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.

The Jewish Repertory Theatre opened COMPULSION OR THE HOUSE BEHIND with a veteran cast presenting the story, based on real life, of "Sid Silver" trying to produce a play about "The Diary of Anne Frank" and meeting resistance which only feeds his paranoia. The most "sane" character on stage is Anne Frank, represented by a Michele Costa designed puppet, ably manipulated and voiced by Amelia Scinta.

courtesy Albright Knox Art Gallery

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is gearing up for what's being called a "monumental" public art installation this summer, one that's going to alter several structures across the City of Buffalo.


Long anticipated but absolutely worth the wait, OF MICE AND MEN at The New Phoenix Theatre offers a peak performance; Buffalo Quickies at The Alleyway might be their best in 25 years; Playwright Terrence McNally speaks tonight (a BUA Funder at the TR Site) and tomorrow (free event at Buff State).


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Thousands of Western New Yorkers, just one day after enjoying Easter Sunday, were out on Monday taking part in Dyngus Day festivities. Inside Buffalo's Broadway Market, the celebrations included a contest to determine "Buffalo's Best Kielbasa."

Every theater in Buffalo has its niche, a special calling, and for the Alleyway that means putting on new plays. Meanwhile, the New Phoenix seems to specialize in classics – sometimes 16th century, sometimes 20th century. And, for the Jewish Repertory Theatre, well, their name says it all.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While churches throughout Western New York will host Holy Thursday services and remain open for continued quiet prayer, seven in Buffalo's Polish heritage neighborhoods will welcome visitors to take in both a spiritual and cultural experience.


The Theater community is really hitting its stride as we head into spring with a number of very fine performances. With two short runs, closing this Sunday, which include two very different “look backs” at the mid-20th century, we also have a number of plays continuing into late March and early April including three excellent offerings by our local amateur theaters at the Roycroft, Ellicott Creek, and the Woodbox Theatre in Niagara Falls.

Irish Trad seisiún

Mar 17, 2016
Photo provided by Mark Warford

There will be plenty of the wearing of the green, green bagels and beer on this Saint Patrick's Day.  But WBFO's Eileen Buckley found out about some local musicians who provide traditional Irish music monthly in the area.

You don’t have to be an expert on World War II or the Holocaust to enjoy a one man play which opens tonight at 710 Main Theater. WISENTHAL is suitable for ages 12+. The play runs 90 minutes without intermission. WBFO Theater Talk co-host Peter Hall spoke with the playwright.

Thomas O'Neil-White

If it was a movie, it might be titled "Spring Sojourn for Shark Girl."

The musical "Beautiful" tells the inspiring true story of Carole King who began life as Carol Klein from Brooklyn, a girl who broke into the record business as a teenager, ultimately writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. During her years cranking out those hits in NYC's Brill Building, Carole King and her partner Gerry Goffin were best friends and also competitors with another song writing team, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Brian Meyer/WBFO News

A newspaper that serves the region's growing immigrant and refugee populations has published a primer for new Americans that highlights the voting process. A recent edition of Karibu News featured a two-page spread in three languages. It's an effort to encourage naturalized citizens to head to the polls and to spur discussion among those who cannot vote. WBFO's Brian Meyer sat down with publisher Rubens Mukunzi, a Rwandan immigrant who moved to Buffalo three years ago.


Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

Dancers, dignitaries and shoppers gathered inside The Broadway Market Friday to mark the official launch of the Easter shopping season at the Buffalo landmark.


Shea’s Performing Arts Center and Albert Nocciolino have announced their 2016-2017 season including FINDING NEVERLAND, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and A CHRISTMAS STORY. Meanwhile, at Shea’s, the Carole King musical opens on Tuesday, a play about a comedian turned Nazi hunter opens on Thursday, and two shows open tonight -a play about bullying at Road Less Traveled, and Theater of Youth presents a stage version of a classic children’s novel.

