Arts/Culture

Alleyway.com

Chris Handley, the Alleyway Theatre's new Executive Artistic Director, along with Robyn Lee Horn, the new Managing Director, decided to drop the entrance fee to enter the annual Maxim Mazumdar new play competition and that expanded the pool with so much good material, they decided to offer a Digital Theatre Festival from November 6 through the 22nd. Visit the website for details.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A Western New York native who worked two decades writing and producing numerous Hollywood-based television shows is leading an effort to construct a production facility on a 27-acre plot in Buffalo's Riverbend area.

Drea D'Nur

Friday morning, Buffalo artist, singer and songwriter Drea D’Nur released her latest album This Love Thing, which is co-executive produced with Chicago songwriter, Doctor Rami Nashashibi.


Eileen Buckley, WBFO Archive Photo

While theaters are dark, theater companies are busy, including Chautauqua with a play filmed at and airing on WNED-TV (airdate: Monday, October 26, starting at 8). And airing on your device of choice will be TEA FOR THREE, filmed at the TR Inaugural site in Buffalo, about three First Ladies. Meet Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford, a charming antidote to the politics of today, as explained by Mary Kate O'Connell. 


Irish Classical Theatre

The Irish Classical Theatre Company is kicking off its 30th Anniversary Season with their first-ever digital theater performance of the work that opened their first "permanent" home (27 years ago) at the Calumet on Chippewa.  SEA MARKS by Gardner McKay is a love story about Colm, a lonely fisherman living on a remote island west of Galway and Timothea, a sophisticated, beautiful woman from the midlands of England (watch trailer here).  Presented virtually October 16 to November 1, 2020, tickets will be good for one night only (to be chosen by the purhaser). 


Nick Lippa / WBFO

Buffalo is the birthplace of many legendary musicians. You may not know who all of them are, but you can see at least one now on the corner of Kensington and Bailey Avenue. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports how artist Edreys Wajed and M&T Bank brought Grover Washington Jr. to life through an art mural.


Michael Thomas

Dan Shanahan, Artistic Director of Torn Space Theater, the first company to have live productions in the '20-'21 season (outdoor, socially distant, masks required, site-specific at Silo City) has, like Shea's and many other companies, been using the shutdown to improve their space, including a huge four-lot outdoor facility at the corner of Fillmore and Paderewski (in Buffalo's old "Polonia" district).


Members of Torn Space Theater held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday to mark the second phase of renovations.

L.A. Times

It opened in 1926 as "The Wonder Theatre" and today can entertain several thousand on any given night, except during a pandemic, and so Shea's Buffalo Theatre, as Broadway is, as other Buffalo venues (see below) are, is offering subscriptions to virtual shows and just announced: LIVE FROM THE WEST SIDE: WOMEN OF BROADWAY - PATTI LUPONE, LAURA BENANTI, VANESSA WILLIAMS. Shea's President Michael Murphy talks about scheduling, renovations, youth education, the Kenny Awards, and racial inclusion.


annettedanielstaylor.com

Annette Daniels Taylor, born in NYC (Staten Island), is an Artie award-winning playwright, published poet, filmmaker, artist and costumer (and for awhile the personal stylist for actress Ruby Dee) whose first experience as an audience member in Buffalo was at the Paul Robeson and she was sold! Jumping in as a volunteer for the African American Cultural Center's "Jumpin' Jumbalaya" youth summer program, she went on to costume for the Robeson, where she is now the new Artistic Director.


Jewish Repertory Theatre

Tonight is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and also "Curtain Up!" the start of the New Year of  theater in WNY. So we thought we'd "Better call Saul" and speak with Saul Elkin, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, about the five plays scheduled for this "virtual" 20-21 season. Saul is excited about the opportunities to collaborate with the playwrights, one of which, Canadian Mark Leiren-Young, would most likely not be able to attend his own show, BAR MITZVAH BOY, starring Peter Palmisano, which opens the season and runs November 5-25, 2020.


Nancy J. Parisi Buffalo Spree

He played with Count Basie, he played with Ellington, he wowed audiences at the piano in AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and SOPHISTICATED LADIES and COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY, all at MusicalFare Theatre, and he's back there, livestreaming on Sept. 17 with jazz vocalist Ms. Alex McArthur and two days later streaming from the Kavinoky with John Fredo, whose jazz roots go back farther than most know.

TAB & TDA, courtesy of Doug Weyand

The 39th Annual Curtain Up! activities which traditionally launch the new theater season in WNY have been reimagined for this year. Because of COVID-19 and government regulations, in lieu of the Curtain Up! dinner, live performances, and after-party on Main Street in the Theatre District it's all online. The Theatre Alliance of Buffalo (TAB) and Theatre District Association of WNY (TDA) are collaborating to present virtual, socially distanced Curtain Up! 2020 activities. Musicalfare's Doug Weyand explains. 


Quake Mark

In his four decades of working in the music business, Quake Mark says he’s had a gun pulled on him three times, he’s been shot once, stabbed twice, overdosed once, been in three bus crashes, four bus fires and has survived two plane crashes, including with the Goo Goo Dolls in 1999 when the band’s plane skidded off a runway in Italy.

But this coronavirus pandemic could be the end of his career as a sound technician, production manager and tour manager, “which is a fancy way of saying I’m a very high-priced roadie,” says Quake.

