Broadway hit is so popular in this community and its one-week return for eight-shows.

Photo from The Arities Website.

Buffalo's theater community will be celebrating its best productions and performers Monday night. The 25th Annual Arties will be held at 710-Main Theater downtown. 

photo courtesy of Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival's production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" is drawing favorable reviews. One of the show's stars, actor Martin Happer, took time recently to discuss his role as Black Stache.

Photo from the Buffalo Philharmoic Orhcestra

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director JoAnn Falletta is the recipient of the statewide SUNY Distinguished  Medallion of Distinction Award.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says Falletta was honored for her accomplishments and working closely with the University at Buffalo.

With five venues, settled in a quaint town with plenty of walk-to attractions, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, continues to attract a sizeable audience from Buffalo. Anthony Chase reports in during the intermission of "Peter and the Starcatcher" at the Royal George Theatre which is attracting a large number of younger audience members (suitable for 8+) who react audibly to the imaginative plot - the "prequel" to "Peter Pan."

The 25th Annual Artie Awards, Buffalo's celebration of local theater, will be held on Monday, June 1 at 710 Main for the first time. The event will be hosted by actors Charmagne Chi, recently seen in "Carousel," and Amy Jakiel, recently in "She Loves Me," with Artvoice theater editor and Theater Talk co-host Anthony Chase.  Doors (and bar) at 710 Main will open at 7 p.m.; the Artie Awards show begins at 8 p.m.  The modest admission fee helps support the Immunodeficiency Clinic at ECMC.

710 Main Theatre looking to build on past success

May 19, 2015

In preparing the 2015-2016 schedule for 710 Main Theatre,  it's apparent that Shea's President Anthony Conte considered a wide array of possibilities.

Kelli Bocock-Natale is two for two (her previous Macbeth was a knockout) as a winning director of Shakespeare at the New Phoenix Theatre.  Bringing Shakespeare's inventive language to 21st century ears demands every ounce of love and attention that a director can muster, and aided by an eye-catching (though minimal) set from Paul Bustaph and an appropriately magical, mystical soundscape by Tom Makar, Bocock-Natale "brings it" (including a new twist on the ending) to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (through May 23).

With so many regional stages it's bound to happen that some productions are uneven, and this week while "Carousel" (MusicalFare thorugh May 17) was generally disappointing, "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" (Irish Classical through May 17) was helped by Kristen Tripp Kelley.  Anthony enjoyed "Rust Belt Grotesque" (ART InTheBox through May 23) and the musical "She Loves Me" (Kavinoky through May 24).  And Theater Talk is very much looking forward to Kelli Bocock-Natale's direction of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (New Phoenix Theatre through May 23).

The 69th annual Tony Award nominations were announced Tuesday morning by co-hosts Mary-Louise Parker, past Tony winner, and Bruce Willis (yes, since you just asked yourself, he's going to make his Broadway debut in the upcoming "Misery"). The awards will be handed out on June 7th in a live telecast from Radio City Music Hall, co-hosted by Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming.

The 2015 Pulitzer Prizes were announced early this week and "Between Riverside and Crazy" by Stephen Adly Guirgis won for drama, a work written with Buffalo actor and UB teacher Stephen McKinley Henderson in mind.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Tony Award winning Broadway show Kinky Boots opened this week at Shea's. The lead producer is a 25-year veteran in Broadway shows and a four-time Tony Award winner. As WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, the producer says he is thrilled to bring Kinky Boots to a Buffalo audience.

Photo provided by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orhcestra

It's been more than 70 years since the death of Glenn Miller. But his music, popularized during World War II, lives on in modern times. The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs Friday morning and Saturday evening with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhan's Music Hall. WBFO's Eileen Buckley spoke to the music director and vocalist Nick Hilscher. 

This week Anthony interviewed Steven McKinley Henderson in an "Inside the Actor's Studio" format and enjoyed Henderson's memories about Broadway, Hollywood, The Regional Theater Movement, The Black Arts Movement, and August Wilson. 

If you are a Downton Abbey fan you might want to check out a comedy theater production in Buffalo.  America's Got Downton plays Friday and Saturday evenings, April 10th & 11th, at 7:30 at 710-Main Theatre downtown. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley sat down with London actor and impressionist Luke Kempner who performs a one-man show featuring his comedic take on more 30 Downton characters. 

Two actors with Buffalo roots who "made it big" will share with acting students next week. Roslyn Ruff, Broadway star active on TV and in film (The Help) comes back to Buff State on Monday, April 13 at 4 p.m. to conduct a workshop in The Flexible Theatre for young actors in any medium. Roslyn will then engage in a discussion with the general public at 5:30 p.m. 

At the end of this year The Lennon Sisters will mark their 60th year in the entertainment business. They will be performing Friday, April 10 at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. They first made their debut on the Lawrence Welk Show in December of 1955. WBFO's Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with Kathy Lennon about their legacy and success.

Theater Talk: Meetings in the Alleyway

Apr 3, 2015

This week Anthony returns from the American Theater Critics Association Annual Conference, which this year was in New Orleans, to report that regional and community theater artistic directors all have the same concerns, whether the city is a tourist mecca or "just Buffalo."  One concern that everyone has is getting works by a variety of playwrights actually produced. 

Photo from The New Phoenix Theatre program.

A play written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson continues on stage at the New Phoenix Theater in Buffalo. As WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, it features a local television meteorologist who portrays a priest in 'Angels Fall.'

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Dancers ranging in age of five to 65 will perform the classical ballet story of Cinderella Saturday evening.  The Greater Buffalo Youth Ballet performs at UB's Center for the Arts. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says the classic tale features over 60-dancers.  

As the nomination period for the Tony Awards draws close, Anthony ventures to Broadway to take in the musical "On the 20th Century" with Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, "The Audience" with Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and "Disgraced" presenting the real lives of Disney princesses - and it's NOT for children (just those who once were).  Meanwhile, both stages at the Alleyway Theatre Complex are busy.

Our western tradition of theater began with the Greeks, and for them, theater was community theater.  When Sophocles, Euripides, or Aeschylus saw their plays, it was a community  effort.  To this day, Greek philosophy, politics, religion, ethics, medicine, and, of course, community theater, are an integral part of who we are.  This week Theater Talk notes several community offerings including "The Boys Next Door" presented by both the Lancaster Regional Players at the Lancaster Opera House and The Western Door Playhouse at the Woodbox Theatre in Niagara Falls,  "The Odd Couple" presented by

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Two Buffalo artists have created new paintings and sculptures and their work is inspired by some of the greatest artists of all time.  WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says the artwork is on display at the Dolce Valvo Art Center on the Niagara College Community Campus in Sanborn and will share some artist advice with students. 

Pre-dating the TV show "Seinfeld" ("the show about nothing") by 100 years, Oscar Wilde's most popular (and unfortunately last) play "The Importance of Being Earnest" moved one contemporary critic to write that he had enjoyed the play but found it empty of meaning.  Nobody cares when you have delightful verbal fencing written by a master with lines such as:  “To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up,” “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his”  and "I hate people who are not serious about meals.