BUA

Toronto born Deborah Cox has a voice and personality big enough to fill Shea's Performing Arts Center, which you can enjoy starting next Tuesday in THE BODYGUARD. Meanwhile, over at the very tiny (18 seat?) Rust Belt Books performing space, three women with personality - Jeni Arroyo, Caroline Parzy-Sanders, and Stefanie Warnick - present a different view of Shakespeare's play OTHELLO.

BUA

In Shakespeare's OTHELLO Desdemona is the frail victim of false accusation, but Pulitzer Prize winning Paula Vogel puts her in charge, sleeping with the Othello's entire encampment, in DESDEMONA: A Play About a Handkerchief which Brazen Faced Varlets opened at Rust Belt Books.

On this week's Theater Talk, Anthony discusses the difficulties with mounting a review such as SOPHISTICATED LADIES now at MusicalFare, Peter shares a moment while watching Eric Rawski and Caitlin Coleman in STEVE, and both agree on Theater of Youth's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER.

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Anthony reports that despite stunning production elements, the plot of FRANKENSTEIN dragged a little (often a problem when the playwright and the director are the same person), but there is one gotcha! moment you won't want to miss and everyone agrees that Steve Copps as "the monster" is definitely worth seeing. Theatre of Youth opens THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER at the Allentown tomorrow at 2 pm. and it's up through March 5. STEVE, all about middle aged gay men, features a number of Buffalo's middle aged gay actors and there are many funny moments. And MARIELA IN THE DESERT delivers on many levels, with a well crafted play, clever staging, an ending that is a surprise, starring the talented Victoria Perez in the title role and great scene stealing moments from Melinda Capeles Rowe as Mariela's maiden sister-in-law.

This week Peter and Anthony discuss a recent social media flap over HAMILTON, the uses of theater as a political weapon, the opening of BUFFALO PINOCCHIO set in a dystopian Buffalo of the future at the New Phoenix Theatre, two runs of the ballet THE NUTCRACKER, this weekend at Shea's Performing Arts Center (Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.) and next weekend at UB Center for the Arts, and, for Shakespeare fans (sort of) A MIDSUMMER DYKE'S CHRISTMAS (in celebration of the 400 years since Shakespeare and the 10th anniversary of the lesbian troupe Brazen-Faced Varlets) has all sorts of funny references.

This week's Theater Talk conversation starts with GIVE 'EM HELL, HARRY (originated by Buffalo's own James Whitmore) these days starring David Lundy at the New Phoenix Theatre, but only through October 29. Meanwhile, CHRISTMAS IN JULY at the Alleyway concerns a group of gay men who meet at a summer resort and become fast friends. The playwright, Matthew Crehan Higgins, is director of Buffalo's Pride Center, and the cast is all gay, but interestingly, the director is not, it's Lisa Ludwig, and Anthony has some thoughts on why that is. And there's also a story or two about Sophie Tucker, the last of the "red hot mamas" whose career is, basically, a history of 20th century entertainment, from an Edison wax cylinder through vaudeville to television.

Richard Lambert

What is a dramatic comedy? Well, it's a drama that tackles serious issues, but has a healthy dose of laughs to keep things moving along. LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART deals with social isolation, suicide, and AIDS, but, there ARE laughs, in a fine production with a stunning set by 2016 Artie Award winning Paul Bostaph. Meanwhile, Ujima Theatre and Buffalo United Artists collaborate on a story of a white playwright pretending to be black in THE SUBMISSION. And the Irish Classical Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, about a gigolo/drifter in the company of a faded movie star attempting to win back the love of his youth. DEAR LYDIA, at the Alleyway, a new play about a house-bound advice columnist, is also mentioned this week.

Michael Murphy of the highly regarded Old Globe Theatre in San Diego has been chosen as successor to Anthony Conte, president of Shea's Performing Arts Center (and the Smith Theatre and Shea's 710 Main). 

Up at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, the delish serving of revenge in meat pies that is Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET was fulfilling to a bit-too-ecstatic opening night crowd. Meanwhile, Chicago's Goodman Theatre is trying out WAR PAINT, a new musical starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole as cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. The back and forth sparring will get tightened up, says Anthony, and in the meantime the music is Broadway worthy.

MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS packs a lot of drama into 90 minutes at the Shaw Festival's Courthouse Theatre in a play, set in the 1950s, that looks at many issues, including apartheid.  Classically trained but a "behind the scenes" Hollywood star, Marni Nixon, who sang for stars who couldn't, passed away this week. And the Buffalo Infringement Festival 2016 has too many offerings to list, so you'd be wise to visit the website.

This week we have three openings to celebrate! Tonight, it's THE PROFANE, a play by Zayd Dohrn, presented by Chautauqua Theater Company, directed by Vivienne Benesch.

Two very intense 90 minute no-intermission dramas are gripping audiences this week, one at the Alleyway and one at Jewish Rep.

fun4kidsinbuffalo.com

As Halloween approaches, Theatre of Youth presents THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW where all the kids in the audience want to know "is there anybody in the coffin?"

Photo by Emily Cooper

The Shaw Festival presents a thinking person's play with possibly too much to think about at once, and many in Buffalo are thinking about Curtain Up, the annual celebration of the start of the theater season.

www.post-journal.com (Jamestown, NY)

With Curtain Up! only five weeks away we still have several openings, some closings, and one play held over by popular demand.

This week Peter and Anthony talk about the great number of theater locales with August events, from Jamestown and Chautauqua in the south, to Artpark, Musicalfare, and The Shaw Festival in the north, to the BUA, Subversive Theatre, and Shakespeare in Delaware Park right here in Buffalo.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Crossdressing newbies Jordan Louis Fisher as Viola and Tim Newell as Olivia in Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT and BUA experienced drag actors Christopher Standart and Jimmy Janowski (who, by the way, has great legs) as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in BETTE AND JOAN: THE FINAL CURTAIN spice up new productions and keep summer audiences engaged.

Peter and Anthony went to see SISTERS OF SWING: THE ANDREWS SISTERS MUSICAL starring Wendy Hall, Michele Marie Roberts, and Renee Landrigan as Laverne, “Maxene,” and “Patty” Andrews (contralto, soprano, and mezzo). Peter was impressed with Landrigan’s ability to stay right on the knife edge balancing schmaltz with cool, channeling her inner Bing Crosby. Neat trick. Philip Farugia plays their manager, Vic Schoen, and serves as the music director of a very tight backup combo while Nicholas Lama is cast as “Everyone Else” (Danny Kaye, Carmen Miranda, cab driver, etc.). You may have seen it several years ago, but this is a new cast and in a little over two hours you get 24 high energy songs and solid performances from all, through August 9 at Musicalfare Theatre, 4380 Main Street in Amherst.

As the nomination period for the Tony Awards draws close, Anthony ventures to Broadway to take in the musical "On the 20th Century" with Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, "The Audience" with Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and "Disgraced" presenting the real lives of Disney princesses - and it's NOT for children (just those who once were).  Meanwhile, both stages at the Alleyway Theatre Complex are busy.

"Cinderella" has dropped a lot of the 1950s schmaltz and with a new script by Douglas Carter Beane (and a great pair of shoes) this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical brings a lot of  sassy adult humor to Shea's Performing Arts Center,  but only through this Sunday, December 7th.  Down the block, BUA presents "Santa Claus is Coming Out," a story where Santa decides that, despite expectations, it's always better to do the right thing.  And across Main Street, for a little more edgy seasonal humor, Mark Sacco brings David Sedaris' "The Santaland Diaries" to the stage at Road Less Traveled (sti

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" from the 1930s is not a "modern" play, but in style harkens back to Henrik Ibsen's realist dramas.  With a controversial topic, a rumor of lesbianism at a girl's school, Buffalo Public Theatre opens tonight at The New Phoenix Theatre on Johnson Park.

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Buffalo United Artists is coming back to the Theater District, moving into the Alleyway Theatre.

Theater Talk: Return of The Birds at BUA

Aug 9, 2013
WBFO News file photo

Friday in Buffalo means it's time for Theater Talk on WBFO. This week Anthony Chase discusses new shows ready to open and he shares feedback and insight from performances that have come to a close in Buffalo. 

Theater Talk's Jim Santella and Anthony Chase preview the Ujima Company's production of Breath, Boom, opening Friday.   The curtain also rises on BUA's The Normal Heart.