Arts/Culture

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.

WBFO file photo

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has received gifts totaling $1.22 million that center officials say will help them better bring arts education to diverse families and school children. 

 

Matthew Murphy

Atticus Finch, the Temptations and Queen Elsa will soon be on the Shea's stage, as the 2020-21 Broadway series kicks off with the new version of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in August. The entertainment center is looking forward to another year of success in Buffalo's Theatre District.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Buffalo high school students brought to life the words of a playwright who was described in his obituary as “theater’s poet of Black America” earlier this month.


Alleyway.com

March will bring a raft of openings, but madness and more signs of the times are on stages this weekend, at both ends of The Alleyway Theatre complex and in the suburbs as well (see listings). This week's conversation was about SCOTCH AND MADNESS and THE END: AMEN and two closings: GLORIOUS and WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW. Theater Talk notes the passing of Mary Haney who graced the stages of Shawfest for 30 years and over 60 productions.

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has begun work in Buffalo on his latest project, Nightmare Alley, a film based on the 1940s novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. Just before he set to work on a scene inside Buffalo's City Hall, he was honored by local leaders for bringing the latest major film production to town.

Trailblazing Women

There is a memorial on the waterfront for Flight 3407 victim Alison des Forges, perhaps the only public monument to a woman other than in a local cemetery. A local group plans to change that and has three candidates for new statues of women.

Tatiana Gelfand

Anthony remembers Zoe (say "Zo") Caldwell, winner of four Tony Awards (the last for portraying the opera star Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS) who passed away Tuesday at 86, at home, due to complications from Parkinson's. On a recent trip to NYC, he saw Jane Alexander (age 80) in GRAND HORIZONS, Charles Busch (only 65) in THE LEGEND OF LILY DARE, and very much enjoyed the new, more true to life book for THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN.  SCOTCH AND MADNESS opened at the Alleyway did last night while many more plays are about to (see listings).

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The seals were outside the Aquarium of Niagara paddling around, while the sea lions were inside racing around their large pool. Neither knew they will be getting much larger homes in the not-too-distant future.

Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals

It’s the third year of Black Restaurant Week sponsored by the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals. Its President, Mark Glasgow, is hoping the event will draw people from all across Buffalo to experience what the African American community has to offer.

Happy 200th Birthday to the woman who dared

Feb 16, 2020
Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

Three years before Susan B. Anthony and a small group of women cast their ballots for president in Rochester in 1872 in an audacious act of defiance that jump-started the women’s suffrage movement, she addressed a gathering in Detroit on the cause.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! coming to Buffalo in April

Feb 15, 2020
NPR

NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is making its first-ever stop in Buffalo for a live taping of the show Thursday, April 30, at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre.

Matthew Murphy

Mary Magdalene along with Jesus, Judas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod et. al. sing in the 50th anniversary tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Shea's, while Josie DiVincenzo plays 40 different roles in the one-woman WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW about late-in-life pregnancy at Jewish Repertory. And two singers, one glorious, Alberta Hunter, is portrayed by Zoe Scruggs and Ember Tate in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY at MusicalFare, while the worse singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins, is portrayed by Mary Kate O'Connell at her new theater in Kenmore.

hhcinstitute.org

Donations are coming in for the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York’s proposed cultural institute on Buffalo’s West Side.

Twitter

A new romantic comedy from Universal Pictures is scheduled to begin filming in the Buffalo area in April.

Smaller arts and cultural organizations in Erie County will now have an easier pathway to apply for funding.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Across the world, movie fans and moviegoers watched Sunday's Academy Awards to see who the movie industry saw as the best of the best. Film and TV students gathered in Buffalo State College's Student Union for the college's 13th "Night at the Oscars."

At The Oscars, 'Parasite' Makes Best Picture History

Feb 10, 2020

At Sunday's Oscars, on a night when almost everything went as planned and as usual, the one true surprise came in the biggest moment of all.

Jay Moran/WBFO

Alexis Oltmer recalls how her current exhibition at CEPA Gallery originated three years ago on a visit to Emerald Beach on Lake Erie. "I started to notice tiny, little  (plastic) particles that were every single color in the rainbow. I was just really overwhelmed by them," Oltmer recalled. "When I got home I felt really bad about the fact that I hadn't done anything about that." For Oltmer, it's been angst turned into art.


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