Theatre Talk: Broadway and more

Dec 23, 2011
File Photo / WBFO News

Theatre Critics Jim Santella and Anthony Chase take a trip to Broadway.  They also note the closing night of the acclaimed production of "Peter Pan" at the New Phoenix Theatre. 

Historic V for Victory from Kleinhan's Music Hall

Dec 23, 2011
File Photo / WBFO News

Music has  the power to touch the heart, to move you, to make memories that can last a lifetime. Nobody knows that better than Gene Setel of Buffalo. As a teenager, he was an usher at Kleinhans Music Hall. That was a long time ago. He started at age 12, but he was 16 when he ushered for a concert event that he will never forget.  “Never seen anything like that night,” he says. “It was just overwhelming


It was may eighth, 1945. Hitler was dead. The Japanese had yet to surrender. But it was the beginning of the end of the Second World War. British Prime Minister Winston

Catholic meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

Dec 22, 2011
Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

Holiday music is practically inescapable and many songs commercialize the true meaning of Christmas.  

But one song  was actually written in England in 1780 as a catechism lesson to teach young Catholics about their faith.

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talks with Father Czeslaw Krysa, director of Worship for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and rector of St. Casimir's Oratory.  He takes us through what Roman Catholics believe are the origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

 The leader of MusicalFare Theatre is looking forward to the leadership change in County government. The 2012 county budget has restored much of the arts and cultural funding previously cut by outgoing County Executive Chris Collins. County executive-elect Mark Poloncarz, in addition to being open-minded to arts funding, has also included a member of the theatre community on his transition team.

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked to MusicalFare's artistic and executive director Randal Krammer at the theatre's recent "Unsilent Night" holiday fundraiser.

Photos from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY. Photography by John Koegel

With the  holiday season in full swing, many of the area theatres are featuring Christmas performances. 
This week Jim Santella and Anthony Chase offer reviews of few of the special holiday shows, including It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play wrapping up this weekend at the The Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo. The Holiday Guys continues on stage at MusicalFare Theatre, starring Jeffry Denman and Marc Kudisch, and Eyewitness News weather man Mike Randall continues his holiday tradition as Charles Dickens Presents: A Christmas Carol.

O'Connell and Company Theatre performs Celtic Christmas

Dec 13, 2011
Photo from O'Connell and Company's Website

A local theatre company is featuring a holiday celebration --  Once Upon a Celtic Christmas -- continues at the O'Connell and Company Theatre at ECC's North Campus through this Sunday. 

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley met in studio with the theatre's artistic and executive director Mary Kate O'Connell.  She says her holiday performances are a blend of music, song, dance and stories mixed with Irish traditions.

You can find out more about the holiday performance at O'Connell and Company's Website at

Theatre Talk: Addams Family

Dec 12, 2011

WBFO'S Theatre Talk guys discuss the Addam's Family, a comedy musical now on stage at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo.

Check out Jim Santella and Anthony Chase as they chat about local theatre, exclusively on WBFO!

85 year old pianist releasing first album

Dec 8, 2011

At 85-years-old, pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop has been playing music locally nearly all of his life, but only now is he releasing his first album -- and the debut project is getting national attention. The idea for a cd came after a meeting between Dunlop and photographer Brendan Bannon, who was on assignment at the nursing facility where Dunlop lives. WBFO's Chris Jamele went to see Dunlop as well, to learn about the recording and the pianist's decades-long career. Though Dunlop's voice has weakened through the years, his music has grown only stronger. 

WBFO News file photo

The Erie County Legislature approved the 2012 County budget and it restores funding to many smaller cultural and arts agencies.

The spending plan restores more than $900,000 to smaller arts organizations, including area theatres, galleries and other cultural organizations.  Funding to those groups had been cut by outgoing Erie County Executive Chris Collins in favor of dedicating resources to what he had identified as 10 regionally significant organizations.  

Artwork filling some vacant Main Street windows

Nov 22, 2011
Photos by Erica L. Eichelkraut

For years --- vacant storefronts line the 500-block of Main Street leaving a section of downtown Buffalo looking abandoned.  But as WBFO'S Eileen Buckley reports,  thanks to a local artists -- things are looking a little brighter.

Musician Al Stewart's view from the bandstand

Nov 15, 2011

Musician-photographer Al Stewart played trumpet with Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and many other big-band greats, and documented his 60 years in show business with photos shot from his seat on the bandstand.  WBFO News contributor and WGRZ-TV senior correspondent Rich Kellman has the story.

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1956. © 2010 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is launching a new exhibition to celebrate a big anniversary.

The exhibition is called "The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting", and will feature works by dozens of artists dating back to the late 1800s, including some pieces that were deemed daring and controversial when first released.  

Gallery director Louis Grachos said the exhibition kicks off a landmark year for the history of the Gallery.

Musicalfare Theatre photo

WBFO's theatre critics, Jim Santella and Anthony Chase join us each Friday morning for a rundown of area theatre. 

This week they begin with a chat about A Class Act on stage at Musicalfare Theatre. 

A painting by Michelangelo, found in a town of Tonawanda home, is now restored and in Rome to be part of a prestigious exhibit of  High Renaissance art.   Martin Kober of Tonawanda is the local owner of the painting that he announced he had in his possession about a year ago.  

