Nusantara Arts

Nusantara Arts, Buffalo's first Javanese gamelan orchestra, is receiving additional funding moving forward to purchase new instruments and expand their reach. 


WBFO Photo/Mike Desmond

The Buffalo History Museum is showing off a major renovation project, a space that has been closed for a generation.

Anne Beatts, Buffalo native, SNL writer, dies at 74

Apr 9, 2021

Buffalo native Anne Beatts, an Emmy-winning comedy writer who helped launch “Saturday Night Live,” died Wednesday at her home in West Hollywood. She was 74.

2019 Joseph Marzullo/WENN appearing in

Andre De Shields is always in demand, even during Covid, but found time to talk to Theater Talk about his Buffalo connections, why playing "Hermes" in HADESTOWN was so important to him (above and beyond the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical), and how racism helped forge his personal philosophy (see below). Ever elegant, wearing bespoke (custom made) clothing even during a Zoom call, Andre De Shields answered several questions about HADESTOWN, will it be back, will it tour, and if it does, will he be in the tour?

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The pandemic’s impact has been felt particularly hard by the live music industry, but on Thursday, a grant program meant to help venue owners opened the application process for such relief.

Irish Classical Theatre

In 2007, American social critic and novelist Joan Didion adapted her Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, into a Broadway play starring Vanessa Redgrave. It's a tale of love and loss of both Didion's husband and later her daughter. A one-woman show directed by Kyle LoConti starring Victoria Pérez, the play is available to stream from April 9-25, 2021. For tickets, click here.

Tom Rettig / Chautauqua Institution

When the Chautauqua Institution opens another summer season during COVID soon, there will be a major change very close to the top.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park

With one play, BEAU JEST, about to wrap up its virtual access on March 31 and another, EXQUISITE POTENTIAL, to be available through the JRT on YouTube from April 8-28, Adam Yellen is acting, he's directing, he's reaching out to talk with other JCCs, he's providing interviews with playwrights, and even when we're all back in the theaters, he sees how some lessons learned in response to the pandemic will be very usefull in years to come.

Marcel Louis-Jacques / Twitter

Condemnations came quickly after 97 Rock Morning Host Rob Lederman compared the settings on a toaster to the skin shades of Black women during an on-air exchange Wednesday.

Regal Cinemas will reopen its theaters in the U.S. in April, six months after they closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

National Comedy Center

The National Comedy Center has acquired the extensive career archives of legendary comedian and actor Carl Reiner, who died in June at age 98.

The Carr Center

Losing the founder and Artistic Director of a theater company to cancer would be bad enough, but in the time of COVID-19, there has been particular pressure on the Ujima Theatre Company, Incorporated to stay in the game. Although founding member Sarah Norat-Phillips has been out of state for a few decades working in media management, she had been in constant contact with Ms. Hill and agreed to stepped in as Interim Artistic Director for Ujima, which has a number of virtual projects, including BIOP-see.

Photo by @Eileen Elibol WNED PBS

While on-stage roles have shut down, some theaters (including Jewish Repertory with BEAU JEST as well as Theatre of Youth with THE OUTSIDERS)  are producing shows to be viewed online. But actors of every type should consider commerical work, for example advertising, industrial videos, or movies. You probably won't get the job through the traditional audition process. Instead, a resume with professional headshot, solid resume, and perhaps a well edited video reel are what producers are looking for, according to Darleen Pickering Hummert, a pioneer agent here in Buffalo.

National Women's Hall of Fame

The National Women’s Hall of Fame has announced the 9 women who will be inducted this fall and among them is Michelle Obama.   

Yao Kahlil Newkirk

The Paul Robeson Theatre of the African American Cultural Center at 350 Masten Ave. in Buffalo has a new Artistic Director, Yao Kahlil Newkirk, with a vision to continue offering traditional stage plays by noted black playwrights such as Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson or Dominique Morisseau, while adding a new element of installations.

Daemen College

Radio remains an essential part of the communications spectrum, offering everything from news to education to culture. That was the message one of the founders of NPR brought to Daemen College Monday evening.

You might think journalist and film critic Mark Harris's new best selling biography Mike Nichols: A Life could be either pedantic or Hollywood tell-all fluff. You'll find it is neither as you get pulled along reading about a director who, while you were laughing, was changing the shape of stand-up, theater, and movies. Isolated and walled-off from bad experiences as an immigrant, ultimately comedienne Elaine May's style synched so perfectly (see links below) with Nichols' that many of his rougher edges would now become comedic gold.

