Anthony Chase

Theater Talk Host

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The contemporary play FOXFINDER by British playwright Dawn King is available to stream from New Phoenix Theatre and is the dystopian story of paranoia and fear of an unseen enemy. Actor Rick Lattimer sees strong parallels with the Q-Anon phenomenon which fueled the paranoia which led to the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol.

roadlesstraveledproductions.org

Back in March, with a hit show (HAND TO GOD) in his theater, Road Less Traveled Productions' Artistic and Executive Director Scott Behrend moved swiftly and decisively to shut it down due to COVID, and now, just as swiftly and decisively, has announced a full season starting on November 4, 2021.

sheas.org

Shea’s Performing Arts Center Broadway Season Partner-Producer Albert Nocciolino and Shea's President Michael G. Murphy announced Shea's new Broadway season dates, starting with Disney's FROZEN on September 10. We had questions. Al Nocciolino had answers.

Irish Classical Theatre

In 2007, American social critic and novelist Joan Didion adapted her Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, into a Broadway play starring Vanessa Redgrave. It's a tale of love and loss of both Didion's husband and later her daughter. A one-woman show directed by Kyle LoConti starring Victoria Pérez, the play is available to stream from April 9-25, 2021. For tickets, click here.

The Carr Center

Losing the founder and Artistic Director of a theater company to cancer would be bad enough, but in the time of COVID-19, there has been particular pressure on the Ujima Theatre Company, Incorporated to stay in the game. Although founding member Sarah Norat-Phillips has been out of state for a few decades working in media management, she had been in constant contact with Ms. Hill and agreed to stepped in as Interim Artistic Director for Ujima, which has a number of virtual projects, including BIOP-see.


Photo by @Eileen Elibol WNED PBS

While on-stage roles have shut down, some theaters (including Jewish Repertory with BEAU JEST as well as Theatre of Youth with THE OUTSIDERS)  are producing shows to be viewed online. But actors of every type should consider commerical work, for example advertising, industrial videos, or movies. You probably won't get the job through the traditional audition process. Instead, a resume with professional headshot, solid resume, and perhaps a well edited video reel are what producers are looking for, according to Darleen Pickering Hummert, a pioneer agent here in Buffalo.

Yao Kahlil Newkirk

The Paul Robeson Theatre of the African American Cultural Center at 350 Masten Ave. in Buffalo has a new Artistic Director, Yao Kahlil Newkirk, with a vision to continue offering traditional stage plays by noted black playwrights such as Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson or Dominique Morisseau, while adding a new element of installations.

ew.com

You might think journalist and film critic Mark Harris's new best selling biography Mike Nichols: A Life could be either pedantic or Hollywood tell-all fluff. You'll find it is neither as you get pulled along reading about a director who, while you were laughing, was changing the shape of stand-up, theater, and movies. Isolated and walled-off from bad experiences as an immigrant, ultimately comedienne Elaine May's style synched so perfectly (see links below) with Nichols' that many of his rougher edges would now become comedic gold.


@_jonathanyoung

So it's 2017. You graduate with a BFA from Baldwin Wallace College's prestigious Music Theatre program. You go to New York, do the showcase, take meetings, get an agent and then... THUD! It's COVID! Insert your platitude of choice about when the going gets tough or lemons to lemonade, then listen to Buffalo native Jonathan Young who started improving his cartoons and now is a regular content provider on MSNBC's "The Week with Joshua Johnson."

Artie Awards

Second Generation Theatre (SGT) and Theatre of Youth (TOY) have created an interactive digital theatrical experience (parental participation required) for young patrons ages 5 to 12. ONCE UPON A TIME was written by Philip Farugia, Kelly Copps, and Amy Jakiel with some new angles on familiar fairy tale characters. The 40-minute original musical will be streamed via ZOOM February 13 to 21 from the TOY stage. As writer / Zoom stage manager Amy Jakiel explains, young viewers will learn about inner strength and becoming the heroes of their own stories during this upbeat, high energy, show.

wallofcelebrities

With a string of television credits as long as your arm, Emmy and Tony nominated Veanne Cox has played Calliope in Disney's live action Cinderella (and can still do the laugh-snort!) also has done PRIVATE LIVES at the Guthrie Theatre, and is working on a version of that play called ELYOT & AMANDA for Playhouse on Park which opens Wednesday, Feb. 10. Yes, Covid has turned everyone's world upside down, even major stars.

theatertalkbuffalo.com

Playwright Tom Dudzik remembers Buffalo actress Jeanne Hebborn Cairns who originated the role of "Sister Clarissa" in his play OVER THE TAVERN. She went on to perform it in a variety of cities and her style became iconic.