Dave Debo/WBFO News

Chadwick Boseman, the star of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” died at the age of 43 on Friday after a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. Boseman also starred in “Marshall,” which was filmed in Buffalo and other parts of Western New York in 2016. Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark spoke with WBFO’s James Farrell about Boseman’s time in Buffalo and how he will be remembered in Western New York. 

 


Courtney Helinski, Buffalo Toronto Public Media

Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s 45th main stage summer season was put on hold this year due to the pandemic, but that has not stopped SDP from carrying on with the mission of free professional outdoor theatre. Their sold out "Live Intermezzo Season" began last Friday, Aug. 21, at the Olmsted Park Lodge Picnic area in Buffalo, with socially distanced touring productions (think “The Best Of The Bard”). 


Ryan Zunner / WBFO News

A new mural has been unveiled today in the Old First Ward which combines symbolic elements of the LGBTQ+ and Native American communities.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

It wasn’t just George Floyd’s name heard at protests across Buffalo this summer. The names of Quentin Suttles, Wardel ‘Meech’ Davis, and Cariol Horne were all chanted as a national fight against systematic racism continues. Photographer Tito Ruiz was on the front line with protestors to capture the emotion felt locally in Western New York’s fight for racial justice. Now, more than 30 of his large prints are on display as part of a solo exhibit at CEPA Gallery.


The em-power of music in the Women's Suffrage Movement

Aug 26, 2020
Mary Brennan Taylor / Kenan Center

Music isn't just easy on the ears, it has been used as a rallying cry by political and social movements for centuries. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of a woman's right to vote being signed into law today, WBFO took a look at the em-powerful role music played in the Suffrage Movement.

City of Buffalo

For three decades, John Brent shaped the face of Buffalo as the architect for the Parks Department, then memory of him fell off our collective memory. Now that has changed.

Photo by Anthony Chase

D'Youville College's new president Lorrie Clemo is modernizing the campus with an historic sensibility and the Kavinoky Theatre is part of that renovation, with new seats on the way, a "Broadway style" entrance on Prospect Avenue, along with fresh paint, moldings, and detail work, says Executive Artistic Director Loraine O'Donnell. Anthony reports that it is stunning and he took some snapshots (below).


Nicki Swift

The Artie nominations are now complete (see below). Christopher Jackson (George Washington in HAMILTON) will be live streaming tomorrow night from NYC in an event to benefit Shea's. This coming Thursday, Buffalo native Jeffry Denman (THE PRODUCERS, CATS, etc.) will live stream with Randall Kramer at the piano. The musical DIANA will premiere on Netflix. And we note the passing of great Canadian actor Brent Carver, most famous as "Molina" in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN.


Michael Thomas

The second wave of Artie Award Nominations went live on WBFO's Facebook page on Wednesday (final categories will be announced next Wednesday at noon) as read by a talented collection of 2019 winners (see the archives as lovingly maintained by MusicalFare's Doug Weyand). The first (and so far only) live theater of 2020-2021, Torn Space's SILENCE, is rapidly selling out. Find out more here.


Mary Schneider and Alicia Malik / Co-Artifact

The pandemic may have put a hold on visiting art showcases in person, but groups like Starlight Studio & Art Gallery have taken their events online to continue operation. The non-for profit art studio is holding their fifth annual Co-Artifact silent auction-- an exhibition that starts Thursday and runs through the weekend. 

  

Michael Thomas

The remainder of the 2019-2020 Artie Award Nominations will be revealed Wednesday August 5 and 12 at noon on WBFO's Facebook Live. Zoom continues to be the dominant platform which, while not technically "theater," is an excellent space for new play development allowing for a wider audience than a typical reading. COVID is forcing some changes as is #BlackLivesMatter which is demanding more than simply gestures. And, if traditional audiences can't keep up, then, "don't change their minds; change their faces."


Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Safe & Sound

A charity concert, headlined by The Chainsmokers, is prompting New York authorities to investigate after video showed an audience crowding closely in spite of the state's coronavirus rules.

Torn Space Theater

With Phase Four of the reopening of the region underway, Torn Space Theater is preparing to present its first in-person production since the start of the pandemic. "Silence" debuts this Friday at Silo City, which has been home to previous site-specific productions from Torn Space. Artistic Director Dan Shanahan says the work reflects "this unprecedented moment we're living in."


Buffalo Infringement Festival / Facebook

This year's Buffalo Infringement Festival is being held online and livestreamed on YouTube. Bands and artists have creatively repurposed their homes for the event--- or found vacant spaces like parking garages to perform. 


Gene Witkowski

The Artie Awards (Buffalo's "Tony Awards") ceremony is still on hold, but the nominations are appearing, including Outstanding Production of a Play and of a Musical. Awards come at the end of the creative process, and tonight you can watch Donna Hoke's  play in development, HEARTS OF STONE, streamed. But it all starts with a creative spark, and Ujima has a call for submissions to their August #ArtThatHeals showcase with the theme, "Black Lives Matter." See details on the Arties, HEARTS, and Ujima below.


Cheyenne Ketter-Franklin / The Buffalo History Museum

The Buffalo History Museum has announced plans to reopen to the public on Saturday, Aug. 1.

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