Arts/Culture

Heather Hart's new piece-- a life-size rooftop that visitors are welcomed to climb on and underneath.
Kyle S. Mackie / WBFO News

Friday night is the official public opening of Albright-Knox Northland. It’s a temporary home for the art museum while its Elmwood Avenue campus is closed for construction through spring 2022.

Gene Witkowski, Kavinoky Theatre

After an early start for both THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, over half a dozen other productions are up this weekend, including A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Irish Classical with the Buffalo Philharmonic at Kleinhans) and on Monday the second free reading of GOD OF VENGEANCE which is the basis for a Paula Vogel play (INDECENT) coming in March. Take some time to peruse the listings below.

The headline out of this morning's Oscar nominations could have been newness. There was the arrival of Netflix's two best picture contenders (Marriage Story with six nominations and The Irishman with 10). There was the huge showing for Bong Joon-ho's remarkable Parasite (six nominations) out of South Korea, the extraordinarily rare foreign-language film to make the leap to best picture and the first from South Korea.

Gene Witkowski

Some things might be worse than you'd think (perhaps the movie version of CATS) and some will be much better than you'd suspect from the title (the gorgeous musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY which opens this weekend at the Kavinoky) and one limited run should be greater than the sum of its parts - Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with the complete incidental music by Mendelsssohn.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

On Saturday night, Nusantara Arts, formerly known as the Buffalo Gamelan Club, will be performing a show at the Buffalo Museum of Science in front of Indonesian artifacts and artwork. The one-night exhibit is a product of a growing gamelan scene in Buffalo and desire on the museum’s behalf to work with more local organizations.


Seneca Nation

A historic tomahawk with ties to the first president of the United States has made its way home, permanently.

Jay Moran/WBFO

Sean Cullen's acting credits include work with Hollywood luminaries like Al Pacino, George Clooney and Alec Baldwin. He also appeared in 1,000 shows of the production of  SOUTH PACIFIC at Lincoln Center, yet the actor still feels very much at home in Buffalo. Named Road Less Traveled Productions 2020 American Theatre Master, Cullen will be on stage in his hometown frequently in the coming weeks.


Kavinoky Theatre

A Buffalo theater will use a recently awarded state grant to pay for some major upgrades.

Toronto Globe and Mail

In 2019, as every year, the theater community lost beloved people, including Diahann Carroll, who sang "The Perfect Year" in her role as Norma Desmond in Webber's SUNSET BOULEVARD. And there was Carol Channing and Hal Prince and, in a bit of delicious irony, both despised critic John Simon of New York Magazine and actress Sylvia Miles who once dumped a plate of lasagna on his head.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

A chorus in Amherst is putting on rock concerts multiple times a year as part of a nationally growing group. Rock Voices currently has choirs ranging from Vermont to Oregon and offers people who both can and can't read music the chance to sing. A Buffalo chapter of Rock Voices started earlier last year.

Kelsey Novits

Kelsey Novits is the creator, producer and host of "Womankind," a locally produced podcast pursuing an answer to the question: What does it mean to be a woman in today’s world? After 60 episodes, Novits told WBFO's Marian Hetherly the answer is "complicated," but that only makes her want to pursue this question more.


First Look Buffalo Stage Productions

From finding investors to auditioning actors to securing an available theater stage, Bob Rusch has been busy getting First Look Buffalo Stage Productions off the ground. Now, his group is ready to open COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, a play written by Ron Klier, on January 10 at the Elmwood Theatre Lofts.


Marian Hetherly / WBFO News

Fewer kids in the United States are clowning around, and that leaves a lot of the work of child's play to older adults in Buffalo and beyond.

Of the 21 clowns depicted on their website, the Buffalo Clown Alley features only 2 that clearly are not older adults. At 88 years old, Lorraine Bauer is far more typical.

Jay Moran/WBFO

Now in its third generation as a family business, the deep connections of Meibohm Fine Arts are evident. "We are currently 118 years in business. My grandfather, Carl Meibohm, opened our shop on Connecticut Street in Buffalo in 1901," said Grace Meibohm who now runs the operation on Main Street in East Aurora, its home since 1957.

Bethany Burrows, musicalfare.com

With nine area shows still in production this weekend, most up through Sunday, it's time to look back on a strong year with directorship transitions at The Alleyway and The Irish Classical Theatre while up at Shaw the "new" (since 2017) Artistic Director, Tim Carroll, is firming up his vision. Ujima Theater has a new stage, Road Less Traveled and MusicalFare continued to make good use of Shea's 710, and the Kavinoky had a major success with MOCKINGBIRD.

