Theater Talk: Everybody's virtual, on Broadway and at Shea's. Michael Murphy explains.

Oct 2, 2020

It opened in 1926 as "The Wonder Theatre" and today can entertain several thousand on any given night, except during a pandemic, and so Shea's Buffalo Theatre, as Broadway is, as other Buffalo venues (see below) are, is offering subscriptions to virtual shows and just announced: LIVE FROM THE WEST SIDE: WOMEN OF BROADWAY - PATTI LUPONE, LAURA BENANTI, VANESSA WILLIAMS. Shea's President Michael Murphy talks about scheduling, renovations, youth education, the Kenny Awards, and racial inclusion.


Vanessa Williams will be the 3rd of 3 Broadway stars (each with a Buffalo connection) who will grace Shea's "virtual" stage on December 5. Laura Benanti will appear on your screen on November 14 and Patti Lupone is scheduled for October 24.
Credit L.A. Times

You can read more here to get the inside scoop on the next three performances: Shea’s Performing Arts Center is one of a select group of theaters participating in a three-part virtual concert series, Live from the West Side: Women of Broadway featuring two-time Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone on October 24, Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti on November 14, and critically-acclaimed actress and singer Vanessa Williams on December 5.

All tickets are available on the Shea's website (https://www.sheas.org/virtual-performances/) and include access to each livestream performance, plus an additional 72 hours of on-demand viewing of a video recording of the livestream, available beginning one hour after each live broadcast ends. This event is sponsored by M&T Bank and proceeds from ticket sales will support Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Each show, transmitted live in HD with professional sound mixing, will feature a mix of Broadway showtunes, pop songs, and personal stories from the life of each headliner. Performances will take place at The Shubert Virtual Studios on Manhattan’s West Side. At-home audience members will be invited to email in questions to be answered during the livestream.

“We continue to find unique opportunities to bring the best of Broadway to you. We are thrilled to offer this chance to bring these award-winning performers into your home,” said Michael G. Murphy, President of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. “These women are legendary and we are excited for all of their Buffalo connections. From Laura Benanti performing at Shea’s Black-Tie Gala in 2019 to Vanessa Williams whose marriage to her Buffalo native husband took place at the Statler back in 2015. Even Patti LuPone has a Western New York connection; her father is from Dunkirk and her mother is from Jamestown. You might say, we’re bringing the best of Broadway back to Buffalo.”

The livestreams, which are a co-production of Dallas Summer Musicals and Entertainment Benefits Group, are being shared by more than 20 nonprofit arts presenters around the country. (Source: https://www.sheas.org/performances/live-from-the-west-side-women-of-broadway/) 

MUSICALFARE CONTINUES WITH LIVESTREAMED PERFORMANCE The indie-rock world may know her as the vocalist for the post-Natalie Merchant incarnation of 10,000 Maniacs, but the violist, violinist, vocalist, and songwriter Mary Ramsey has had a long and distinguished career aside from that group playing jazz, classical, and folk music. She'll be live-streaming from MusicalFare tonight (October 2) at 7:30 and the video will be available online through October 16th.  And, on October 16, MusicalFare will live-stream The Hot Club of Buffalo. The band plays a brand of jazz known as Gypsy Swing. It’s also called Gypsy Jazz. The style was created in the 1930s by the legendary 2-fingered guitarist, Django Reinhardt. Gypsy Jazz blends American big band swing with exotic European Gypsy sounds.

THE BUFFALO PHILHARMONIC IS VIRTUAL ON SATURDAY (OCTOBER 3) WITH SGT'S DANDES AND UJIMA'S BROWN 

Brian Brown, a Buffalo favorite, will appear virtually with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Saturday, October 3 at 8 p.m. Visit www.bpo.org
Credit Kavinoky Theatre playbill

Continuing their new season, the BPO with Guest Conductor Brad Thachuck, presents "Broadway to Buffalo" with a line up that includes two stars of the Kavinoky's recent HAIRSPRAY: Brian Brown and Arin Lee Dandes. The Saturday October 3, 2020 show begins at 8 p.m., with the opportunity to stream immediately after. Click here https://bpo.org/event/broadway-to-buffalo/ to view the program book as well as to watch a video below with a special message from Brian Brown and Arin Lee Dandes.

