Peter Hall

Theater Talk co-host
Shakespeare in Delaware Park Facebook page

Shakespeare in Delaware Park announced the cancellation of its entire summer season.  Online is where the action is and SIDP has one of the busiest Facebook pages. Visit here for their 30th anniversary online celebration (CHANGED TO Saturday 5/30) and Road Less Traveled to hear a podcast with Anthony and Peter Palmisano. Tonight (Friday) you can go to BroadwayCares.org/Chita at 8pm to see some legendary performers.


Alleyway.com

"Changing... it keeps changing" wrote Sondheim and it's now official. Neal Radice and his wife Joyce Stilson have handed over the venerable 40 year old Alleyway Theatre (over 150 productions to date not including 29 years of "Buffalo Quickies") to the next generation although "Buffalo Quickies" continue live on YouTube for the next two Sunday mornings at 11am.  We also note the passing of Joey Giambra and Lori McDonald, two longtime Buffalo theater notables. 


Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The Artie Awards (Buffalo's version of Broadway's Tony Awards) are important in recognizing outstanding work, but if theater people are anything, they are are people who need people. Yet, because of schedules the WNED|WBFO Artie Awards is the one night of the year when everybody can party. And if they can't kiss-kiss, hug-hug, squeeze one more into a selfie, then we'll wait until they can! 


Marc J. Franklin in Playbill.com

And the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for drama goes to.... a musical! (the 10th in Pulitzer history) A STRANGE LOOP, by  Michael R. Jackson, about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about (see above). While most spring and summer theater workshops and programs remain cancelled, a rich resource for parents is Playbill.com's "Online Resources for kids and families to get you through COVID-19" including Disney and Lincoln Center activities.


Broadwayworld.com

Last week Shakespeare in Delaware Park's first show was cancelled then Antoni Cimolino cancelled the entire Stratford (Shakespeare) Festival. Shawfest is rehearsing via Zoom and may have some shows later in the summer. The good news is that suddenly major Chita Rivera level stars are available to collaborate online, for example at Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday tribute ("The Ladies Who Lunch" from COMPANY begins at 1:58:34.)  The 12th annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals will be held online May 2–3. 

Emmie O'Leary

On Friday night, the Buffalo Bills will make their first selection in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft and when General Manager Brandon Beane calls in his choice, WBFO's own Peter Hall, co-host of Theater Talk, will be joining him via Zoom.

Alleyway.com

Anthony recalls a time when, as a high schooler, Broadway was a bit out of reach, so he read everything he could about the theater. Now, when theaters are dark, he finds reading a comfort. Even though social distancing rules might be relaxed by summer, so much work takes place long before opening night that Shakespeare in Delaware Park can't just "flip a switch" on June 18 and put on a show. Sadly, AS YOU LIKE IT has been canceled. Meanwhile, the Alleyway Theatre's "Buffalo Quickies" air live Sunday mornings at 11am on YouTube.


MGM publicity still, Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia

In the 5th week of social distancing, electronic media is becoming a bigger part of our lives as we try to stay connected and entertained or both. This Sunday at 11 a.m., the Alleyway Theater will have a socially distant but live theatrical event via YouTube. And with no theaters to attend, Anthony has discovered, or re-discovered, binge-watching streamed television shows and is delighted to see how many follow the 19th century model, proposed by Eugene Scribe, of "the well made play." 


Times-Standard

The last record of any semblance of live theater, once a staple of the mighty Greek and later Roman cultures, was around 530 A.D. Then we entered "the dark ages" and, as now with the COVID-19 pandemic, theater was dark. But ultimately, it was Easter, and depictions of the three Marys at Jesus' tomb (the Holy Mother, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the sister of Lazarus) that reignited the magic of live presentations.


biography.com

Are you being productive during this time of "social distancing?" Shakespeare, during one period of the plague in the early 1600s wrote ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA, MACBETH, and KING LEAR. 


Tom Kirdahy, husband of Mr. McNally, on Facebook

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing hardship because of social distancing (see the list of theatrical cancellations and postponements below) and it has led to the sad death of a wonderful friend of Buffalo theater, especially BUA, playwright Terrence McNally, many of whose plays were produced locally.


