shea's

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.


Scott Sackett

Take a look at any guide to starting a business and you’re likely to find first among the recommended steps, to research your market and then formulate a business plan. But some entrepreneurs find success without a plan and instead follow their hearts, use their smarts, and catch a trend. WBFO’s Arts & Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett visited with a local performance artist who did just that, opening a studio in Buffalo for a cinematic style of dance that’s gaining enormous popularity worldwide.


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.

Moving from the East Side (the African American Cultural Center) to the West Side of Main Street (at Shea's 710 Main Theatre) the Paul Robeson Theatre opened CHRISTMAS IS COMIN' UPTOWN, a musical based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Scrooge is now a Harlem slumlord about to foreclose an apartment house, a recreation center and a church when his late partner and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future take him on their rounds. There's one addition to the classic tale-- a rousing gospel number in a baptist church.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito spent three days visiting this area. His stay concluded on the stage of Shea's Performing Arts Center where he was questioned by two local lawyers.


Michael Murphy of the highly regarded Old Globe Theatre in San Diego has been chosen as successor to Anthony Conte, president of Shea's Performing Arts Center (and the Smith Theatre and Shea's 710 Main). 

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.

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.

Anthony Conte
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Anthony Conte, the president of Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, has announced his retirement.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo's Curtain Up! remains one of the premier theater events in the country.  WBFO's Eileen Buckley says Friday night will mark the 34th annual celebration of Buffalo's professional theater season.

At the age of 80, Australian comedian Barry Humphries is retiring his character "Dame Edna Everage" after a 2015 farewell tour. Anthony flew out to Los Angeles to catch a show last week, but Buffalo/Toronto audiences can wait until early April when the tour comes to the Royal Alexandra in Toronto.

Menotti's opera for all ages - "Amahl and the Night Visitors" - features a new production at the Riviera Theatre this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  The BPO and Neglia Ballet team up for Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" Saturday and Sunday at Shea's where Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" opens on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday, December 3rd, one night only at 710 Main Street, it's "4 Girls 4" with Maureen McGovern, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, and Faith Prince.

Actress Renee Taylor, known to millions as Fran Drescher’s overbearing (and overeating) mother on the TV series “The Nanny,” brings her one-woman show “My Life on a Diet” to Shea’s Smith Theatre from November 6th to the 16th. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Shea’s Performing Arts Center has set an all-time record for season tickets sold at the downtown theater.  13,644 season tickets have been sold for the new season that kicks off this week.  That includes more than 2,950 new season tickets.

Theater Talk co-host Anthony Chase will be the emcee at this year's Curtain Up! gala dinner at Shea's Performing Arts Center next Friday, September 19. While the dinner always sells out, the local theater productions themselves sell out even faster. 

Shea's

Shea's unveiled its 2014-2015 season Wednesday night, in a schedule that mixes recent Broadway hits with old favorites.

WBFO News photo

The audience is having a 'Wicked' time at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo.  The musical Wicked is on stage now until January 26. WBFO's Theater Talk host Anthony Chase and Eileen Buckley chat about the elaborate production. Chase also takes us to the Kavinoky Theater in Buffalo for Proof  in this week's edition of Theater Talk.

Buffalo's theater season is at the halfway mark now that we're into the New Year. This week, Theater Talk host Anthony Chase and Eileen Buckley rundown the highlights so far, with much more to come.

"Ghost" continues live on stage at Shea's in Buffalo, but not under the best reviews. WBFO's Theater Talk host Anthony Chase explains why. Chase also reviews a number of community theater plays underway and traces it's "ancient" roots of community theater.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

As Curtain Up is celebrated Friday night in downtown Buffalo, theatergoers should notice a sparkle inside Shea's Performing Arts Center. Over the summer, Shea's continued with its five-year restoration project that is bringing it back to its original shine when it opened in 1926.

Photo from Curtain Up!

Renowned playwright A.R. Gurney returns to his hometown Friday night. The Buffalo native will serve as honorary chairperson of Curtain Up!  WBFO's Eileen Buckley spoke with Gurney from his home in Connecticut about how Buffalo inspired his work and the success of local theater.


After four years of dust gathering on the stage of the Studio Arena Theatre, promoters say the arts center will be open in time for Curtain Up! in September.

While the building has been purchased out of foreclosure by 710 Main Street, that company has hired Shea's to run the place and find the array of productions to fill the stage.

The announcement Studio Arena will re-open brought a cheer from Bea Militello. The Bijou Grille president says her restaurant lost one-third of its business when Studio Arena closed.

"It's vital to our business," said Militello.