National Comedy Center

In its brief time in existence, the National Comedy Center in Jamestown has quickly earned a reputation for its many exhibits focused on famous comedians. Now, the center is entering a another realm with an exhibit about a comic puppet, or more specifically, a Muppet: Fozzie Bear.


So it's 2017. You graduate with a BFA from Baldwin Wallace College's prestigious Music Theatre program. You go to New York, do the showcase, take meetings, get an agent and then... THUD! It's COVID! Insert your platitude of choice about when the going gets tough or lemons to lemonade, then listen to Buffalo native Jonathan Young who started improving his cartoons and now is a regular content provider on MSNBC's "The Week with Joshua Johnson."

Buffalo String Works

After-school music program Buffalo String Works, who currently serves immigrants and refugees on Buffalo’s West Side, plan to expand their operations in the coming years. In an effort to raise funds, the non-profit is announcing their 2021 Spring Benefit Concert will include internationally-renowned musicians and an original composition created for the community.


Artie Awards

Second Generation Theatre (SGT) and Theatre of Youth (TOY) have created an interactive digital theatrical experience (parental participation required) for young patrons ages 5 to 12. ONCE UPON A TIME was written by Philip Farugia, Kelly Copps, and Amy Jakiel with some new angles on familiar fairy tale characters. The 40-minute original musical will be streamed via ZOOM February 13 to 21 from the TOY stage. As writer / Zoom stage manager Amy Jakiel explains, young viewers will learn about inner strength and becoming the heroes of their own stories during this upbeat, high energy, show.


With a string of television credits as long as your arm, Emmy and Tony nominated Veanne Cox has played Calliope in Disney's live action Cinderella (and can still do the laugh-snort!) also has done PRIVATE LIVES at the Guthrie Theatre, and is working on a version of that play called ELYOT & AMANDA for Playhouse on Park which opens Wednesday, Feb. 10. Yes, Covid has turned everyone's world upside down, even major stars.

Playwright Tom Dudzik remembers Buffalo actress Jeanne Hebborn Cairns who originated the role of "Sister Clarissa" in his play OVER THE TAVERN. She went on to perform it in a variety of cities and her style became iconic.

Tyrone Dukes, The New York Times

Eric Bentley (1916-2020) wrote almost a dozen books of theater criticsm, was a friend of and expert on playwright Bertolt Brecht, wrote plays, revues and songs himself, and taught at UCLA, Harvard, Columbia and UB, where he became friends of Neal Radice, now retired from the Alleyway Theatre, who shared some memories of Bentley, a self-promoter (isn't everyone in theater?) who cared deeply about his words.

Impresario Michael Shea, a "larger than life" character in the history of theater, opened "The Wonder Theater" on Jan. 16, 1926 (95 years ago Saturday) to bring vaudeville and Hollywood silent movies (accompanied by a mighty Wurlitzer organ) to 4,000 patrons at a time. Saved from the wrecking ball in the 1970s by concerned citizens led by Kurt Mangel and expanded later to handle large Broadway touring shows, it's constantly under renovation supervised by Doris Collins. Michael Murphy, president of Shea's Performing Arts Center, spoke with Theater Talk.

WBFO file photo

Perhaps no sector has been hurt more by the COVID-19 pandemic than the arts. During the second in a series of State of the State addresses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative that could bring back outdoor performances, and perhaps even indoor performances. WBFO’s Tom Dinki got reaction from those in the Buffalo arts scene.


Jerry Seawood

The very happy Alexandria ("Alex") Watts, Co-President of ARTA (the Association of Regional Theater Artists) has graced almost every major stage in WNY as a Green Monster, a "Squirrelle," a flying bat, and a pinkie-up tea drinking Jane Austen herione ("Miss Bennet") among many others. She chats about the mission of ARTA to provide "Community, Advocacy, Education, and Opportunity" for local actors. And, of course, her laughter provides a much needed antidote to all the stresses of our times.

Buffalo Kwanzaa 2020 / Facebook

Wednesday is the fifth day of Kwanzaa, known as Nia or purpose. That’s what founder Maulana Karenga talked about Tuesday night in a satellite feed to the area’s virtual celebration.

WBFO file

For the first time in over three decades, crowds will not be gathering at Roosevelt Plaza in downtown Buffalo to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. The countdown will take place virtually, with coverage on WKBW-TV.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

What will the theater-going experience look like in a post-pandemic United States? Movie lovers across the country still don’t know. And as is the case in many locales, local screen owners in Western New York are continuing to adapt week to week.