Irish Classical Theatre

As theaters are canceling their current runs (see listings) many are also canceling rehearsals for upcoming shows. Social distancing is affecting everyone, from the Stratford Festival to Shawfest, to local productions, to Broadway, and all the Broadway national tours across America. Many theaters will, we hope, be able to turn a cancellation into a postponement. Listen to Theater Talk weekly and, in-between, subscribe to  Anthony's (FREE) blog theatertalkbuffalo.com for updates.

Larry Rowswell courtesy of the New Phoenix Theatre

Carolee Carmello swept into audience's hearts as Dolly Levi, the matchmaker from Yonkers, in a darn near perfect production of HELLO, DOLLY! at Shea's now cancelled. At the New Phoenix Theatre, Victoria Perez once again demonstrated her formidable skills as a director in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN with a breakout role for actor Rick Lattimer, cancelled so far only for this weekend. There's also a breakout role for actor Dan Urtz down Main Street at Road Less Traveled's HAND TO GOD, open this weekend! In all cases, it's best to contact the box office (see listings for contact information). Also see Anthony's blog www.theatertalkbuffalo.com

Julieta Cervantes

Carolee Carmello has had a fabulous Broadway career, reports Anthony, and she's bringing her big, big voice to the Shea's stage in HELLO, DOLLY! where a very rich next season opens with a straight play, Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of MOCKINGBIRD. Read all about it on Anthony's blog TheaterTalkBuffalo. On a much smaller stage, four local playwrights have dealt with the theme of Armageddon in THE END: AMEN whose Alleyway cast includes two superb actors "on loan" from the Paul Robeson.

Alleyway.com

March will bring a raft of openings, but madness and more signs of the times are on stages this weekend, at both ends of The Alleyway Theatre complex and in the suburbs as well (see listings). This week's conversation was about SCOTCH AND MADNESS and THE END: AMEN and two closings: GLORIOUS and WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW. Theater Talk notes the passing of Mary Haney who graced the stages of Shawfest for 30 years and over 60 productions.

Tatiana Gelfand

Anthony remembers Zoe (say "Zo") Caldwell, winner of four Tony Awards (the last for portraying the opera star Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS) who passed away Tuesday at 86, at home, due to complications from Parkinson's. On a recent trip to NYC, he saw Jane Alexander (age 80) in GRAND HORIZONS, Charles Busch (only 65) in THE LEGEND OF LILY DARE, and very much enjoyed the new, more true to life book for THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN.  SCOTCH AND MADNESS opened at the Alleyway did last night while many more plays are about to (see listings).

Matthew Murphy

Mary Magdalene along with Jesus, Judas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod et. al. sing in the 50th anniversary tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Shea's, while Josie DiVincenzo plays 40 different roles in the one-woman WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW about late-in-life pregnancy at Jewish Repertory. And two singers, one glorious, Alberta Hunter, is portrayed by Zoe Scruggs and Ember Tate in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY at MusicalFare, while the worse singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins, is portrayed by Mary Kate O'Connell at her new theater in Kenmore.

Bethany Burrows, musicalfare.com

Agnes Bain spent 41 of her 78 years overseeing the growth of Buffalo's African American Cultural Center on Masten Avenue, the home of the Paul Robeson Theatre (the play JUMP is wrapping there this Sunday afternoon) where she was beloved and is sadly missed. Meanwhile a celebration of blues singer Alberta Hunter in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY is on stage at MusicalFare, FACTORY FOR MURDERERS is back on stage, and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is coming to Shea's.

Lawrence Rowswell

It's so "meta" and hilarious when Buffalo's radical feminist troupe, The Brazen-Faced Varlets, puts on a very funny play by Carolyn Gage, THE ANASTASIA TRIALS IN THE COURT OF WOMEN, about a radical feminist troupe putting on a play. The young cast and director of MERCURY FUR also present great ensemble work in an "in yer face" production. While the  flu got the better of FACTORY FOR MURDERERS (think Jack The Ripper), but they're back at the Alleyway. And we remember Buffalo's Mary Loftus (click here for a detailed bio by Anthony).

Marcus T. Thompson, Jr.

A dozen different shows now into February give present a wide variety of genres, from exposing our hidden motivations in THE ANASTASIA TRIALS, THE ANTIPODES, and JUMP to "detective shows" MISS NELSON IS MISSING or THE MOUSETRAP to plays that portend violence such as COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, FACTORY FOR MURDERERS, and MERCURY FUR.

