Arts/Culture

Shakespeare in Delaware Park Facebook page

Shakespeare in Delaware Park announced the cancellation of its entire summer season.  Online is where the action is and SIDP has one of the busiest Facebook pages. Visit here for their 30th anniversary online celebration (CHANGED TO Saturday 5/30) and Road Less Traveled to hear a podcast with Anthony and Peter Palmisano. Tonight (Friday) you can go to BroadwayCares.org/Chita at 8pm to see some legendary performers.


Live music returns, just pull up your vehicle

May 27, 2020
Aaron Winters

Perhaps the vehicle to lead us out of the coronavirus pandemic will be our cars. The car. In which we are hermetically sealed. Unless we roll down the windows, which is bound to happen as summer arrives. One thing COVID-19 cannot stop.

Alleyway.com

"Changing... it keeps changing" wrote Sondheim and it's now official. Neal Radice and his wife Joyce Stilson have handed over the venerable 40 year old Alleyway Theatre (over 150 productions to date not including 29 years of "Buffalo Quickies") to the next generation although "Buffalo Quickies" continue live on YouTube for the next two Sunday mornings at 11am.  We also note the passing of Joey Giambra and Lori McDonald, two longtime Buffalo theater notables. 


TornSpaceTheater.com

Torn Space Theater is adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We can't have the same large-scale performances that we're used to," said Artistic Director Dan Shanahan. Starting this Friday and running through  May 31, Torn Space presents an online "personal-performance piece" called "Passage." Assembled by sound designer Justin Rowland, the production is intended for solitary listening.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The Artie Awards (Buffalo's version of Broadway's Tony Awards) are important in recognizing outstanding work, but if theater people are anything, they are are people who need people. Yet, because of schedules the WNED|WBFO Artie Awards is the one night of the year when everybody can party. And if they can't kiss-kiss, hug-hug, squeeze one more into a selfie, then we'll wait until they can! 


When Jerry Stiller told his father he wanted to become an actor, his father offered an alternate plan. He said, "Why don't you be a stagehand — that's like being on the stage — at least you'll be working every night," Stiller told Fresh Air in 1993.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

Little Richard, the self-described "king and queen" of rock and roll and an outsize influence on everyone from David Bowie to Prince, died Saturday in Tullahoma, Tenn. He was 87 years old.

Bill Sobel, a lawyer for Little Richard, tells NPR that the cause of death was bone cancer. Rolling Stone was the first to report on Little Richard's death.

Marc J. Franklin in Playbill.com

And the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for drama goes to.... a musical! (the 10th in Pulitzer history) A STRANGE LOOP, by  Michael R. Jackson, about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about (see above). While most spring and summer theater workshops and programs remain cancelled, a rich resource for parents is Playbill.com's "Online Resources for kids and families to get you through COVID-19" including Disney and Lincoln Center activities.


Broadwayworld.com

Last week Shakespeare in Delaware Park's first show was cancelled then Antoni Cimolino cancelled the entire Stratford (Shakespeare) Festival. Shawfest is rehearsing via Zoom and may have some shows later in the summer. The good news is that suddenly major Chita Rivera level stars are available to collaborate online, for example at Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday tribute ("The Ladies Who Lunch" from COMPANY begins at 1:58:34.)  The 12th annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals will be held online May 2–3. 

WBFO Photo/Rich Kellman

Volunteers from Amherst Helping Hands are handing out homemade face masks at the Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier 's Masjid An-Noor mosque at 745 Heim Road in Getzville.

Alleyway.com

Anthony recalls a time when, as a high schooler, Broadway was a bit out of reach, so he read everything he could about the theater. Now, when theaters are dark, he finds reading a comfort. Even though social distancing rules might be relaxed by summer, so much work takes place long before opening night that Shakespeare in Delaware Park can't just "flip a switch" on June 18 and put on a show. Sadly, AS YOU LIKE IT has been canceled. Meanwhile, the Alleyway Theatre's "Buffalo Quickies" air live Sunday mornings at 11am on YouTube.


In their tiny apartment just outside Minneapolis, Sarah Alfaham directs her husband Mohamed Ahmed to hold up the gold curtains she picked up at Walmart.

She takes a look.

"I like it," she says.

With thumbtacks, string and dowels, Alfaham fashions a canopy in the corner of their living room with a homemade navy blue and gold "Ramadan Mubarak" sign underneath. On the floor is a prayer rug.

"It's just really creating a mosque feel inside your house in a sense. I don't know how else to do it," she says with a laugh.

MGM publicity still, Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia

In the 5th week of social distancing, electronic media is becoming a bigger part of our lives as we try to stay connected and entertained or both. This Sunday at 11 a.m., the Alleyway Theater will have a socially distant but live theatrical event via YouTube. And with no theaters to attend, Anthony has discovered, or re-discovered, binge-watching streamed television shows and is delighted to see how many follow the 19th century model, proposed by Eugene Scribe, of "the well made play." 


Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Ani DiFranco

Where: New Orleans, La.

