Theater Talk: Diane Paulus makes Buffalo's FINDING NEVERLAND better than Broadway's!

Oct 14, 2016

FINDING NEVERLAND's national touring opening at Shea's was a long time coming, starting back in the 1990s when outgoing President of Shea's, Anthony Conte, and producer Albert Nocciolino, raised the money to build a backstage large enough to handle touring Broadway shows. Another piece of the puzzle was getting state tax relief for producers willing to technically rehearse their shows in NY State. Then, it helped that the producer of FINDING NEVERLAND (based on a Miramax film) was UB graduate Harvey Weinstein. Add in award winning director Diane Paulus who has a wonderful, creative and critical eye for spectacle, and pretty soon you've got magic, fairy dust, and all. It's a very good night at the theater.

Award winning director Diane Paulus tweaked, tightened, and tremendously improved FINDING NEVERLAND which was technically rehearsed at Buffalo's Shea's PAC.


FINDING NEVERLAND, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino is only up through October 15, Friday (tonight) at 8, Saturday at 2 & 8. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

URINETOWN!, musical by Hollmann & Kotis presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Jeffrey Coyle, starring Ryan Kaminski, Jenn Stafford, Michael Starzynski, Jeffrey Coyle, Erin Coyle, Susana Breese, Bethany Burrows Gruendike, Tyler Brown, Michael Wachowiak, Chris Andreana, Matt Mooney, Jennel Pruneda, Jake Hayes, Dave Spychalski, Sara Jo Kukulka runs only through this Saturday, October 15, Friday-Saturday at 8. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499).

CHUCKY'S UNIVERSE, a musical written and directed by Sam Fadel, presented by Western Door Playhouse, starring Cade Mongielo, Dawn Ansel, George White, DeVante Wallace, Tim Bookhagen, Chris Mongielo, Tom Turici, James Murphy, Bob Priest, Sami Granieri will run through  October 16, Friday (tonight) & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).


THE BIRDS THAT STAY, a thriller written and directed by L. Don Swartz, starring Haleigh Feth, DJ Swartz, Ben Torres, Ryan Walters, Madsion Swartz, Daniel Arrasjid, Jesse Swartz, Julie Senko, Carla Kwasniak, Debby Koszelak Swartz runs October 13-23, Thursday at 7, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda (743-1614).

CHRISTMAS IN JULY, the world premiere of the comedy by Matthew Crehan Higgins, presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Lisa Ludwig, starring Kevin Craig, Kurt Erb, Higgins, Marc Sacco, Michael Seitz runs October 14-November 5, Friday & Saturday at 8. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239).

DEATHTRAP, a thriller by Ira Levin presented by Towne Players, directed by John Giarratano runs October 14-23, Friday & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2. Sheridan-Parkside Community Center, 169 Sheridan-Parkside Dr., town of Tonawanda (693-9641).

JEKYLL AND HYDE, a musical by Frank Wildhorn & Leslie Bricusse presented by Rocking Horse Productions, directed by Leigha Eichhorn, starring Anthony Alcocer, Jon May, Bob Mazierski, Sarah Mullen, Emily Yancey runs October 14-30, Friday & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776).

THE ODD COUPLE, the famous comedy by Neil Simon presented by Western New York Players runs October 14-22, Friday & Saturday at 7:30. Immanuel Lutheran Church, 107 Scott St., Tonawanda (692-0906).

THE MACBETH INSURGENCY (Shakespeare Deconstructed), adapted and directed by Doug Zschiegner, presented by Niagara University Theatre runs October 13-17, Thursday at 7, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2 & 7:30, Sunday at 2, Mon at 7. Leary Theatre, Clet Hall on NU campus (286-8685).


BREAST IN SHOW, a musical by Lisa Hayes & Joan Cushing presented by O'Connell & Company, directed by Drew McCabe, starring Mary Craig, Laurel Flynn, Tammy Hayes McGovern, Arlynn Knauff, Nick Lama, Bryan Patrick Stoyle runs through October 30, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800).
FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL, by Danny Abosch and Susan DiLallo, based on the book by Jane O’Connor, presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Michael Walline, starring Sarah Blewett, Dominique Kempf, Jenny McCabe, Sara Marioles, Matthew Gilbert, Hannah Sharp runs through October 23, Saturday & Sunday at 2, plus October 22 at 10:00 a.m. Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. (884.4400).

JITNEY, the play by August Wilson directed by Willie Judson, starring Fisher, Andy Finley, Christina Foster, Johnny Rowe, Leon Copeland, Charles Everhart, Roosevelt Tidwell, Al Garrison runs through October 23, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013).

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, the musical by Ashman & Menken presented by Aurora Players, directed by David Hall, starring John Szablewski, Daniel Keith Barone, Mark Eckstein, Jason Gonser, Joe Harris, Zachary James Haumesser, Paige Ronan, Isabella Ruof, Caroline Schettler, Rachel Wach runs through October 29, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2:30. Roycroft Pavilion in Hamlin Park, East Aurora (687-6727).


EXTREMITIES, a drama by William Mastrosimone presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Lisa Ludwig, Patrick Moltane, Lisa Hinca, Kelly Cammarata will run through November 13, evening shows arrival at 6, show at 7:30; matinee shows arrival at 1, show at 2:30. Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga (395-3207).


4000 MILES, a play by Amy Herzog presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Marissa Biondolillo, Ellen Horst, Sara Kow-Falcone, Nick Stevens runs October 27-November 20, Thursday at 7:30, (no shows on Fridays) Saturday at 4 & 8, Sunday at 2.  The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (688-4114 x391).

RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET, a musical by Bob Carlton presented by UB Department of Theatre & Dance, directed by Terry Berliner runs October 27-November 6, Thursday & Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2 & 7:30, Sunday at 2. UB Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, north campus (645-ARTS).

TRUE WEST, a play by Sam Shepard, directed by Scott Behrend, starring David Mitchell, Matt Witten, Robert Rutland, Tina Rausa runs October 28-November 20, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069).