Tyrone Dukes, The New York Times

Eric Bentley (1916-2020) wrote almost a dozen books of theater criticsm, was a friend of and expert on playwright Bertolt Brecht, wrote plays, revues and songs himself, and taught at UCLA, Harvard, Columbia and UB, where he became friends of Neal Radice, now retired from the Alleyway Theatre, who shared some memories of Bentley, a self-promoter (isn't everyone in theater?) who cared deeply about his words.

sheas.org

Impresario Michael Shea, a "larger than life" character in the history of theater, opened "The Wonder Theater" on Jan. 16, 1926 (95 years ago Saturday) to bring vaudeville and Hollywood silent movies (accompanied by a mighty Wurlitzer organ) to 4,000 patrons at a time. Saved from the wrecking ball in the 1970s by concerned citizens led by Kurt Mangel and expanded later to handle large Broadway touring shows, it's constantly under renovation supervised by Doris Collins. Michael Murphy, president of Shea's Performing Arts Center, spoke with Theater Talk.

Jerry Seawood

The very happy Alexandria ("Alex") Watts, Co-President of ARTA (the Association of Regional Theater Artists) has graced almost every major stage in WNY as a Green Monster, a "Squirrelle," a flying bat, and a pinkie-up tea drinking Jane Austen herione ("Miss Bennet") among many others. She chats about the mission of ARTA to provide "Community, Advocacy, Education, and Opportunity" for local actors. And, of course, her laughter provides a much needed antidote to all the stresses of our times.


Back in the 1980s, when many of today's performers (including Michele Ragusa!) were starting professional careers in Buffalo, Marc-Jon Filippone was a major figure, devoted to musicals, at all sorts of venues, from Ruben's Backstage on Pearl Street to the Lancaster Opera House to his own kitchen for after-show impromptu cabarets. Here Shakespeare in Delaware Park's Lisa Ludwig shares some memories, as does Paula Makar and Michael Lo Rocca.


danielmertzlufft.com

Daniel Mertzlufft graduated from Lancaster High School in 2011 and headed off to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam intending to become a music teacher, but as things turned out, he ended up in NYC composing and then one day made a Tik Tok sendup/homage to a typical end-of-act-one Broadway musical big finish number called "The Grocery Store" and now his phone rings off the hook. And when James Cordon of The Late Late Show calls, it's a LOUD ring. More on Mertzlufft below, but don't forget your ticket(s) for tomorrow night for Artpark's TAYLOR MAC'S HOLIDAY SAUCE...PANDEMIC! in support of local Pride groups with virtual after-party hosted by Anthony Chase and Javier Bustillos in honor of local artist Ari Moore.


taylormac.org

MacArthur "Genius" Taylor Mac and world-wide friends, including Music Director Matt Ray and producers Pomegranate Arts, join together to put the fun in holiday dysfunction.  Mac promises that HOLIDAY SAUCE...PANDEMIC! blending live and recorded music, film, burlesque and "random acts of fabulousness" will reframe the songs you love and the holidays you hate. The show streams at 7 p.m. Saturday December 12 and it's also a fundraiser for Artpark (where Mac was artist in residence), the Pride Center of Western New York, and Niagara Pride Inc.

Eileen Buckley, WBFO Archive Photo, 2012

Anthony and Peter adopt an attitude of gratitude for many things, including (so far) good health, the ability to work while socially distant, and for a theater community standing up to the challenge while artistic directors reexamine their missions.  Anthony is particularly  grateful that since Hollywood mostly shut down, his sister who worked for Warner Bros. was now free to move her family to Buffalo! So these days Anthony-the-arch-critic's raised eyebrow and his Grinch-like glare have softened into a big grin.


IBDB

MYSTERY BOX, by Tom Alan Robbins, a LIVE benefit reading ONE NIGHT ONLY Saturday, November 21 at 8 p.m. to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, ECMC's Immunodeficiency Clinic and Alleyway's new play programming, stars Broadway's Mary Testa (3x Tony Nominee for Oklahoma!, Wicked), Wesley Taylor (Indoor Boys, Spongebob Squarepants), Dakin Matthews (Waitress, Gilmore Girls), and Helen Cespedes (Cripple of Inishmaan).  Visit Alleyway.com for details.


