Peter Hall

Theater Talk co-host

Two American classics open tonight, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" at the Irish Classical Theatre and Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" at the Lancaster Opera House, along with lighter fare including "Mamma Mia" at Shea's.

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. 

Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" opens Thursday and Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" continues at The New Phoenix Theatre, two plays that delve into what chaos is caused when young girls tell adult lies. On a more upbeat note, "Ain't Misbehavin'" brings the music of Fats Waller to Musicalfare Theatre with a young, energetic cast.

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" from the 1930s is not a "modern" play, but in style harkens back to Henrik Ibsen's realist dramas.  With a controversial topic, a rumor of lesbianism at a girl's school, Buffalo Public Theatre opens tonight at The New Phoenix Theatre on Johnson Park.

While the first round of plays for most theaters are winding down, and before the next cycle, there is still plenty of theater.  And coming up, "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Musicalfare and "The Children's Hour" at New Phoenix Theater, which offers a very intimate experience.  "Blood Type: Ragu" is at the Smith, and is all about growing up Italian.

The lights on Broadway dimmed for star of stage, film, radio and television, Marion Seldes, best known for her work in the plays of Edward Albee. Seldes died Monday at 86 after six decades of "ruling" Broadway with her regal presence. 

Most of the Curtain Up! plays continue into October, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" at the New Phoenix Theater on Johnson Park in Buffalo, part of the international 100-year look back at World War I.  This sad story of young Germans who volunteer together is told with power and grace and is enhanced by the puppetry of Michele Costa.

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."

After 20 years, Buffalo playwright Tom Dudzik's "Over the Tavern" continues to delight audiences, this time at the Kavinoky Theater through October 5. Set in 1959, the story of 12 year-old Rudy who goes "knuckle to ruler" with his teacher, Sister Clarissa, has been tightened up a bit, but all of the familiar cultural references remain intact.

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. 

Millions have enjoyed the comedy of Joan Rivers for decades on television, but comedy was only intended to support her while she launched her Broadway career. Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81. Anthony Chase recalls seeing her on Broadway, as well as many local stages.

On the eve of Labor Day, Peter and Anthony discuss the Astor Place Riot of 1849, which stemmed from a theatrical rivalry. 

Anyone who experienced Bruce Norris's riveting "Clybourne Park" at 710 Main Theatre, a Road Less Traveled production, will be interested to know that Norris's play "Qualms," currently in Chicago, continues the tradition of making audiences uncomfortable. 

Twice this week, the lights on Broadway were dimmed, a custom that honors the passing of a major star. Though best known for their work in film, Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams had strong ties to the stage. Anthony Chase and Peter Hall discuss their contributions in this week's Theater Talk.

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.

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