Gene Witkowski, Kavinoky Theatre

After an early start for both THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, over half a dozen other productions are up this weekend, including A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Irish Classical with the Buffalo Philharmonic at Kleinhans) and on Monday the second free reading of GOD OF VENGEANCE which is the basis for a Paula Vogel play (INDECENT) coming in March. Take some time to peruse the listings below.

Gene Witkowski

Some things might be worse than you'd think (perhaps the movie version of CATS) and some will be much better than you'd suspect from the title (the gorgeous musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY which opens this weekend at the Kavinoky) and one limited run should be greater than the sum of its parts - Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with the complete incidental music by Mendelsssohn.

Toronto Globe and Mail

In 2019, as every year, the theater community lost beloved people, including Diahann Carroll, who sang "The Perfect Year" in her role as Norma Desmond in Webber's SUNSET BOULEVARD. And there was Carol Channing and Hal Prince and, in a bit of delicious irony, both despised critic John Simon of New York Magazine and actress Sylvia Miles who once dumped a plate of lasagna on his head.

Bethany Burrows, musicalfare.com

With nine area shows still in production this weekend, most up through Sunday, it's time to look back on a strong year with directorship transitions at The Alleyway and The Irish Classical Theatre while up at Shaw the "new" (since 2017) Artistic Director, Tim Carroll, is firming up his vision. Ujima Theater has a new stage, Road Less Traveled and MusicalFare continued to make good use of Shea's 710, and the Kavinoky had a major success with MOCKINGBIRD.

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Anthony went to NYC, which "keeps Christmas well," saw the tree in Rockefeller Center, and took in some serious dramas, including Samuel Hunter's GREATER CLEMENTS starring Judith Ivey and Adam Rapp's THE SOUND INSIDE starring Mary Louise Parker, about a Yale professsor who mis-reads and mis-uses one of her students. Here in Buffalo, if you think you've seen A CHRISTMAS CAROL, think again. With an entire cast of veterans (young and old) on stage at the Alleyway, there is a particularly fresh charm in the telling.

Jessica Marinelli

About half of the current theater in town is Christmas inspired, but not all, and that includes Buffalo's "Theatre District" starting with Shea's 710's remount of CHRISTMAS OVER THE TAVERN and the Alleyway's annual favorite A CHRISTMAS CAROL, but we also have Melissa Leventhal channeling the late great Patsy Cline at Shea's intimate Smith Theatre which shares a lobby with the 3000+ seat Shea's and the touring production of LES MISERABLES.

Irish Classical Theatre on Facebook

For the first time ever, The Shaw Festival has a holiday show on the main Festival Theatre stage - HOLIDAY INN,  by Irving Berlin, directed by Shaw and Stratford superstar Kate Hennig, as the traditional A CHRISTMAS CAROL continues at the Shaw's Royal George Theatre. The Alleyway will launch their 37th annual A CHRISTMAS CAROL on December 6, and ELF continues (with only a few single tickets left) at MusicalFare Theatre.

K.E.G. courtesy of The Paul Robeson Theatre

The August Wilson "century play" about Pittsburgh's Hill District in the 1960s opened at the Paul Robeson Theater, three and a half hours of delicious Wilson monologues, directed by Wilson devotee Ed Harris. On and off Broadway, Anthony took in several plays, including the controversial SLAVE PLAY by Jeremy O. Harris and Will Eno's THE UNDERLYING CHRIS starring Buffalo expat (and Bills fan) Lizbeth Mackay.

Gina Gandolfo 2019

Before all the "Christmas" shows begin, fine productions abound right now, including TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at The Kavinoky and TWO TRAINS RUNNING at the Paul Robeson, as well as Mark Humphrey's THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, THE BOYS UPSTAIRS at BUA, OH MY GOD at JRT, THE INTERROGATION ROOM at RLTP, and with an extra show Saturday at 2 added by popular demand, SHE KILLS MONSTERS at Subversive (see listings below).

Stephen Gabris, courtesy of Kavinoky Theatre

Once again, Drew Fornarola's "Starring Buffalo" assembled local stars (including Dudney Joseph, Jr. as "the plant"), Broadway stars, and students from Newfane, Fredonia, and Lockport, this time at Shea's 710, for LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Subversive Theatre's SHE KILLS MONSTERS continues with rave reviews. Expectations are high for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD  opening at the Kavinoky.

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