Theater Talk: Moliere keeps 'em laughing at Stratford; selected Curtain Up! shows open this week

Sep 9, 2016

At the Stratford Festival in Ontario, THE HYPOCHONDDRIAC,  based on THE IMAGINARY INVALID by Molière, is a new version of that classic by Richard Bean with lots of gags and a bit of history, too, as Argon is being played by "Moliere" himself.

Director Antoni Cimolino, just as he did with Macbeth, uses the Festival stage to full advantage to keep the audience guessing and laughing. Meanwhile, here in town, some theaters have (thankfully!) started a week before Curtain Up!  Two nights ago GYPSY opened at MusicalFare Theatre in Amherst with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, fresh off his success as a lyricist for WEST SIDE STORY, but with music by Jule Styne (and there's a story there, as you'll hear). Meanwhile, for both words and music by Sondheim, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM opens tonight in Lancaster.

URINETOWN makes a political point, as you'd expect from Subversive Theatre, and that musical opens tonight at the Manny Fried Playhouse on Great Arrow. But for straight theater, you might want to check out DINNER WITH FRIENDS at Road Less Traveled Theatre, 500 Pearl Street. And, for fans of OVER THE TAVERN will want to know that Tom Dudzik is back in town with a play at the Kavinoky.

Trish Lindtröm as Beline and Stephen Ouimette as Argan/Molière in THE HYPOCHONDRIAC at the Stratford Festival through October 14.
Credit Photography by David Hou.

OPENING

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). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

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). www.kavinokytheatre.com

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). www.LancOpera.org

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). www.subversivetheatre.org

ONGOING

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). www.musicalfare.com
    
UPCOMING

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). www.alleyway.com

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). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

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). www.RedThreadTheatre.info

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). www.niagaratheatre.com

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, play by Jeff Talbott presented by Buffalo United Artists and Ujima Company, directed by Lorna C. Hill, starring 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). www.buffalobua.org/www.ujimacoinc.org

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). www.sheas.org/710main

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

ANOTHER EVENING WITH TOM SLAIMAN, new stories created and narrated by raconteur Tom Slaiman, presented by Western Door Playhouse, starring Sam Fadel, Bob Priest, Dede Secic, Chris Mongielo, Linda Silvestri, Sam Granieri. September 10 at 7:30 & September 11 at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).

THE WONDERMAKERS - WORLD OF WONDERS, interactive theater for children, presented by Lancaster Regional Players, September 9-11, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 4, Sunday at 2:30.  Williamsville Meeting House, 5658 Main St.,Williamsville.  (435-4919). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org