Arin Lee Dandes, a Buffalo favorite for her stellar work at Second Generation, Theatre of Youth, Jewish Repertory Theatre, the Kavinoky, and others, will be on the big stage at Kleinhans with the BPO, virtually, Saturday night October 3.
Credit Kavinoky Theatre playbill
 

LIVE: FROM THE KAV! got off to a truly "content rich" start on September 19th with Actor, Director, Dancer and Choreographer (and, as it turns out, great storyteller) John Fredo who sang along to accompaniment by jazz great pianist George Caldwell.

The next LIVE: FROM THE KAV! will be next Friday, October 9th at 8 p.m.: with "Let CHI Entertain You!" as actress/chanteuse/comedienne Charmagne Chi and Joseph Donohue III bring their musical comedic Cabaret show to The Kav!

Then, rescheduled,LIVE: FROM THE KAV! with Actor/Vocalist Lorenzo Shawn Parnell (who was "Motormouth Maybelle" in HAIRSPRAY) will be streamed on Friday, October 16 also at 8 p.m. 

The Kavinoky Theatre will, as far as we can tell, be the first theater in Buffalo to offer an indoor, seated, live event (with virtual accessibility for those who aren't quite ready yet).  I'LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS by John Logan, a one-woman show starring Kavinoky Executive Artistic Director Loraine O'Donnell, directed by Lynne Kurdziel Formato will run November 6th 2020 - December 6th, 2020.

Here's the plot: Hollywood super agent Sue Menger's clients were some of the biggest names in show business. You're invited into her glamorous Beverly Hills home for an evening of dish, dirty secrets and all the showbiz details only Sue can tell you! This hit Broadway comedy brought down the house when it featured Bette Midler.

THIS PERFORMANCE WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE DIGITALLY ON-LINE! NOTE: ADULT LANGUAGE AND THEMES. The play will be filmed (once) and edited and be available on the same nights as the run, available to "rent" for a week. (After "your" week is up, it disappears.)
 

ICTC to present SEA MARKS by Gardner McKay 
The Irish Classical Theatre Company goes virtual for the first show of 2020-2021 and will kick off its 30th Anniversary Season with SEA MARKS by Gardner McKay. This lyrical Irish love story, winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award (Best Play) and the Canadian National Regional Theatre Award, will be presented virtually.  runs from October 16 to November 1, 2020 and tickets have been affordably priced at $15 - $25. A professionally produced, fully staged performance has been filmed at ICTC's home, The Andrews Theatre, and will be available for online purchase October 16 to November 1, 2020. Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Kate LoConti Alcocer, this will be ICTC's first digital theatre performance.

AND THE JEWISH REPERTORY THEATER ALSO GOES VIRTUAL:“Like everyone in the performing arts community, we want to see people in our theatre soon,” said Saul Elkin, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York. “In the meantime, we hope our audiences will join us online as we offer professional video productions of the type of plays you have come to expect from our theatre. 
BAR MITZVAH BOY by Mark Leiren-Young runs November 5 - 25, 2020. "A non-observant Jewish grandfather/successful divorce attorney decides he needs to have a Bar Mitzvah ASAP and finds his faith during study with a Rabbi who seems to be losing hers. A heartfelt comedy/drama that explores faith, religion, and what it means to be part of a community." This will start Peter Palmisano.

HOLIDAY SHORTS by Hank Kimmel runs December 10 - 23, 2020."In a new series of hilarious Woody-Allen-esque short plays, Atlanta playwright Hank Kimmel delights with a new set of offbeat, comic 10-minute plays featuring themes of the holiday season."

EXQUISITE POTENTIAL runs January 7 - 27, 2021. "All parents think their children are brilliant. Alan Zuckerman just happens to think his 3-year-old son, David, is the Messiah. Thirty years ago, Alan and his wife, Laura, visited their rabbi to verify David’s possible divine nature. Thirty years later, everyone older and wiser, it appears that dad might have been onto something."

AN UNEXPECTED LIFE by Alice Eve Cohen runs february 4 - 24, 2021. "In a newly revised version of WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW, Alice Eve Cohen weaves hope, humor and an entertaining cast of characters into her captivating memoir of a high risk, unanticipated pregnancy. Once again, this one-woman show stars Josie DiVincenzo BEAU JEST by James Sherman runs March 11 - 31, 2021. "What's a nice Jewish girl to do when her parents expect her to marry a nice Jewish doctor even though she’s already in love with another man? Hiring an actor to play her imaginary beau in front of the family seemed like a good idea until the charade is a little too successful and the “hired” boyfriend begins to capture her heart." An audience favorite and classic of the Jewish theater scene.