Recommendation: Staying informed and immersing yourself in activity

File photo

It's spring in Ontario's Niagara-on-the-Lake, usually a time when the flow of tourist buses increases, hotel reservations flow and the performers of the Shaw Festival move quickly between rehearsals and the first preview performances of the 2020 season. Except, they aren't, with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

hhcinstitute.org

This is a tough time for organizations raising money for projects like the $10 million Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute. 

Times-Standard

The last record of any semblance of live theater, once a staple of the mighty Greek and later Roman cultures, was around 530 A.D. Then we entered "the dark ages" and, as now with the COVID-19 pandemic, theater was dark. But ultimately, it was Easter, and depictions of the three Marys at Jesus' tomb (the Holy Mother, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the sister of Lazarus) that reignited the magic of live presentations.


biography.com

Are you being productive during this time of "social distancing?" Shakespeare, during one period of the plague in the early 1600s wrote ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA, MACBETH, and KING LEAR. 


WBFO Phot/Kate Kaye

Verve Dance Studio, one of the few places anywhere in the world dedicated to teaching b-boy’s dance and philosophy of self-expression, has kept the tradition strong for 15 years --and is one of many schools on hold because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

YouTube.com

Just Buffalo Literary Center had been planning to release its Lit City Voices video series this month, long before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation and altered modern life. Produced last summer, the series highlights local poets "out in the community inspiring other people about what this great city means to us," said Barbara Cole, Artistic Director and Associate Executive Director at Just Buffalo Literary Center. "I think this is one of those moments, too, where you realize that we really do sometimes need to seek out some wisdom, and writers are there to offer it.”

Tom Kirdahy, husband of Mr. McNally, on Facebook

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing hardship because of social distancing (see the list of theatrical cancellations and postponements below) and it has led to the sad death of a wonderful friend of Buffalo theater, especially BUA, playwright Terrence McNally, many of whose plays were produced locally.


File photo

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra doesn’t know when its musicians will get to take the stage again at Kleinhans. So until then, the orchestra is partnering with Classical WNED to air archived performances on Tuesday nights until they resume playing. 

Iimage from GoFundMe.com

Restrictions on public gatherings have silenced Buffalo's dynamic music scene at clubs and bars. "Part of the reason I chose to live in Buffalo all those 30 years ago was because I was blown away by the resiliency of the people in this music community and they're totally displaying that now," said Jeff Miers, the Buffalo News music critic whose coverage and reporting are now confined to his home. He's adapted as have many local artists who are performing "virtual gigs."  Performed without a live audience, the shows are offered free of charge with the hope viewers will respond with in-kind donations. Miers says a collective effort called Band Together Buffalo is having success with the model. 


Irish Classical Theatre

As theaters are canceling their current runs (see listings) many are also canceling rehearsals for upcoming shows. Social distancing is affecting everyone, from the Stratford Festival to Shawfest, to local productions, to Broadway, and all the Broadway national tours across America. Many theaters will, we hope, be able to turn a cancellation into a postponement. Listen to Theater Talk weekly and, in-between, subscribe to  Anthony's (FREE) blog theatertalkbuffalo.com for updates.

Kodak Black / YouTube

Rapper Kodak Black pleaded guilty Thursday to a weapons charge stemming from a stop at the Canadian border crossing near Niagara Falls last April.

Shea's Buffalo

The bright lights on the Shea's marquee in the Theatre District were flashing Thursday night, but staffers were at the doors to tell customers "Hello, Dolly!" had been canceled by orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Larry Rowswell courtesy of the New Phoenix Theatre

Carolee Carmello swept into audience's hearts as Dolly Levi, the matchmaker from Yonkers, in a darn near perfect production of HELLO, DOLLY! at Shea's now cancelled. At the New Phoenix Theatre, Victoria Perez once again demonstrated her formidable skills as a director in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN with a breakout role for actor Rick Lattimer, cancelled so far only for this weekend. There's also a breakout role for actor Dan Urtz down Main Street at Road Less Traveled's HAND TO GOD, open this weekend! In all cases, it's best to contact the box office (see listings for contact information). Also see Anthony's blog www.theatertalkbuffalo.com

NYC & Company

All public gatherings of 500 people or more are banned in New York starting Friday, and Broadway shows are effectively shut down as of Thursday evening, under a directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Independent Western New York theaters like North Park Theatre and Aurora Theatre plan to keep operating after the state announced a ban on groups of 500 or more people, starting Friday afternoon.

Julieta Cervantes

Carolee Carmello has had a fabulous Broadway career, reports Anthony, and she's bringing her big, big voice to the Shea's stage in HELLO, DOLLY! where a very rich next season opens with a straight play, Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of MOCKINGBIRD. Read all about it on Anthony's blog TheaterTalkBuffalo. On a much smaller stage, four local playwrights have dealt with the theme of Armageddon in THE END: AMEN whose Alleyway cast includes two superb actors "on loan" from the Paul Robeson.

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