This past year saw the rise of a rap trio out of Buffalo, N.Y., who has earned the vocal support of hip-hop's legends. Over the past 12 months, the members of Griselda have collectively put out nine records, including their major label debut together.

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

Parents and teachers are moving forward with lawsuits against the Buffalo Public Schools over access to music education. It can partly be attributed to years of instability surrounding music education in city schools. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports it has created an atmosphere of confusion, where in attempts to meet requirements, schools have implemented a technical one-minute period where students receive credit for music classes.

Buffalo Aerial Pictures / Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens

An $18 million expansion project at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will begin in Fall 2020.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

Both parents and teachers are filing separate lawsuits against the Buffalo Public Schools, citing a lack of access to music education. The legal papers claim a legally-required arts sequence is only provided at two district high schools.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Last week, students, parents, and Buffalo Public School District faculty explored the themes represented in the play Pipeline at the Ujima Theater.

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Anthony went to NYC, which "keeps Christmas well," saw the tree in Rockefeller Center, and took in some serious dramas, including Samuel Hunter's GREATER CLEMENTS starring Judith Ivey and Adam Rapp's THE SOUND INSIDE starring Mary Louise Parker, about a Yale professsor who mis-reads and mis-uses one of her students. Here in Buffalo, if you think you've seen A CHRISTMAS CAROL, think again. With an entire cast of veterans (young and old) on stage at the Alleyway, there is a particularly fresh charm in the telling.

buffaloseminary.org / Buffalo SEM

Buffalo Seminary has become an officially committed Steinway Select School. What does that mean? As WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports, the partnership will allow SEM to offer new student scholarships for incoming freshmen and will help replace SEM’s old pianos with new Steinways.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

There are some Buffalo Public Schools that don’t offer music programs like chorus or art classes like photography. The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) on Main Street currently helps fill a role by providing these kind of classes and more for students after school. BCAT has been growing recently due to increased interest. And they have been able to meet a growing need in part to increased philanthropic support.

Jay Moran/WBFO

This is the 37th consecutive year Alleyway Theatre is producing A CHRISTMAS CAROL. At the same time, the Main Street theater is offering a show that is new to Buffalo, THE GOLDEN GIRLS: LOST EPISODES, HOLIDAY EDITION. Associate Artistic Director Chris J. Handley says advance ticket sales for THE GOLDEN GIRLS have been strong. Extra shows have been added to accommodate the expected large crowds for A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which again features David Mitchell as Scrooge.


Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

Jessica Marinelli

About half of the current theater in town is Christmas inspired, but not all, and that includes Buffalo's "Theatre District" starting with Shea's 710's remount of CHRISTMAS OVER THE TAVERN and the Alleyway's annual favorite A CHRISTMAS CAROL, but we also have Melissa Leventhal channeling the late great Patsy Cline at Shea's intimate Smith Theatre which shares a lobby with the 3000+ seat Shea's and the touring production of LES MISERABLES.

NPR's Book Concierge returns with 350+ new books handpicked by NPR staff and trusted critics. This year, for the first time, users can explore seven years of Concierge recommendations all in one place – that's more than 2,000 great reads.

Open the app now!

Thomas O'Neil-White

For over twenty-five years the Buffalo History Museum has hosted Thanksgiving weekend events at their Elmwood Avenue location.

Irish Classical Theatre on Facebook

For the first time ever, The Shaw Festival has a holiday show on the main Festival Theatre stage - HOLIDAY INN,  by Irving Berlin, directed by Shaw and Stratford superstar Kate Hennig, as the traditional A CHRISTMAS CAROL continues at the Shaw's Royal George Theatre. The Alleyway will launch their 37th annual A CHRISTMAS CAROL on December 6, and ELF continues (with only a few single tickets left) at MusicalFare Theatre.

Maria Baranova

It may defy description, but MANMADE EARTH is connecting with audiences. Created by New York City-based 600 Highwaymen, the production debuted in Buffalo a year ago as part of a larger festival hosted by Torn Space Theater. With eight young actors from Buffalo in tow, MANMADE EARTH has been on the move, including performances in front of sold-out audiences at Brooklyn's Invisible Dog Art Center. This weekend the show will conclude its local two-week run at 612 Fillmore Avenue.


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