Arts/Culture

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.


At the Polish Falcons Hall in Depew, N.Y., one recent Saturday night, five women sat in the center of the crowd mulling the prizes on offer: pork tenderloin, top round roast, Italian sausage. Handcrafted meat-shaped dog chew toys dangled from colorful beads around their necks. Asked what they wanted to win, they exclaimed in unison, "everything!" as they eagerly waved plastic clappers and squeezed squeaking chew toys.

National Comedy Center

Officials at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown have big smiles on their faces, as they look over attendance figures for their first year.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Ceremonial shovels were placed in dirt by no fewer than 20 dignitaries, formally launching an ambitious project to expand the Albright-Knox Art Gallery by 30,000 square feet. The Buffalo native who offered tens of millions of his own dollars to fuel further fundraising was back in town to announce he's putting in even more, to pay tribute to the man who got the gallery's original 1905 building erected.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

After a third straight year of selling out Babeville, the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation reenactment of “The Last Waltz” featuring talent from the Buffalo area is becoming a local Thanksgiving tradition. The 1978 Martin Scorsese documentary has become known as one of the greatest documentary concert films ever made. Robert McLennan, President of the Board of Directors of the Americana Music Foundation, sat down with WBFO’s Nick Lippa to talk about how it’s all come together over the years.

K.E.G. courtesy of The Paul Robeson Theatre

The August Wilson "century play" about Pittsburgh's Hill District in the 1960s opened at the Paul Robeson Theater, three and a half hours of delicious Wilson monologues, directed by Wilson devotee Ed Harris. On and off Broadway, Anthony took in several plays, including the controversial SLAVE PLAY by Jeremy O. Harris and Will Eno's THE UNDERLYING CHRIS starring Buffalo expat (and Bills fan) Lizbeth Mackay.

Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation has awarded $400,000 to PUSH Buffalo to advance community development through arts and culture. The grant is part of a three-year, $8-million-dollar national program by the foundation to integrate Creative Placemaking into community organizations and, in turn, neighborhoods.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

PTSD. Eating disorders. Depression. Inclusive Theater of Western New York is tackling the stigma around serious issues at their second annual festival of shorts. WBFO’s Nick Lippa spoke with some of the actors, some of whom who also wrote the shorts, about what audiences can expect from their performances this weekend.

Gina Gandolfo 2019

Before all the "Christmas" shows begin, fine productions abound right now, including TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at The Kavinoky and TWO TRAINS RUNNING at the Paul Robeson, as well as Mark Humphrey's THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, THE BOYS UPSTAIRS at BUA, OH MY GOD at JRT, THE INTERROGATION ROOM at RLTP, and with an extra show Saturday at 2 added by popular demand, SHE KILLS MONSTERS at Subversive (see listings below).

Buffalo to host film industry conference

Nov 11, 2019
Chris Caya/WBFO News

Film commissioners and screen industry experts from around the world will be in the Buffalo Niagara region next year.

LGBTQ History Project displays at Karpeles

Nov 11, 2019
Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project

The Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project unveiled its "Gay Liberation NOW!" exhibition at Karpeles Museum Sunday. It culminates the History Project's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the founding of Buffalo's first gay rights organization.

Buffalo Niagara Concert Band

The Buffalo Niagara Concert Band is holding a collaborative concert with the Buffalo’s Gay Men’s Chorus tonight to benefit Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York. Val Czamara, vice president of the band and tuba player, spoke with WBFO’s Nick Lippa on the group’s progression and how this event came together.

Stephen Gabris, courtesy of Kavinoky Theatre

Once again, Drew Fornarola's "Starring Buffalo" assembled local stars (including Dudney Joseph, Jr. as "the plant"), Broadway stars, and students from Newfane, Fredonia, and Lockport, this time at Shea's 710, for LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Subversive Theatre's SHE KILLS MONSTERS continues with rave reviews. Expectations are high for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD  opening at the Kavinoky.

The National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum inducted some longtime favorites during a ceremony Thursday.

The class of 2019 includes the collectible card game Magic the Gathering, Matchbox cars, and the coloring book.

Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections for the Strong, said the newest honorees were chosen from a group of finalists that included My Little Pony, Jenga, Nerf Blaster, Masters of the Universe, Care Bears, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, the top, the game Risk, and the smartphone.

Mark Duggan, courtesy of Second Generation Theatre

Buffalo's "Theater District" on Main is hoppin', from Tupper (Shea's 710 Theatre with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS this weekend and ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT'S END starting Tuesday) to The Alleyway (where BUA opens THE BOYS UPSTAIRS) to Shea's Smith Theater (SGT's THE TOXIC AVENGER) and down the next block to 456 Main where Road Less Traveled opens INTERROGATION ROOM.

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