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

Acting coach Constantin Stanislavski (whose name is associated with Marlon Brando's "method acting") once said, famously, "Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors." But what if the actors are, well, actually kind of small? Two Buffalo favorites who fit that category show their huge talents in two ongoing productions.

The BPO serves thousands of school-age children with free concerts, but what about adults? For many years, the "BPOvations" have served as popular "music appreciation" courses.

Shea's Performing Arts Center and Albert Nocciolino just announced their 30th Anniversary Broadway Season (2017-2018) and went on to reveal that the long-awaited musical HAMILTON will be part of the 2018-2019 season. Next season special engagements include THE LION KING and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA while the season opens with Emilio and Gloria Estefan's ON YOUR FEET. This weekend's highly recommended plays are THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT at Road Less Traveled with very tight direction and stellar performances, STOP KISS which builds all evening towards "the kiss" (but with only two more performances at the Manny Fried Theatre), THE SEEDBED which is a family drama at the Irish Classical Theatre, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Kavinoky, and THE UNDERPANTS which is a modern adaptation by Steve Martin of a 1910 German play about sexual attraction, among other themes. And, opening tonight, it's the fabulous Jimmy Janowski as Cleo herself in CLEOPATRA, a BUA production at the Alleyway Theatre.


Shea's Performing Arts Center

A combination of classics and new tours add up to a big year for Shea's Performing Arts Center's fall season.

Here's how to experience SXSW from your living room

Mar 11, 2017

The massive arts festival South by Southwest has just kicked off. It features everything from tech talks and movie premieres to stand-up comedy shows, podcast recordings, and of course, lots of concerts.

But if you can't make it to Austin, Texas, for the festival, don't worry — you can still enjoy it from the comfort of your own home, says Melissa Locker, the culture reporter for Time magazine, The Guardian and The Takeaway.

In a telephone conversation earlier this week, Irish born playwright Bryan Delaney explained to WBFO Theater Talk co-host how he conceived of, nurtured, and ultimately crafted his latest "Irish" play, THE SEEDBED, which opens tonight at the Andrews Theatre on Main Street in Buffalo, the home of the Irish Classical Theatre Company.

This week Theater Talk recommends STOP, KISS (Subversive Theatre at the Manny Fried Playhouse); A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Kavinoky Theatre with powerful performances by John Fredo, Debbie Pappas Sham, Renee Landrigan and others; and looks forward to a new play by Bryan Delaney, THE SEEDBED, which opens tonight at the Irish Classical Theatre.

It takes two trucks to transport the International Touring Organ which will grace the stage of Kleinhans Music Hall when the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta welcome organist Cameron Carpenter to perform some rather loud music Friday morning and Saturday night. The all-digital organ's sounds were "sampled" from some of Carpenter's favorite organs.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Few people would expect to find a sprawling sculpture of a DNA-like structure in a public transit station.

"It's one of the most satisfying moments in all of music" says Dover Quartet cellist Camden Shaw about the music of Beethoven which was to be played tonight, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. at UB. UPDATE: CONCERT POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER (HIGH WINDS). NEW DATE T.B.A.

Scott Sackett

Have you ever felt like you’ve hit a barrier at work? A period when you’re just grinding it out and you’d like to find a way to get your head back in the game? That was what it was like for RE Katz. She’s a writer and artist who found that magic zone again at Dreamland Arts in their newly-launched residency program.  WBFO Arts and Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett visited with Dreamland’s first artist-in-residence and shares her story about the residency and the personal politics of her art.

WBFO News photo by Maggie Fleming

The Music is Art Festival is moving to a new location this year. Buffalo Riverworks will host the 15-year-old festival on September 9.

Buffalo Philharmonic

Eighteen-year-old African American violinist Maria Sanderson is the latest Sphinx Competition Winner and she's coming to Buffalo.


There's a lot to celebrate this week on Theater Talk. First off, WNED/WBFO will be the new presenter of the Annual Artie Awards which since 1991 have recognized excellence in Buffalo theater.


For more than a quarter century, Buffalo has honored the standouts of its theater community with the annual Artie Awards, and this year’s new presenter of the “Arties” is WNED|WBFO.

Mohawk Place hosting Tiny Desk Contest showcase

Feb 27, 2017
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

NPR's All Songs Considered is whittling down the list of submissions for its 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. It's a chance for independent musicians to showcase their work. Coinciding with the contest is a celebration of local talents that will be held inside a downtown Buffalo club.

If you called it a night as soon as La La Land was announced best picture, you didn't get the whole story. Moonlight, in fact, took home that prize.

In a shocking end-of-night twist, La La Land was incorrectly announced as best picture. In the midst of the celebration, La La Land's cast and crew were all smiles as they gathered on stage.

But then, mid-speech, one of La La Land's producers, Jordan Horowitz, had to break the news.

Two excellent offerings this week include AFTER THE REVOLUTION, the second of the three Amy Herzog plays presented this season at by the Jewish Repertory Theatre at the JCC in Getzville and THE COLLECTION by Harold Pinter at Torn Space Theater on Fillmore near Paderewski. Both feature strong emotions, deal with secrets and felt betrayals, although the threats in the Herzog play are not as palpable as they are in the Pinter, where they hang like a miasma, affecting everyone.