D'Youville College on Twitter

Big doings on Buffalo's diverse West Side on the D'Youville College campus, with a major emphasis on a health professions hub, more acting jobs in the "Simulated Patient Program," and repurposing Holy Angels Church with all sorts of promising arts ideas floated, including a second theatrical space, and the Kavinoky possibly becoming an Actors Equity house. As the college drops their old "Spartans" mascot and embraces the more appropriate "Saints" ("Never refuse to serve") two new campus residents are St. Bernard puppies, Maggie and Saint, seen in a promotional video here.


donnahoke.com

Buffalo-based playwright Donna Hoke's work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents. And while theaters have been in lockdown now for eight months and shows are not being produced on stage, they are being written. Some are Zoom readings, others are finished solo works, some are autonomous works, such as novels or radio plays. Donna Hoke, published author of dozens of full length as well as 10-minute plays, talks about her recent activity as a playwright and blogger during the pandemic.


Alleyway.com

Chris Handley, the Alleyway Theatre's new Executive Artistic Director, along with Robyn Lee Horn, the new Managing Director, decided to drop the entrance fee to enter the annual Maxim Mazumdar new play competition and that expanded the pool with so much good material, they decided to offer a Digital Theatre Festival from November 6 through the 22nd. Visit the website for details.


Eileen Buckley, WBFO Archive Photo

While theaters are dark, theater companies are busy, including Chautauqua with a play filmed at and airing on WNED-TV (airdate: Monday, October 26, starting at 8). And airing on your device of choice will be TEA FOR THREE, filmed at the TR Inaugural site in Buffalo, about three First Ladies. Meet Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford, a charming antidote to the politics of today, as explained by Mary Kate O'Connell. 


Irish Classical Theatre

The Irish Classical Theatre Company is kicking off its 30th Anniversary Season with their first-ever digital theater performance of the work that opened their first "permanent" home (27 years ago) at the Calumet on Chippewa.  SEA MARKS by Gardner McKay is a love story about Colm, a lonely fisherman living on a remote island west of Galway and Timothea, a sophisticated, beautiful woman from the midlands of England (watch trailer here).  Presented virtually October 16 to November 1, 2020, tickets will be good for one night only (to be chosen by the purhaser). 


Michael Thomas

Dan Shanahan, Artistic Director of Torn Space Theater, the first company to have live productions in the '20-'21 season (outdoor, socially distant, masks required, site-specific at Silo City) has, like Shea's and many other companies, been using the shutdown to improve their space, including a huge four-lot outdoor facility at the corner of Fillmore and Paderewski (in Buffalo's old "Polonia" district).


L.A. Times

It opened in 1926 as "The Wonder Theatre" and today can entertain several thousand on any given night, except during a pandemic, and so Shea's Buffalo Theatre, as Broadway is, as other Buffalo venues (see below) are, is offering subscriptions to virtual shows and just announced: LIVE FROM THE WEST SIDE: WOMEN OF BROADWAY - PATTI LUPONE, LAURA BENANTI, VANESSA WILLIAMS. Shea's President Michael Murphy talks about scheduling, renovations, youth education, the Kenny Awards, and racial inclusion.


annettedanielstaylor.com

Annette Daniels Taylor, born in NYC (Staten Island), is an Artie award-winning playwright, published poet, filmmaker, artist and costumer (and for awhile the personal stylist for actress Ruby Dee) whose first experience as an audience member in Buffalo was at the Paul Robeson and she was sold! Jumping in as a volunteer for the African American Cultural Center's "Jumpin' Jumbalaya" youth summer program, she went on to costume for the Robeson, where she is now the new Artistic Director.


Jewish Repertory Theatre

Tonight is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and also "Curtain Up!" the start of the New Year of  theater in WNY. So we thought we'd "Better call Saul" and speak with Saul Elkin, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, about the five plays scheduled for this "virtual" 20-21 season. Saul is excited about the opportunities to collaborate with the playwrights, one of which, Canadian Mark Leiren-Young, would most likely not be able to attend his own show, BAR MITZVAH BOY, starring Peter Palmisano, which opens the season and runs November 5-25, 2020.


Nancy J. Parisi Buffalo Spree

He played with Count Basie, he played with Ellington, he wowed audiences at the piano in AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and SOPHISTICATED LADIES and COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY, all at MusicalFare Theatre, and he's back there, livestreaming on Sept. 17 with jazz vocalist Ms. Alex McArthur and two days later streaming from the Kavinoky with John Fredo, whose jazz roots go back farther than most know.

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