The Fondazione Roma, the Rome Foundation, brought the painting called The Pieta, to Rome and funded its restoration over the last six months.  The Foundation is one of Rome's leading philanthropic and cultural institutions.  

"Vivien: The Triumph and madness of Vivien Leigh"

Oct 21, 2011
New Phoenix Theatre photo

A one-woman show is now on stage at the New Phoenix Theatre in Buffalo.  It is about the story of legendary and award-winning actress Vivien Leigh,  best remembered as Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.   

Local actress, Josephine Hogan of the Red Thread Theatre, portrays Leigh in "Vivien:  The Triumph and madness of Vivien Leigh".   WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talks to Hogan and her director Darleen Pickering Hummert about the performance.  

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Among those visiting Buffalo with the National Trust conference is a New York City woman who's name is synonymous with National landmarks and preservation. Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel visited the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Darwin Martin House on Jewett Parkway in Buffalo Wednesday.

"A singular vision executed to perfection," said Diamonstein-Spielvogel

Diamonstein-Spielvogel is a New York City preservationist who has worked on urban issues over the last 40-years. She first visited the Martin House several years ago as restoration was just beginning.

 More than 2,000 people are expected to participate in this week's National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Buffalo.   While the formal opening ceremony takes place Wednesday, students at Buffalo's Waterfront Elementary School were busy Tuesday raising a scaled-down classic American structure, a barn.  Among those watching the barn raising was Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic preservation.

Neglia returns from star-like treatment in Argentina

Oct 17, 2011
Negali's facebook photo

Ballet dancer Sergio Neglia has returned from his native Argentina where he performed a tribute in honor of his late father at the Colon Theatre.

Neglia says he is re-energized as he prepares for this weekend's performance of Baba Yaga. Neglia was treated like a movie star as he danced before an audience who recalled his father's ballet career 40-years-ago.

"It was unbelievable. I mean it was incredible 3,500 people screaming the Neglia name again after 40-years. It was the most powerful thing I felt. I was shocked of all the power of the massive crowd," said Neglia.

Visit Buffalo Niagara launches Allentown video

Oct 10, 2011

Visit Buffalo Niagara continues moving forward with its "Buffalo.For Real TV" Webisode series.

As WBFO'S Eileen Buckley tells us, the agency released its latest video about Allentown First Fridays.

This latest video to promote area tourism features Buffalo musician Nelson Starr displaying an upbeat Allentown District.


Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony were away, so there is no Theater Talk this week.


Grant Golden reviews the Shaw Festival's "You Never Can Tell."

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – WBFO Theatre Critic Grant Golden reviews the Shaw Festival Theatre presentation of "You Never Can Tell," by George Bernard Shaw. Golden gives this production his highest rating, adding an "A" to his top rating of "KO," for an "A-KO." Click the "listen" icon to hear his review.

A discussion on the history of Gypsy, appearing on two area stages.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss the revivals of Gypsy, which is featured at two different area locales. Also, Tony recommends Vanessa Redgrave in Hecuba at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the guys remind you not to miss the Tony awards on Sunday.

Nominations for this year's "Artie Awards" are released.

Buffalo, NY – The nominations for this year's Buffalo's "Artie" Awards have been announced. The annual awards honor the best of Buffalo's theatre scene. Theatre Critics Jim Santella and Anthony Chase preview the list of potential award winners. Click the "listen" icon to hear this week's Theatre Talk

Jim and Tony agree, Chicago is their kind of musical.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony rave about Chicago...the Musical (with All That Jazz), at Shea's. Also, differing views of the same presentation of Crossing Delancey at the Jewish Repertory Theater, Jim's take on The Nerd, and a quick discussion on She Stoops to Conquer.

A Salamanca songwriter is feted in Buffalo.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss why songwriter and Salamanca native Ray Evans was in town this week, and they tell us what songs he's famous for. Also, Jim offers a review of Flora the Red Menace, and the guys also talk about The Nerd, She Stoops to Conquer, and Kilt.

Jim and Tony talk about community and college productions.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss a couple of smaller presentations in the region, including Flora the Red Menace at Niagara University, and the South Buffalo Theater production of Hot L Baltimore. Also, they run down a list of several other local theater productions.

Jim and Tony review That '70s Revue.

Buffalo, NY – Jim explains that he enjoyed That '70s Revue at the MusicalFare Theatre... at least half of it. Also, Tony discusses Two To the Head by The Road Less Traveled Productions at the New Phoenix Theatre.

Jim and Tony talk about local authoring talent featured on stage.

Buffalo, NY – The spotlight is on two local playwrights this week. Sharon Eberhardt is the author of Becca and Heidi at the Alleyway Theatre and Gary Earl Ross, occasional commentator on WBFO, has penned the TheaterLoft presentation A Matter of Intent.

Jim and Tony review A... My Name is Alice at Buffalo United Artists.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss A... My Name is Alice, playing at Buffalo United Artists. It's the same play that the group debuted with in 1992.

Reviews of Quartet and Listen to My Heart

Buffalo, NY – Jim didn't get to the opera, but he did see Quartet at the Studio Arena, while Tony discusses the O'Connell and Company presentation of Listen to My Heart. Also, a look at The Miracle Worker at Theater of Youth, and a summary of area openings and closings.