Theater Talk: Mary Kate gets a star at Curtain Up!

Sep 16, 2016

Mary Kate O’Connell, a vivid presence in the Buffalo theater scene with a magnetic stage presence and a luscious soprano voice, has long been known as Western New York’s First Lady of Musical Theater. The guiding force behind O’Connell & Company, Mary Kate, accompanied by Rosy, her ever-present little dog, will be honored this Friday evening, September 16, with a star in the "Plaza of the Stars."

Congratulations, Mary Kate.

With so many productions opening tonight (see below) at Curtain Up! it was helpful to have several begin their season "early." This week Peter & Anthony talk about seeing GYPSY at MusicalFare in Amherst, DINNER WITH FRIENDS at the Road Less Traveled on Pearl Street, DON'T TALK TO THE ACTORS at the Kavinoky, and URINETOWN!, a Subversive Theatre production at the Manny Fried Playhouse.

Mary Kate O'Connell will be honored tonight with the latest star in the "Plaza of the Stars" on the median outside of Shea's 710 Main Theater.


DEAR LYDIA, world premiere of a play by Larry Gray, directed by Neal Radice, starring David C. Mitchell, Melissa Leventhal, Louise Reger. September 15-October 8, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 (September 16 at 8). Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600).

LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART, play by Terrence McNally directed by Greg Natale, starring Candice Kogut, Richard Lambert, Kelli Bocock-Natale, Eric Rawski. September 16-October 8, Thursday-Saturday at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334).

LOUISIANA BACCHAE, adapted and directed by Robert Waterhouse, presented by Red Thread Theatre, starring Christian Brandjes, Eileen Dugan, Greg Howze, Geoff Pictor, Bonnie Jean Taylor, Harold White. September 16-October 8, Thursday-Saturday at 8. Jim Bush Studios, 44 17th St. (445-4653).

MY FAIR LADY, musical by Lerner & Loewe presented by The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Dawn Marcolini Newton, starring Emily K. Plotkin, Charles Slisz, Eric Bloom, Christopher Cummings. September 16-October 2, Friday & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 3. Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Rd., Tonawanda (260-2319).

6x8, new work created and presented by Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by Theresa DiMuro-Wilber, starring Brittany Germano, Chanyl White, Kajana Stover, Diane McNamara, Cierra Cappas, Diane Michaels, Jennifer Arroyo, Caroline Parzy-Sanders. September 15 at 8. September 16-October 1, Friday & Saturday at 8 plus September 25 & October 2 at 2. Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant St. (247-9585).   

THE SUBMISSION, a play by Jeff Talbott presented by Buffalo United Artists and Ujima Company, directed by Lorna C. Hill, stars Adam Hayes, Rick Lattimer, Shanntina Moore, Michael Seitz. September 16-October 1, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 7. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239).

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, a play by Tennessee Williams presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, stars Patrick Cameron, Aleks Malejs, Stan Klimecko, Renee Landrigan, Colleen Gaughan, Bethany Sparacio, Gerry Maher, Jacob Albarella, Adam Yellen, Ray Boucher, and Ron Mangum. September 16-October 9, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3 & 7:30, Sundays at 2 (September 16 at 8) at the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC).

WONDER OF THE WORLD, play by David Lindsay-Abaire presented by Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. September 15-October 2, Thursday at 7:30, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 7. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).


Letting her shoulder straps drop, Marina Laurendi transforms from the gawky Louise to the famous Gypsy Rose Lee in GYPSY at MusicalFare Theatre.

GYPSY, musical by Styne, Sondheim & Laurents, directed by Chris Kelly, starring Jonas Barranca, Allison Barsi, Charmagne Chi, Doug Crane, Arianne Davidow, Maria Droz, Jordan Louis Fischer, John Fredo, Sabrina Kahwaty, Marina Laurendi, Loraine O’Donnell, Michele Marie Roberts, Dan Urtz, Faith Walh. Through October 9, Wednesday & Thursday at 7, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3:30 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 (September 16 at 8!). MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540).

DINNER WITH FRIENDS, play by Donald Margulies, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Kelly Meg Brennan, Dave Hayes, Lisa Vitrano, Phil Farugia. September 9-October 2, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2 (September 16 at 8). Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069).

Dave Hayes and Kelly Meg Brennan are one of two sparring couples in DINNER WITH FRIENDS at Road Less Traveled, 500 Pearl Street.
Credit Photo courtesy of Vincent Lopez

DON'T TALK TO THE ACTORS, comedy written and directed by Tom Dudzick, starring Kevin Craig, Wendy Hall, Pamela Rose Mangus, Jamie Nablo, Peter Palmisano, Steve Vaughan. September 9-October 2, Thursday & Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 3:30 & 7:30, Sunday at 2 (September 16 at 8). Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668).

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, musical by Sondheim & Gelbart directed by Fran Landis, starring David Bondrow, Katy Clancy, Tim Hartman, Scott Gunner, Scot Kaitanowski, Jeremy Kreuzer, Marc Sacco, Richard Spitaletta, Chrissy Vogric. September 9-25, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30 (Friday Sep 16 at 8 p.m.). Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (83-1776).

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. September 8-October 15, Thursday-Saturday at 8. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499).

GENTLEMEN PREFER DIVAS, musical revue conceived by Mary Kate O’Connell, presented by O’Connell & Company. Sep 16-18, Friday & Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2 at Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).


DESTINY OF ROSE, the world premiere of a musical play by Christopher B. Pearman & Phil Davis Sr., is presented by Alemaedae Theater of Dreams, LLC in cooperation with the Hearts for the Homeless October 2 at 2 & 5 at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts 450 Masten Ave. (402-8367).

FINDING NEVERLAND, the touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino will have previews October 7 & 8 at 7, then run from October 9-15, Tuesday -Thursday at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sundays at 2 & 7, at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).