Theater Talk

In 1967 Detroit, brother and sister Lank and Chelle find their lives upended by a mysterious woman and as their family falls apart, the '67 riots tear their city apart as well. DETROIT'67 opens tonight at the Bratton Theater at the Chautauqua Institution.

MusicalFare

It's obvious that oodles of love and affection and time, that precious commodity, went into getting the new musical PRETTY FUNNY ready for its premiere.

Chautauqua Theater Company

New York City-based Equity actor John Seidman actually prefers acting "on the road" in regional theater, such as the summer program at the Chautauqua Institution, to much of what is happening "back home" in Manhattan. And that's why he keeps coming back to the Bratton Theater, this summer for his eighth season, appearing in a leading dual role as "Selsdon/Burglar" in a British farce by Michael Frayn called NOISES OFF.


CTC

"The show must go on!" If Shakespeare himself didn't say that, Shakespeare in Delaware Park did, and hours after having their sound equipment burgled by varlets, they were back up and running with an all-woman production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

Peter Hall

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR is presented with whimsy and panache by an all-woman cast at Shakespeare in Delaware Park and is an opportunity to see some mighty fine Buffalo talent assembled on one stage.

The Buffalo News

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, a comedy by William Shakespeare about the would-be womanizer Sir John Falstaff, presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, directed by Eileen Dugan, opened Thursday night starring Pamela Rose Mangus as "Sir John Falstaff." Mangus discussed the unusual role with Theater Talk co-host Peter Hall.


Anthony is back from the west coast having attended The American Theatre Critics Association annual conference where much of the cocktail conversation was about critic Hedy Weiss whose recent reviews in the Chicago Sun Times created controversy.

Buffalo-born playwright A.R. "Pete" Gurney died Tuesday in his New York City home. He was 86. WBFO Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says Gurney always remained fond of Buffalo. 

Eileen Elibol, WNED|WBFO

The ARTIE AWARDS, produced by WNED|WBFO were a huge success in terms of fun, for honoring excellence in theater, and to raise money (over $14,000 and counting) for the ECMC Immunodeficiently Clinic. Some recent Shaw outings have been less than hoped for, but that's not the case for Shaw's SAINT JOAN which is powerful theater and for a tragedy, surprisingly funny. It's at the large Festival Theatre in Niagara on the Lake and makes full use of the stage to astound the audience. Opening tonight: FREE FRED BROWN! with Ujima Company at Paul Robeson Theatre on Masten Avenue.

You don't have to go out of town to catch good theater in June and some lovely leading ladies. Tonight's long awaited openings include Noel Coward's HAY FEVER with Josephine Hogan at the Irish Classical, LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA with the Second Generation Theatre's Debbie Pappas Sham at the Lancaster Opera House, and GET HAPPY with Sára Kovacsi, a celebration of Mr. "Over the Rainbow" Harold Arlen, Buffalo's own, which opens at Theatre of the Mist.

Mark Mullville, Buffalo News

Second Generation Theatre Company opens LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA on Friday at the Lancaster Opera House, but next year they'll have their own theater.

Anthony and Peter enjoyed meeting theater fans at the WNED studios for coffee and donuts and "Theater Talk Live" where they talked about the summer season, including the Shaw Festival, Chautauqua, and Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and were treated to live performances from Second Generation Theatre whose LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA opens next Friday as well as MusicalFare, whose PRETTY FUNNY opens in July.

Now in their fifth year, Raíces Theatre Company has found the sweet spot where resources and mission match the founders' original vision. 

Anthony and Peter are doing the first (of more, we hope) "Theater Talk Live" event – A Summer Theater Preview next Thursday May 25 at 10:30 am at the WNED-TV Studios! We'll provide an overview of musicals and plays being staged this summer across WNY and Southern Ontario.

Call it marketing, or branding, or just plain knowing your audience, but Buffalo theaters this week are delighting their niches with finely chosen fare.

The Tony Award nominations are out, and Anthony is pleased to report that this year no London performances were nominated.

This week on Theater Talk, Anthony sings the praises of three women currently on local stages (coincidentally about 300 feet from each other in Buffalo's Theatre District): Joyce Stilson in I'M FINE at the Alleyway Theatre, Kate LoConti in THE WINSLOW BOY at Irish Classical Theatre Company, and Mary Gordon Murray in the touring updated CABARET at Shea's Performing Arts Center.

It's not a pared down touring CABARET that comes to Shea's next week; it's the real Broadway show. For something a lot quieter, THE CEMETERY CLUB is a bittersweet comedy about three widows and a widower at O'Connell and Company. Anthony saw GROUNDHOG DAY the musical in New York and both Peter and Anthony agree that the set, sound, and lights at THE TRIAL OF TRAYVON MARTIN are exceptionally well crafted.


Rosalind Cramer, Theatre of Youth co-founder, passed away last week at the age of 81. She was also instrumental in founding MusicalFare Theatre, housed on the Daemen College (formerly "Rosary Hill") campus, where she taught theater. And this week there's more discussion of THE TRIAL OF TRAYVON MARTIN at the Manny Fried Theatre.

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.


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.

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.

raicestheatrecompany.com

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.

This last week 4000 MILES opened at Jewish Rep, the first of three Amy Herzog plays, in a delightful production, but strong productions abound at WNY theaters, including EQUUS at Irish Classical with a very, very strong supporting cast (e.g. Vincent O'Neill, Greg Gjurich, Wendy Hall) surrounding PJ Tighe as the troubled young man Alan Strang, and TRUE WEST at Road Less Traveled pits David Mitchell and Matt Witten as two brothers in a love/hate relationship. All the above deal with adult subjects, but even darker, perhaps, are THE UNFORTUNATES about Jack the Ripper's victims at Red Thread Theatre (on 17th Street) and HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND THEN KILL THEM  which is, actually, a comedy presented by ART of WNY at 330 Amherst Street.

buffalo.com

As Buffalo continues its growth spurt, or renaissance, and property values rise, some smaller theaters are feeling squeezed. Four of them have had to find new venues, including A.R.T., B.U.A., Road Less Travelled, and Rust Belt Books, which is now at 415 Grant Street.

Having just seen A.R. Gurney's "Family Furniture" at the Kavinoky Theatre, Anthony Chase noticed strong parallels with Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" back on Broadway, especially upper class families who can talk a lot, but not about their problems.

On this week's Theater Talk, Anthony and new co-host Peter Hall talk about the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Anthony says the audience was so moved by legendary Broadway performer Chita Rivera's dancing that many openly wept. Also, it looks like Kander and Ebb's final musical The Visit might make it to Broadway after 11 years.

On this week's Theater Talk, Gabe and Anthony talk about The May Queen at Chautauqua Theater Company, The Local One Act Showcase at American Repertory Theatre, Hecuba Again at Albert Invincible Theatre, Detour at Torn Space Theater, The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and Poseidon: An Upside Down Musical at Alleyway Theatre.

On this week's edition of Theater Talk, Gabe and Anthony talk about Menopause The Musical, Side by Side by Sondheim, and the death of Mary Rodgers.

Theater critic Anthony Chase reviews the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Henry V."

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