The Theater community is really hitting its stride as we head into spring with a number of very fine performances. With two short runs, closing this Sunday, which include two very different “look backs” at the mid-20th century, we also have a number of plays continuing into late March and early April including three excellent offerings by our local amateur theaters at the Roycroft, Ellicott Creek, and the Woodbox Theatre in Niagara Falls.
WIESENTHAL, a one-man play about the Holocaust concentration camp survivor who dedicated his life to memorializing the millions who were killed in the camps, and to hunting down their murderers, Simon Wiesenthal, written by and starring Tom Dugan opened last night and runs through March 20, tonight at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m., with final performances Sunday at 2 & 7 p.m. at 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main Street just down from Shea’s. It runs about 90 minutes without intermission but plan to stick around for the talk-back after every performance! (1-800-745-3000).
BEAUTIFUL, THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, a touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino traces the career of this singer/songwriter from her start in the Brill building through her groundbreaking “Tapestry” CD. It has a short run through March 20, tonight at 8, Saturday at 2 & 8, and Sun at 2 & 7 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). .
We have no openings this week, but put this on your calendar: OF MICE AND MEN, the famous drama by John Steinbeck about the two migrant farm workers, George and Lennie, their mean-spirited boss Curley, and his flirtatious wife, directed by Kelli Bocock-Natale, opens Friday March 25 and runs through April 16, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 at The New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park. (853-1334).
A number of plays continue, some into April.
THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE,
adapted from the children’s novel by C.S. Lewis, presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Chris Kelly runs through April 3, Saturdays at 10 a.m. & 2 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. at the historic Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org Four very talented actors play the roles of the four children – Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter, as well as all of the other characters (Tumnus, Aslan, the White Witch). It runs about 75 minutes but do plan to stay around for the talk back where the children in the audience get to ask questions. It’s almost as entertaining as the show!
THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, play by John Guare presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, at their new home, a very serviceable building with good sightlines on Amherst Street (near the Sportsmens Tavern) directed by Drew McCabe, runs through April 2, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 at 330 Amherst St. (697-0837) www.artofwny.org
SAFE, the world premiere of the play by Donna Hoke, directed by Kyle LoConti, runs through April 3, Thurdays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2 (no performance Mar 27) at Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069).
THE CITY OF CONVERSATION, a play about politics from Carter to Obama by Anthony Giardina, takes us back to a time in Washington, D.C. when deals were brokered, not in smoky back rooms, but at dinner parties. What happens when there is a political divide in the family, though? Find out in this excellent play beautifully directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring Kristen Tripp Kelley, Adriano Gatto, Aleks Malejs, Debbie Pappas Sham, Steve Jakiel, Loraine O’Donnell, Aaron Moss, David Lundy, Joel Fesmire, Tyler Eisenmann. It runs through March 20, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:30 & 7:30, Sundays at 2 at the Kavinoky Theatre (in D’Youville College), 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com.
And our local amateur theaters are very busy as well with three productions which run through March 20.
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, the beloved 1963 comedy by Neil Simon and his longest running hit. Corie and Paul Bratter are newlyweds on the top floor of a brownstone in New York City. As they get to know each other, Corrie wants Paul to become more easy-going, to run "barefoot in the park." It’s presented by Aurora Players, directed by Patricia Hoefler, starring Suzie Hibbard, Joel Murphy, Jessica K. Rasp, Michael Breen, and Chris Cummins runs through March 20, Fridays and Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 2:30 at the Roycroft Pavilion in Hamlin Park, East Aurora (687-6727). www.auroraplayers.org
WHEN WE ARE MARRIED, a 1930s comedy by J.B. Priestley has a group of three couples, old friends and all married on the same day in the same chapel, discover that they are not legally married. It all ends well, though and is presented by The Niagara Regional Theater Guild, directed by M. Joseph Fratello, runs through March 20. Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Road, Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the famous drama by Arthur Miller about Willie Loman, is presented by Western door Playhouse thorugh March 20, at the Woodbox thatre, in the Niagara Arts an dCultural Center, 1201 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls (297-5910).