Theater Talk: 7 openings for Curtain Up! tonight with as many ongoing including HAIRSPRAY

Sep 20, 2019

Although the annual start of the Buffalo theater season sees many openings, in fact, a number of plays and musicals have been up for a few weeks, including HAIRSPRAY, which is dazzling audiences young and old, from all backgrounds. Director Carlos Jones has added a twist, a second role in drag, "Motormouth Maybelle" sung by operatic tenor Shawn Parnell.

"Motormouth Maybelle," a drag role for operatic tenor Shawn Parnell, gets the audience in the mood
Credit Gene Witkowski photographer

OPENING

IZZY, musical revue by Grant Golden & Jim Santella, directed by Richard Lambert, starring Chuck Basil, Brett Klaczik, Nathan Miller, Renee Landrigran. Sep 20-Oct 19, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

KNOCK KNOCK, JESUS CALLING, play written and performed by Heather Fangsrud, presented by The Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by Lara D. Haberberger. Sep 20-Oct 5, Fri at 8, Sat & Sun at 2. Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant St. (598-1585). varlets.org

LADIES SWING THE BLUES, book and original lyrics by Thomas W. Jones, II, original music by William A. Knowles, directed by Jones II. Sep 20-Oct 13, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

MEAN GIRLS, opening of the national tour of the Broadway musical by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond & Nell Benjamin, directed by Casey Nicholaw. Sep 21-27, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2 & 7:30, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org

PIPELINE, play by Dominique Morriseau presented by Ujima Company, directed by Lorna C. Hill, starring Shanntina Moore, Jerai Kahdim, Mary Moebius, Phil Davis, Johnny Rowe, Samantha Cruz. Sep 20-Oct 13, Thu-Sat at 7, Sun at 4. Ujima Theater, 429 Plymouth Ave. (281-0092). www.ujimacoinc.org

THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE, comedy by Neil Simon presented by The Carriage House Players, directed by Gail Golden, starring Darryl Hart, Kathleen Rooney, Daniel Morris, Betsy Bittar, Alicia Michielli, Alisse. Sep 20-29, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Taylor Theater at Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport (433-2617). www.kenancenter.org

‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE, comedy by John Ford presented by presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, starring Anna Krempholtz, Jeremy Kreuzer, David Oliver, Charmagne Chi, Chris Brandjes, Adriano Gatto, Ben Moran, Adam Yellen, Aleks Malejs, Jacob Albarella, Rolando Martin Gomez, Melinda Capeles.  Sep 20 – Oct 13, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

ONGOING

THE AUTHENTIC LIFE OF BILLY THE KID, play by Lee Blessing directed by Scott Behrend, starring Daniel Greer, Peter Palmisano, David Mitchell, Patrick Cameron. Through Oct 6, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 20 at 8). Road Less Traveled Theater, 456 Main St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS, one man comedy by Drew Droege presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Carly Weiser, starring James Cichocki. Through Oct 5, Fri & Sat at 8. Alleyway Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239) www.buffalounitedartists.org

CATCH 22, comedy by Joseph Heller presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Kurt Schneiderman, starring Connor Maxwell, Jack Agugliaro, Jacob Chester Sauer, Lawrence Rowswell, John Kehoe, Leon Copeland, Jr. Through Sep 28, Thu-Sat at 7:30. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (462-5549). www.subversivetheatre.org

HAIRSPRAY, Broadway musical based on the John Waters film, directed by Carlos Jones. Though Oct 6, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 20 at 8).  Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

NAVIGATORS, world premiere of the play by Gordon Farrell directed by Neal Radice, starring Chris J Handley, Sandra Roberts, Tom Owen. Through Oct 5, Thu-Sat at 7:30 (Sep 20 at 8), Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

RUMORS, play by Neil Simon, directed by David Bondrow, starring Lisa Noelle Miller, Peter Maier, Lori Panaro, Marc Ruffino, Kate Mulberry, Larry Smith, Emily Yancey, Chris Turton, Dylan Brozyna, and Emma English. Through Sep 29, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun 2:30, (Sep 20 at 8), Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY (683-1776) www.lancasteropera.org

WEST SIDE STORY, musical by Laurents, Bernstein & Sondheim, directed by Chris Kelly, starring Leah Berst, Robert Cooke, Lissette DeJesus, Brendan Didio, Matthew DiVita, Thomas Evans, Philip Farugia, Rheanna Gallego, Alejandro Gabriel Gomez, Julieana Guash, Alexia Guzman, Karen Grace Harty, Dominique Kempf, Blaise Mercedes, Koby Morgan, Ricky Needham, Jordan Rosas, Joe Russi, Dan Torres, Dan Urtz.  Through Oct 6, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 20 at 8).  MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

GENTLEMEN PREFER DIVAS: BROADWAY LEGENDS, cabaret celebration created and written by Mary Kate O’Connell, presented by O’Connell & Company. Sep 20 at 8. Shea’s Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. (847-1410). www.oconnellandcompany.com

LOST IN YONKERS, play by Neil Simon presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Lisa Ludwig, starring, Ellen Horst, Diane DiBernardo, Elliot Fox, Ayden Herreid, Timothy Whipple, Kevin Nagel, Kelly Cammarata. Through Sep 29, Thu & Sat, dinner at 6, show at 7:30; Sun, dinner at 1, show at 2:30. Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga (395-3207). www.mybobbyjs.com

OUT OF TOWN

AT THE SHAW FESTIVAL 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada 905-468-2172 / 1-800-511-7429 (a 1-hour drive from downtown Buffalo)

BRIGADOON, a musical, by Lerner and Loewe, at the Festival Theatre, through October 13

GETTING MARRIED, a comedy by George Bernard Shaw, at the Shaw's Royal George Theatre, through October 13.

MAN AND SUPERMAN, by George Bernard Shaw, at Festival Theatre, August 17 through October 5.

ROPE, a thriller by Patrick Hamilton (after Hitchcock) at The Royal George Theatre, through October 12

SEX, by Mae West, at the Jackie Maxwel Theatre, through October 13

THE LADYKILLERS, by Graham Linehan, at the Festival Theatre, through October 12

THE RUSSIAN PLAY, by Hannah Moscovitch, a "Lunchtime One-Act" at the Royal George Theatre, though October 12

THE GLASS MENAGERIE, by Tennessee Williams, at the Jackie Maxell Theatre, through October 12

VICTORY, by Howard Barker, at the Jackie Maxwell Theatre, through October 12

OUT OF TOWN AT THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL, Stratford, ON www.stratfordfestival.ca 1-800-567-1600 (Stratford, Ontario is about a 2-1/2 hour drive from downtown Buffalo)
AT THE FESTIVAL THEATRE:
OTHELLO by William Shakespeare through October 27  
BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL by Lee Hall and Elton John extended through November 10
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR by William Shakespeare through October 26
THE FRONT PAGE by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur adapted by Michael Healey through October 25

AT THE AVON THEATRE:
PRIVATE LIVES by Noel Coward through October 26
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken through November 2
THE NEVERENDING STORY based upon the novel by Michael Ende, adapted by David S. Craig through November 3
THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller through October 25

AT THE STUDIO THEATRE:
HENRY VIII by William Shakespeare extended through October 27
MOTHER'S DAUGHTER by Kate Hennig through October 13
NATHAN THE WISE by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in a version by Edward Kemp extended through October 19
BIRDS OF A KIND by Wajdi Mouawd through October 13

Listings adapted from Javier Bustillos