O'Connell & Company

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.

This week Peter and Anthony discuss three plays still up this weekend: THE CRUCIBLE with stellar performances by Adriano Gatto and Aleks Malaise at the Kavinoky Theatre; MINDING FRANKIE, a heartwarming, funny play (but take a tissue, too!) with Kristen Tripp Kelley and Christian Brandjes, and PAINTING CHURCHES at O'Connell & Company with many themes, including "you can't go home again."

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

One of Buffalo's prominent members of the theater community will be honor Friday night at the 2016 Curtain Up! Actress and director Mary Kate O'Connell will receive a Star in the Theatre District's Plaza of Stars.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley recently met with O'Connell to talk about her theater group, O'Connell & Company and her work with area youth.

www.irishclassical.com

Niagara-on-the-Lake's Shaw Festival presents MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION and it is skillfully staged and directed as if this pro-feminist play were being produced in a gentleman's club, which, indeed is how the first production came to be for this censored work. And, it's the Shaw production that will make its way across the border to 710 Main Theatre in the late fall. An excellent choice based on the opening which Peter and Anthony saw over the weekend. Remember, 710 Main is where the Artie awards will be presented on Monday, June 6 at 8 p.m. (bar opens at 7). Meanwhile, Shaw's great friend Oscar Wilde, will have his play AN IDEAL HUSBAND (one of Shaw's favorites) open tonight at the Irish Classical Theatre (625 Main). And don't forget that O'Connell & Company is presenting Sondheim & Furth's COMPANY at The Park School in Snyder.

Photo by David Cooper.

The 26th Annual Artie Awards nominations have been published, recognizing the Artie Committee's top five choices for a variety of categories, from Best Actor and Best Actress to Best Production to Best Lighting, 19 categories in all.  And everyone is invited to the Artie Awards Show, Monday June 6, 2016  at 710 Main Theatre -  red carpet at 7:30, the show starts promptly at 8:00 p.m.  And, while "win-win" is an overused phrase, this time it's apt: The Shaw Festival and 710 Main Theatre (operated by Shea's Performing Arts Center) have a five year deal to bring the Shaw Festival's unquestioned excellence to Buffalo audiences, starting with G.B. Shaw's MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION this fall.

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.

The month of November may end soon, but many local productions will be up through Sunday, December 6, so if your entertainment plans were curtailed by Thanksgiving "busy-ness" you still have time.

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. 

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).

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. 

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 Pulitzer Prize winning play hits a local stage Friday night.  This week, Theater Talk host Anthony Chase offers an in-depth review of the opening of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds at the New Phoenix Theatre.