Arts/Culture

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.

Spectrum News / WXXI News

This weekend marked the annual Convention Days in Seneca Falls, which highlights the Women’s Rights Convention held in that community in 1848.

cover art for Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters by Donald Bogle

Last week we mentioned Ethel Waters singing "Heat Wave" from the 1933 AS THOUSANDS CHEER by Irving Berlin as well as "Suppertime" (not "Summertime" by Gershwin) about a wife's reaction to news of her husband's lynching. Read Anthony's "op-ed" on wishful thinking in theatertalkbuffalo.com.  With Covid cautions, Torn Space Theater is opening SILENCE, an outdoor production starting July 31st. 


The Hill Family

Ever optimistic actor activist Lorna C. Hill, who founded Ujima, the longest continuing running theater company in Buffalo, succumbed to cancer, while COVID-19 claimed Broadway star Nick Cordero. In other pandemic related news, Actor's Equity has schedule two shows in August in The Berkshires under very strict protocols, Spree magazine's July issue cover what's what, and Shea's has moved the touring (non-Equity, opening in Buffalo) production of TOOTSIE back? up? to December 1, 2020! Keep your season tickets!


WBFO file photo

The doors are open again on a limited basis at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown. The center opened Friday for the first time since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, doing so at 25-percent capacity. "This is about the National Comedy Center being a national-scale cultural institution that has mission-based work that is important," said Executive Director Journey Gunderson.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Tourist attractions are now opening, after closing for 100 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hill family

The founder of Buffalo's Ujima Theater Company, Lorna C. Hill, died on Tuesday. WBFO's Anthony Chase enjoyed a long relationship with Hill and the two sat down for an interview on June 2nd. It turned out to be the last interview for Lorna C. Hill. A portion of that conversation aired Thursday morning as a special edition of WBFO's Theater Talk and is posted here.


The Hill Family

The local theater community is mourning the loss of one of its greatest contributors. Lorna C. Hill passed away Tuesday, just a few days after her 69th birthday. Anthony Chase, the co-host of WBFO's Theater Talk, offered this remembrance.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

There is good news and bad news for arts and culturals today regarding pandemic reopenings.

secondgenerationtheatre.com

Little by little, theater companies are getting better at zooming around the web, because, if it ain't online, it ain't. Period. The Antonyo Awards honoring black Broadway actors, etc. can still be seen. Visit Playbill.com for Mart Crowley's THE MEN FROM THE BOYS, tonight at 7 p.m., a sequel to THE BOYS IN THE BAND. Also tonight, at 8 p.m., "That's Shawbiz" features various Shawfest actors with very slick use of Zoom technology. On Sunday, at 7 p.m., SGT will offer PAGE TO STAGE: MISCAST where a number of favorite


Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Local artists have painted a new Black Lives Matter mural meant to spark conversation about racial inequality. 

Dudney Joseph on Instagram

The show can't go on (it's not just venue concerns, but rehearsals, tech, etc.), yet the fundraising must! Second Generation Theatre has elected to damn the coronavirus and go full speed ahead with a virtual version of  "Page to Stage: Miscast" in which some of Buffalo's most talented performers tackle material that is entirely inappropriate for them, online on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7 p.m. For online entertainment, Broadway Black's inaugural Antonyo Awards airs tonight, June 19, at 7 p.m.

The Allies for Black Justice organization is hosting a march on Saturday to celebrate support the Black Lives Matter movement within the LGBTQ community, and to celebrate their allies who have shown solidarity.

“We wanted to highlight not only that black lives matter, but we wanted to also give thanks to our allies,” said David Hall, one of the coordinators of the march.

Hall said that this march is not meant to take the attention away from the black community, but to illustrate that the movement also applies to people of color within the LGBTQ community.

Monique Carboni in Playbill.com

June is Pride Month and while COVID-19 may have curtailed the parade, Playbill.com/PridePlays announces a performance of Donja R. Love's "one in two" (about being HIV Positive, Black, and Queer) tonight at 7pm. Watch, then vote before midnight for the first ever "Antonyo Awards" (the "just for fun" presentations will be on Juneteenth) which promise to be "hilarious, uplifting, and unapoligetically black." Then read "We See You, White American Theater."


Facebook

As the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to affect all in Western New York, the news regarding flattening of the curve, the number of hospitalizations and fatalities has been hopeful and given us reason to be cautiously optimistic. That optimism extends to the film industry in Western New York, as Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark explains to WBFO’s Pat Feldballe.

Sara Kurlwich in The New York Times

Playwright (THE NORMAL HEART), novelist, in-your-face AIDS activist Larry Kramer, described as "one of America's most valuable troublemakers" passed away last week. During the 1980s he criticized Ronald Reagan, Dr. Anthony Fauci (they later became friends), as well as gay culture and behavior. He was a major influence on Tony Kushner to write ANGELS IN AMERICA. In other AIDS related news


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.

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