McKenna Moran

As demand for his landscape paintings continues to grow, it’s becoming clear that collectors are connecting with Thomas Paquette’s vision of the American vista. “It moves beyond even the representation of this beautiful landscape,” said Sharon Ewing of Philadelphia’s Gross McCleaf Gallery. “He's actually on a mission to make sure that we preserve it.”  It's a mission that is facing challenging times.

Mark Thomas Duggan

This week Theater Talk mentions one of the few plays up in a week of musicals.  Torn Space Theater presents THE COLLECTION by Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter about two couples whose dwellings are separated by an on-stage wall, with, however, telephone connection.

Peter Pfordresher/University at Buffalo

If you watched the Grammy Awards Sunday night, perhaps it inspired fantasies that one day you might march on stage and accept an award for your singing. Or maybe not.

Buffalo Museum of Science

A national holiday that pays tribute guitars of all genres spurred the Buffalo Museum of Science to stage a day-long celebration Saturday.


Buffalo-based recording and performing artists Shawn Elliot Lewis and Suzanne Bonifacio have made names for themselves on the experimental electronic music scene. Shawn is known by his following as Lesionread and Suzanne’s audiences know her by the stage name Space Cubs. The two artists were working in their West Side studio when WBFO Arts and Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett sat down to talk with them.

On this week's Theater Talk, Anthony discusses the difficulties with mounting a review such as SOPHISTICATED LADIES now at MusicalFare, Peter shares a moment while watching Eric Rawski and Caitlin Coleman in STEVE, and both agree on Theater of Youth's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER.

The Buffalo Connection: Rob Lieberman

Feb 6, 2017
Private Eyes / Global Television Network

Tim O’Shei of The Buffalo News has been traveling around the country visiting Western New Yorkers who’ve made it to the highest levels of show business and pop culture. Sunday's paper included his latest feature, with a profile of Buffalo native Rob Lieberman, who became one of the most successful commercial directors in the world, and is still hard at work filming television and movies.

This week on Theater Talk, Peter and Anthony talk about the fast-paced swordplay (choreographed by Steve Vaughan) at Theatre of Youth's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER which is good for anyone 8 to 80 years old. STEVE continues at Buffalo United Artists at the Alleyway Theatre complex, described as "middle aged gay men behaving badly." And in a Buffalo coup, Rajiv Joseph had his play ARCHDUKE read by Buffalo actors over at Buffalo State before he takes it to California. IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU "shoulda been" a little tighter, but both Peter and Anthony had a good time at this O'Connell and Company production, and were very pleased to see Sara Kovasci move into the lead role so seamlessly.

Anthony reports that despite stunning production elements, the plot of FRANKENSTEIN dragged a little (often a problem when the playwright and the director are the same person), but there is one gotcha! moment you won't want to miss and everyone agrees that Steve Copps as "the monster" is definitely worth seeing. Theatre of Youth opens THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER at the Allentown tomorrow at 2 pm. and it's up through March 5. STEVE, all about middle aged gay men, features a number of Buffalo's middle aged gay actors and there are many funny moments. And MARIELA IN THE DESERT delivers on many levels, with a well crafted play, clever staging, an ending that is a surprise, starring the talented Victoria Perez in the title role and great scene stealing moments from Melinda Capeles Rowe as Mariela's maiden sister-in-law.

After the holidays, the theater scene takes a moment to get back in gear, but this weekend, BANG!, we're back and running with seven, count 'em, seven openings. We have a play with incidental music (AMADEUS), an operetta ("PIRATES"), and an actual modern musical (42nd STREET). We have a scary play, familiar because of the Hitchcock movie, (DIAL M FOR MURDER) and scary play familiar because of many, many movies (FRANKENSTEIN), as well as a not-so-familiar drama about a family's coming apart (MARIELA IN THE DESERT). And we have a play about something that scares us all.... getting older, less vital, and more marginalized, with STEVE, presented as part of the Buffalo United Artist's 25th anniversary year. For a conversation between Theater Talk's Peter Hall and Irish Classical's Vincent O'Neill and Fortunato Pezzimenti, click here.

Johanna Fogle /

Hayden Fogle demonstrated his prodigious blues guitar skills at age 12, performing on stage at the UB Center for the Arts with blues guitar legend Buddy Guy. Now at age 16, he has teamed up with guitarist and singer Vince De Rosa. The duo will perform at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in late January.  WBFO Blues host Pat Feldballe recently spoke to the pair.

In FRANKENSTEIN, on stage from January 20th through February 12th Director David Oliver has adapted Mary Shelley's classic gothic novel to the turn of the twentieth century, where the conflicts of "child vs. parent", "God vs Man", and "man vs. machine" take on new meaning. Meanwhile, over at the Kavinoky the unnamed "Pilot" in GROUNDED, staring at a computer screen, starts to blur the boundaries of "woman vs. machine" as modern drone warfare has its affect on her psyche.