Arts/Culture

The WBFO Arts & Culture News Desk is co-funded by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

Though it doesn't open until August, the reputation of  Jamestown's National Comedy Center is spreading throughout the entertainment industry. With the recent donation of the archive of the late Shelley Berman, and the previously-acquired George Carlin archive, the facility is generating interest among fans, comics and scholars.


Equal Rights Center to open alongside Tubman, Seward

Feb 23, 2018
City of Auburn

Construction is underway on a $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, NY. The goal of the facility is to highlight New York's history of promoting social and equal rights.

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The LehrerDance Board of Directors broke their silence on the abrupt shutdown of the contemporary dance company. The board issued a statement Thursday evening in response to the closing. 

A widower, Roland, played by David Hayes at the Alleyway isn't in touch with his feelings, but he's feeling something bad as he's BEGINNING AGAIN in a brand new play by David Alan Brown. Disturbing and confusing, but it will stay with you for days and days, FAR AWAY's dystopian world at war with itself allows director Dan Shanahan and Scenographer Kristina Siegel to really spread their wings at Torn Space Theater. And JITTERS, a bit like NOISES OFF, is hilarious dinner theater in the "if it can go wrong it will go wrong" tradition at Desiderio's Dinner Theater.  Sue Toomey stars. Anthony had the chicken.

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

A local contemporary dance company has quietly shut-down with no explanation.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says no one is talking about what happened to LehrerDance.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Next month, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will be hitting the road, and leaving the country for its first international tour in three decades. The BPO are invited guests to headline concerts in Poland, including Warsaw's prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival.


Buffalo Rising

Jessica Marinelli of Buffalo Rising is effusive in her praise of Torn Space Theater. "If you haven't been there, you should go." On WBFO's Press Pass, Marinelli highlights Torn Space's recent production of  "Far Away," and the theater company's home, the historic Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. "It's a gem on the East Side."


www.shawfest.com
David Cooper

The three openings this week are BEGINNING AGAIN ("sounds existential") at the Alleyway Theatre, FAR AWAY ("creepy") at Torn Space, and MASTER HAROLD...AND THE BOYS ("a very short run") at Shea's 710 Theatre. And, Anthony reports on stars on and off Broadway: Mark Rylance, Uma Thurman, Blair Brown, Marsha Mason, Donna Murphy, and Buffalo's own Roslyn Ruff.


Nick Lippa WBFO

From the theater to a Kenmore East classroom, film scores are helping special needs students learn about classical music.

Joan Marcus

Marital infidelity is central to the plots of the two big theater offerings on Main Street, but the doctor-waitress affair is steamy at Shea's in WAITRESS while the infidelity in THE CONSTANT WIFE at the Irish Classical seems to lack any passion. For a good "family drama" drop in on the four employees at a soon-to-close auto plant as they balance self-interest with concern for their break-room "family" in the very powerful SKELETON CREW at the Paul Robeson Theatre. For more on WAITRESS, listen to a story by WBFO's Eileen Buckley about the character "LuLu" played by two local girls.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Two young local students will be making their debut in the Tony nominated musical WAITRESS. The show opens Tuesday night at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with the young actresses about clinching the audition for the role of Lulu. 

The Buffalo Zoo has seen millions of dollars put into new and renovated exhibits in recent years - and not just because it is such a familiar site for locals to visit.

While things slowed down considerably over the holidays, the theater community came back with a one-two punch and a number of thought provoking dramas about uncomfortable subjects, many written by and directed by women.

Kendrick Lamar.com

Kendrick Lamar's rise through the music industry could reach another level during Sunday's 60th annual Grammy Awards. A nominee for Record of the Year and Album of the Year,  Lamar is in line for two of the most prestigious awards. "He is really what the Grammys should be all about," said Jeff Miers, music critic for the Buffalo News.  "He became immensely popular, but he's also doing something that's really bold and new and forward-looking."


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!

Investigation: For some who lived in it, Keillor's world wasn't funny

Jan 25, 2018
Nate Ryan / MPR News File Photo

When Minnesota Public Radio abruptly severed ties with Garrison Keillor in November, the sole explanation offered by the company was "inappropriate behavior" with a female colleague. For his part, the creator and longtime host of A Prairie Home Companion described his offense as nothing more than having placed his hand on a woman's back to console her. An investigation by MPR News, however, has learned of a years-long pattern of behavior that left several women who worked for Keillor feeling mistreated, sexualized or belittled.

