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Theater Talk: AMERICAN SON opens new season at Ujima Theater with intense family drama

AMERICAN SON at Ujima, Aaron Mays, Director,.jpg
Chicago's Aaron Mays came to Ujima to direct AMERICAN SON, on stage through October 31

For an intense, 100-minute, no intermission, four person drama set in a police station, visit the newly named "Lorna C. Hill" theatre, named after the founder of Ujima Theatre, for AMERICAN SON, by Christopher Demos-Brown, directed by Aaron Mays, which runs through Sunday afternoon, October 31. The play opens with an African-American mother (played by Tanika Holmes) who is frantic that her 18 year old son, Jamal, hasn't come home that evening and isn't answering his cell phone. The rookie officer at the desk (Mike Benoit) offers donuts but little in the way of information, putting her off until "the Lieutenant" arrives, but he's not sure exactly when that will be. At some point, her estranged husband (Christopher Guilmet), who is white, arrives, and it's gloves-off-knives-out. Finally, the Lieutenant (Tuhran Gethers) does arrive, adding a whole new level to the drama.

Playbill.com had several good pieces during Hispanic Heritage Month. Representation by Hispanics in the theater is addressed in a beautifully produced but hard hitting short titled Despierté ("Wake Up") which is worth a look. https://www.playbill.com/article/latino-and-hispanic-theatre-artists-call-for-representation-in-the-psa-despiertate

The 30th annual Artie Awards, presented by Buffalo Toronto Public Media, are making their long awaited return on Monday, November 1, at the Kavinoky Theatre. Hosted by D'Youville College, the awards ceremony will celebrate the performances of the theater community's 2019 - 2020 season. The event will also be an opportunity to raise money for the HIV/AIDS and Immunodeficiency Clinic at ECMC. Tickets to the in-person event in the Kavinoky are restricted to nominees through today. However, in-person tickets will go on sale to the public Saturday, Oct. 23 at 10 am. Tickets to stream the event are on sale now. Visit https://www.wned.org/community/screenings-and-events/artie-awards/ Doors (and the bar) will open at 6:30, the bar will close for the actual show beginning at 8:00, and then will open back up following until midnight. In-person tickets are $25, live-streaming tickets are $10.

CONTINUING:

AMERICAN SON presented by Ujima Theatre Collective in the "Lorna C. Hill" Theatre" through October 31 at 429 Plymouth in Buffalo. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 4. (716) 322-5178 (ujima.squarespace.com/shows/americanson)

CHORUS LINE presented by O'Connell & Co. through October 31 at 3200 Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore 716-848-0800 (oconnellandcompany.com/)

PHOTOGRAPH 51 presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre through November 14) in the Jewish Community Center in Getzville. (716) 688-4033 (jccbuffalo.org/jrt/)

TRIBUTE continues at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre through December 18 in the back of Bobby J's American Grill 204 Como Park Blvd Cheektowaga featuring Gregory Gjurich, Zachery Gammel, Lisa Hinca, Jennifer Starr, Lisa Ludwig, Robert Insana, and Marie Costa. Shows run most Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (& some Wednesdays). (http://www.mybobbyjs.com/desiderio-s-dinner-theatre) Reservations by telephone only (716) 395-3207 Evening: 6pm Dinner, 7:30pm Show Matinee: 1pm Dinner, 2:30pm Show

OCTOBER OPENINGS (listed by date)

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD presented by Second Generation Theatre (October 22 - November 14) at Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main St, Buffalo. (secondgenerationtheatre.com) (No performances November 4 - 7)

REMNANTS presented by Torn Space (October 22 - November 13) is an interactive, multi-media installation to be explored in groups of six. Ticketed timeslots for 7, 7:30, 8, and 8:30 on Fridays and Saturdays. tornspacetheater.com or ovationtix.com

LOOPED presented by New Phoenix Theatre (October 28 to November 20) 95 Johnson Park, Buffalo 716-853-1334 newphnxtheatre@aol.com)

with James Cichocki and Elliot Fox and Julie Kittsley as Tallulah Bankhead.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME presented by "All for One" Productions at Shea's 710 Theatre (October 28 - November 14) (sheas.org/performances/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-nighttime/)

SOMETHING WICKED presented by American Repertory Theatre (October 28 - November 20) 545 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. (artofwny.org) (716) 697-0837

WOMAN IN BLACK presented by the Kavinoky Theatre (October 29 - November 21) on the D'Youville College campus in Buffalo, 320 Porter Avenue (716) 829-7668 (Kavinokytheatre.com)

NOVEMBER OPENINGS (listed by date)

THE BAND'S VISIT (November 2 - 7) at Shea's Buffalo Theater

GOLDEN GIRLS LOST EPISODES: VOLUME 2 at the Alleyway Theatre November 4 - 21 alleyway.com

HAND TO GOD presented by Road Less Traveled Productions (November 4 - December 5). This is the same production from before the pandemic shutdown with one cast member change.

CLOSINGS

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT presented by the Brazen Faced Varlets (October 8 - 23) at the Alleyway Main Theatre. (varlets.org/)

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:45 and 8:45 during Morning Edition.
Even though "semi-retired," Peter Hall continues to wear many hats. He is the Sunday afternoon host on WBFO’s “sister station,” Classical 94.5 / WNED where he has produced over 1,000 radio interviews with musical artists. If you see him at a theater with a pen in his hand, he’s probably getting ready to co-host “Theater Talk” with Anthony Chase (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO) or to write a review for www.buffalorising.com. He is also a member of the "Artie Awards" committee (think “Tony Awards for Buffalo theaters”).
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