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo will be the launch for the first national tour of "Finding Neverland." The tour will open October 11 at Shea's Performing Arts Center. Other big name shows like "42nd Street," "Wicked," and "the Sound of Music" are among the highlights of the 2016-2017 Broadway Series at Shea's.  

Andrew Beiter

Messages of hate have plagued society for many centuries, but they’ve never spread more rapidly than in today’s Internet society.

Dixie Longate comes up from Mobile and returns to Shea's Smith with her southern-style humor, a little biting (a la Joan Rivers) at times; the Irish (well, one actor, but when it's Bosco Hogan that's all you need) take over Canisius; and FINALLY, the American Repertory Theatre is in their new home on Amherst Street, ready for a March 10th opening night with a play by John Guare.

Buffalo History.org

On Sunday, the Buffalo History Museum will host a conversation with Western New York native and celebrated actor William Fichtner. Prior to his return, Fichtner shared some time with WBFO.


An idea that was hatched years ago by NPR to highlight independent musicians from around the country has inspired a promoter to stage an event in downtown Buffalo.

Craig Windham, a voice familiar to many NPR listeners, died unexpectedly last night of a pulmonary embolism. He was 66.

Windham was an award-winning journalist who covered presidential campaigns, hurricanes, earthquakes and the first Persian Gulf War. More recently, he focused on anchoring and reporting for NPR's Newscasts. In less than 40 seconds, Windham could explain the intricacies of a complicated bill or capture the glory of a space shuttle flying over the nation's capital.

'The Boss' rocks sold out First Niagara Center

Feb 26, 2016
Nick Lippa

"The Boss" was back, and the sold-out crowd at First Niagara Center couldn't have been more pleased that a four-decade-long music tradition continued Thursday night.

Three openings this week include THE CITY OF CONVERSATION, a play about politics by Anthony Giardina at the Kavinoky, CHILDREN OF EDEN, a musical by Stephen Schwartz at the Lancaster Opera House, and NEVER WEAR A TUBE TOP WHILE RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL, a comedy in drag starring “Dixie Longate” (of “Tupperware” fame).

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Canisius College hosted a civil and human rights leader at its annual Black History Month celebration in downtown Buffalo today. Former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous was the keynote speaker at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. 

Motorists on the Thruway are seeing signs near the site of the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn in an initiative that pays tribute to an icon in African-American history.

Opening tonight, THE SHIPMENT, deals with multiculturalism and cultural identity while EL HAJJ MALIK concerns the life of Malcolm X. Both of these plays will appeal to audiences of BAD JEWS and FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN. Meanwhile, LOAD MORE GUYS deals with on-line gay hook-ups, a topic in the news recently.

WBFO file photo

You might say that late local music legend Lance Diamond is getting his own "way" on Elmwood Avenue.

Two plays, both running through Sunday, February 28, deal with the emotions that cultural identity stirs up, as well as culture versus stereotypes. BAD JEWS presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Steve Vaughan, asks questions about Jewish identity while FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN presented by Paul Robeson Theatre, directed by Laverne Clay, presents a late-in-life friendship between boxer Muhammad Ali and Hollywood actor Steppin' Fetchit.

On this first week of Black History Month, the bureau that promotes tourism locally is looking to stress the importance of Buffalo’s African American heritage.

Just as three plays close this weekend - Irish Classical's ALL MY SONS, Subversive Theatre's  KEELY AND DU, and Second Generation's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASH AND SPIKE - we have four openings - Theatre in the Mist's ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Paul Robeson's FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN, Theatre of Youth's NUMBER THE STARS and Jewish Rep's BAD JEWS, about a family argument over who's more worthy of a family heirloom.

Changes to state law lifting distillers' spirits

Feb 3, 2016
Wendy Guild Swearingen

You may have noticed more and more distilleries opening in recent years in the Buffalo area. One reason is a recent change in state law that's allowed local distillers to run more lucrative operations. WBFO contributor Wendy Guild Swearingen, an editor with Buffalo Spree magazine, visited some local distilleries to learn about some of the unique spirits being concocted in the Queen City.


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