The Buffalo Connection: Fern Mallis

Jan 22, 2018
David Handschuh

Tim O’Shei of the Buffalo News has been traveling around the country visiting Western New Yorkers who’ve had a big impact on pop culture. His latest feature in The Buffalo Connection series – which hit print yesterday – is a profile on University at Buffalo graduate and Fashion Week co-founder Fern Mallis. Mallis has been working hard in the fashion industry for much of her life, and now she’s looking for a change of pace.


Iconic Rochester artist Wendell Castle dies at 85

Jan 22, 2018
WXXI-TV

An iconic figure in the art world, both in Rochester and around the world has died. Wendell Castle died in his Scottsville home on Saturday.

Young Simon's life is way over-scheduled while The Boy at the Edge of Everything is bored. Their lives intersect at Theatre of Youth. And, while the wife may be constant at Irish Classical, her husband is anything but. Coinciding with the #MeToo movement, Paula Vogel's tale of predatory older man/younger woman opens at Subversive Theatre with "How I Learned to Drive", and in the netherworld of VR and avatars, if they're not "real," are heinous crimes and misdemeanors of any consequence?

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He came, he saw, he designed. It was 150 years ago this year that Frederick Law Olmsted visited the Queen City and began the process of developing Buffalo's public park system. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, which oversees the parks, has announced plans to celebrate the milestone anniversary in the spring and summer.


After directing a fabulous THE PRODUCERS at the Kavinoky, Lynne Kurdziel-Formato brings her talents to MAMMA MIA!, the 1999 juke-box musical set to songs by ABBA, now extended through February 3! Across town, at O'Connell & Company, Victoria Perez has directed AN ACT OF GOD.  And (see listings below) both The Shaw Festival and The Stratford Festival have announced their 2018 seasons.

For many military personnel, readjusting to civilian life can be a battle. Transitioning from active service or returning from deployment can bring on feelings and emotions that are difficult to manage. For some, art can be a way to understand those feelings and find peace within oneself. In his series on the arts and social integration, WBFO’s Scott Sackett talks with artist and U.S. Army Colonel Jim Becker, one of the founders of the Artists/Veterans Art Collaborative.


National Comedy Center

Architectural Digest is out with its list of the "15 Most Noteworthy Museums Opening This Year" and the National Comedy Center in Jamestown is right there among much bigger names like Toronto and Scotland.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The H.H. Richardson building at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center sat derelict for years until preservationists saved the Elmwood Avenue landmark and started turning around the vast structure. The latest addition is a giant new sculpture outside the entrance of what is now a hotel and soon-to-be architecture center.


Gregory Costanzo

As one year closes and another begins, we look back on whom we have "lost" the previous year, but did we really "lose" folks? Truly, their legacy continues to inform us, educate us, and entertain us. 2017 saw the passing of local actor, director, and impresario Tom Dooney, as well as co-founder of the Theatre of Youth, Rosalind Cramer, and one of Buffalo's favorite sons, playwright A.R. "Pete" Gurney.


The same economic, cultural and social forces that affect society affect the theater scene, including more use of social media and less face-to-face social interaction in the theater community.


Kerra Trivieri

Organ music has been part of Christian worship services since the Middle Ages. It has a long history in concert programs, but in the early 20th century, the organ crossed over into public arenas and a new style of organ playing developed for silent movies, stage acts, and sporting events. WBFO’s Arts & Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett visited with organist Curtis Cook, whose innovative flair inspires audiences in the churches, theaters, and other venues where he plays.


Buffalo Academy of Science

Mark Mortenson has been named as the new Executive Director of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

There are still very good shows to catch, with both A CHRISTMAS CAROLs wrapping up Saturday, December 23; MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM going to Sunday, Christmas Eve, and, at Shea's THE LION KING with all of its swirling movement goes until January 7th in the New Year.


University at Buffalo Music Library

More than 600 musical works performed at the University at Buffalo as far back as 1964 will soon be preserved on digital format. They include works by some of America's most prominent composers of the 20th century.

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