Buffalo's 710 Main Theatre, which wrapped up its 2015-16 season last weekend, is already announcing plans for 2016-17. Beginning next season, their schedule will include a production by the prestigious Shaw Festival.
Shea's Performing Arts Center president Tony Conte and Ken Friedman, board of governors member and secretary for the Shaw Festival, confirmed a five-year agreement at a news conference Wednesday inside the front lobby of 710 Main.
The first talks to bring the partners together, Conte explained, began not long after Shea's acquired the former Studio Arena Theater in 2012.
"We're very, very excited about it. Being able to bring the Shaw to Buffalo, I think, is something that I've dreamed of ever since we took the theater over. I've been working on it for that long. We're very pleased we're finally able to get it done."
The first Shaw Festival production for 710 Main Theatre, through this partnership, will be Mrs. Warren's Profession, which is scheduled to run November 10 to 20.
Friedman echoed Conte's interest in bringing the companies together. He described it as a "win-win."
"For the Shaw, this will only increase the audience," he said. "People will come to see shows in the summer in Niagara-on-the-Lake and then in the fall season can come see shows right here."
Mrs. Warren's Profession will be the second of four shows confirmed for 710 Main Theatre's 2016-17 schedule. The season will open with Wonder of the World, a comedy with a Niagara Falls theme that will run from September 15 until October 2. The show, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, is being produced by Buffalo Laboratory Theatre.
Following the Shaw production in November, 710 Main will host Ring of Fire, a musical tale of the life of country music legend Johnny Cash, from February 16 through March 15. Ring of Fire will be produced by MusicalFare Theatre. Buffalo Laboratory Theatre will then return to produce the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning David Auburn play Proof.
"I think it supports what we've been trying to do here," Conte said of the inclusion of a Shaw Festival production over the next five seasons. "I think it also supports and assists the other theater companies we've been working with."
A fifth show, Conte explained, will be announced in the near future after negotiations are completed.