WBFO Arts & Culture Desk

WBFO's Arts & Culture Desk is funded by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

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”). 


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. 

  

WBFO news file

How do you safely open an art museum during a pandemic? For the Burchfield Penney who is opening their doors for the first time in five months, it includes Plexiglass, hand sanitizer stations and operating at only a quarter capacity.

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."


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.


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!


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Tourist attractions are now opening, after closing for 100 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Steven Hirsch / Associated Press

New York State's attorney general and lawyers in a class-action lawsuit say Harvey Weinstein and his former studio's board have reached a nearly $19 million settlement with dozens of sexual misconduct accusers.

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


Dudney Joseph on Instagram

The show can't go on (it's not just venue concerns, but rehearsals, tech, etc.), yet the fundraising must! Second Generation Theatre has elected to damn the coronavirus and go full speed ahead with a virtual version of  "Page to Stage: Miscast" in which some of Buffalo's most talented performers tackle material that is entirely inappropriate for them, online on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7 p.m. For online entertainment, Broadway Black's inaugural Antonyo Awards airs tonight, June 19, at 7 p.m.

Monique Carboni in Playbill.com

June is Pride Month and while COVID-19 may have curtailed the parade, Playbill.com/PridePlays announces a performance of Donja R. Love's "one in two" (about being HIV Positive, Black, and Queer) tonight at 7pm. Watch, then vote before midnight for the first ever "Antonyo Awards" (the "just for fun" presentations will be on Juneteenth) which promise to be "hilarious, uplifting, and unapoligetically black." Then read "We See You, White American Theater."


Facebook

As the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to affect all in Western New York, the news regarding flattening of the curve, the number of hospitalizations and fatalities has been hopeful and given us reason to be cautiously optimistic. That optimism extends to the film industry in Western New York, as Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark explains to WBFO’s Pat Feldballe.

Sara Kurlwich in The New York Times

Playwright (THE NORMAL HEART), novelist, in-your-face AIDS activist Larry Kramer, described as "one of America's most valuable troublemakers" passed away last week. During the 1980s he criticized Ronald Reagan, Dr. Anthony Fauci (they later became friends), as well as gay culture and behavior. He was a major influence on Tony Kushner to write ANGELS IN AMERICA. In other AIDS related news


Shakespeare in Delaware Park Facebook page

Shakespeare in Delaware Park announced the cancellation of its entire summer season.  Online is where the action is and SIDP has one of the busiest Facebook pages. Visit here for their 30th anniversary online celebration (CHANGED TO Saturday 5/30) and Road Less Traveled to hear a podcast with Anthony and Peter Palmisano. Tonight (Friday) you can go to BroadwayCares.org/Chita at 8pm to see some legendary performers.


Alleyway.com

"Changing... it keeps changing" wrote Sondheim and it's now official. Neal Radice and his wife Joyce Stilson have handed over the venerable 40 year old Alleyway Theatre (over 150 productions to date not including 29 years of "Buffalo Quickies") to the next generation although "Buffalo Quickies" continue live on YouTube for the next two Sunday mornings at 11am.  We also note the passing of Joey Giambra and Lori McDonald, two longtime Buffalo theater notables. 


Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The Artie Awards (Buffalo's version of Broadway's Tony Awards) are important in recognizing outstanding work, but if theater people are anything, they are are people who need people. Yet, because of schedules the WNED|WBFO Artie Awards is the one night of the year when everybody can party. And if they can't kiss-kiss, hug-hug, squeeze one more into a selfie, then we'll wait until they can! 


Broadway's theaters will continue to be dark through at least Sept. 6, the Broadway League announced on Tuesday.

Marc J. Franklin in Playbill.com

And the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for drama goes to.... a musical! (the 10th in Pulitzer history) A STRANGE LOOP, by  Michael R. Jackson, about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about a black, queer writer working as an usher writing a musical about (see above). While most spring and summer theater workshops and programs remain cancelled, a rich resource for parents is Playbill.com's "Online Resources for kids and families to get you through COVID-19" including Disney and Lincoln Center activities.


Broadwayworld.com

Last week Shakespeare in Delaware Park's first show was cancelled then Antoni Cimolino cancelled the entire Stratford (Shakespeare) Festival. Shawfest is rehearsing via Zoom and may have some shows later in the summer. The good news is that suddenly major Chita Rivera level stars are available to collaborate online, for example at Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday tribute ("The Ladies Who Lunch" from COMPANY begins at 1:58:34.)  The 12th annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals will be held online May 2–3. 

Dawne Hoeg

With Western New York still in the grasp of the coronavirus pandemic, a newly-resettled refugee family is getting into the spirit of the City of Good Neighbors. For Buffalo Toronto Public Media’s Making Buffalo Home initiative, WBFO’s Kyle Mackie reports on how an Afghan couple sparked a business venture that’s making face masks and generating income for refugee women.


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