Arts/Culture

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.

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


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