Theater Talk: Uneven productions but gems await audiences

May 8, 2015

With so many regional stages it's bound to happen that some productions are uneven, and this week while "Carousel" (MusicalFare thorugh May 17) was generally disappointing, "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" (Irish Classical through May 17) was helped by Kristen Tripp Kelley.  Anthony enjoyed "Rust Belt Grotesque" (ART InTheBox through May 23) and the musical "She Loves Me" (Kavinoky through May 24).  And Theater Talk is very much looking forward to Kelli Bocock-Natale's direction of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (New Phoenix Theatre through May 23).

"The Un-American" at the Manny Fried Playhouse shines a light on a particularly un-appealing aspect of American history that had (and has) local repercussions.

One of the ways that so many theater companies can survive is by knowing "their" audience and regularly and reliably offering plays that are targeted towards different tastes.  That is certainly the case this week with four distinct openings, "textbook examples," if you will, of how savvy producers develop a loyal following.  O'Connell & Company (home to the "Diva by Diva" productions) just opened Nora and Delia Ephron's "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" in which five women relate their lives and their wardrobes and how they were intertwined (Park School through June 7).  Theater of Youth's "Winnie the Pooh-The House at Pooh Corner" opens tonight (Allendale Theatre through June 7). Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution" will appeal to the more savvy suburban mystery crowd at the Lancaster Opera House (through May 17). And, "The Un-American," the world premiere of a play by Anna Kay France adapted from the book by Emanuel (Manny) Fried is presented by, who else? Subversive Theatre.  This is a must-see portraying a piece of Buffalo history when America was caught up in the madness of McCarthy-ism and the House Un-American Activities Committee (at The Many Fried Playhouse through May 31).