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Theater Talk: MARGARITAVILLE at Shea's, LOOPED at New Phoenix, RENT at Shea's 710 and, one night only, Emily Yancey stars in the opera SUSANNAH on WNED-TV

SUSANNAH, opera by Carlisle Floyd, on WNED PBS Monday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m., stars Emily Yancey.
Eileen Elibol
/
WNED PBS
Emily Yancey in the title role of SUSANNAH, an opera by Carlisle Floyd, on WNED PBS Monday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. streaming online at wned.org

On Theater Talk this week, Anthony and Peter found "MARGARITAVILLE" at Shea's to be a not-too-serious Jukebox musical based on 25 songs by Jimmy Buffett. Depending on the weather, wearing beach attire to the theater is totally acceptable here. Meanwhile, LOOPED at New Phoenix Theatre dramatizes an 8 hour recording session that should have taken just 8 minutes with the notoriously difficult and raunchy star of stage and screen, Tallulah Bankhead, in this play starring Julie Kittsley alongside recent Artie Award winner ("Outstanding Actor") James Cichocki. Founded in December 2017 by Drew Fornarola, "Starring Buffalo" was designed to make a Buffalo-Broadway connection and to provide top-quality musical theater locally. Tonight and tomorrow Starring Broadway brings RENT to Shea's 710 with a blend of up and coming Broadway stars and an A-Team of Buffalo talent. And, speaking of talent, one night only, Emily Yancey stars in the opera SUSANNAH on WNED-TV, Monday, November 22 at 9pm. It will also stream at wned.org. This is Yancey's third role with Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

SUSANNAH is an opera in two acts by the American composer Carlisle Floyd, characterized by Appalachian folk melodies, some Protestant hymns, and some traditional classical music. The story focuses on 18-year-old Susannah Polk, an innocent girl in Tennessee, who is targeted as a sinner by the Reverend Blitch, who himself has sinful thoughts. The opera premiered in 1999 at the Metropolitan Opera premiere with Renée Fleming singing the title role. Susannah is one of the most performed American operas, second to Porgy and Bess, and contains many feminist themes that had not been widely explored in popular culture at the time of the opera's writing.

CLOSINGS THIS WEEKEND INCLUDE:

Jimmy Buffett's ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE, national tour, at Shea's Performing Arts Center (Shea's Buffalo Theatre) November 16 - November 21, Tuesday -Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00, Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30. (Sheas.org).

GOLDEN GIRLS LOST EPISODES: VOLUME 2 at the Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley (next to Shea's) November 4 - 21 alleyway.com 716-852-2600 Thursday - Sunday 7:30, some Saturday and Sunday matinees have been added to accommodate sold-out nights.

LOOPED presented by New Phoenix Theatre (October 28 to November 20) 95 Johnson Park, Buffalo Thursday - Saturday at 8pm. 716-853-1334 (newphnxtheatre@aol.com) with James Cichocki and Elliot Fox and Julie Kittsley as Tallulah Bankhead. Thursdays are pay what you can.

RENT, the musical, presented by Starring Buffalo at Shea's 710 Theater, November 19 - 21, Friday - Saturday 7:30pm, Saturday 2pm (starringbuffalo.org) (sheas.org)

SOMETHING WICKED presented by American Repertory Theatre (October 28 - November 20) 545 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Thursday - Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 5pm (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)

CONTINUING:

ALL IS CALM presented by MusicalFare (November 10 - December 12) 4380 Main Street on the Daemen College Campus. Wednesday - Thursday 7pm, Friday 7:30, Saturday 3:30 and 7:30, Sunday 2pm. (No performance on Thanksgiving.) 716-839-8540 musicalfare.com

HAND TO GOD presented by Road Less Traveled Productions (November 4 - December 5). 456 Main Street, Buffalo. Thursday - Saturday 7:30 pm, Sunday 2pm. 716-629-3069. This is the same production from before the pandemic shutdown with one cast member change.

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

STILL TO COME OPENINGS IN NOVEMBER (listed by date)

THE HAUNTING OF HOOVERTON HOTEL, a new play by Joseph Spears, a free reading, directed by Doug Weyand, November 22, 2021 at 7pm, presented by Second Generation Theatre at Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. Buffalo

SUSANNAH, an American opera, by Carlisle Floyd, marks Emily Yancey's third role with Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Watch, Monday, November 22 at 9 pm, on WNED-PBS/Channel 17 or online stream via their website television.

Tchaikovsky's THE NUTCRACKER, a full length ballet, presented by Neglia Ballet Artists with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Saturday, November 27 at 7:00 pm and Sunday November 28 at 1:00 at Shea's Performing Arts Center. Visit Sheas.org. Note: open to children two years of age and over. Children under two will not be permitted into the theatre.

Handel's MESSIAH at OLV, Sunday, November 28⋅at 7:30 pm presented by The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus at Our Lady of Victory Basilica, 767 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, NY 14218. Tickets are not available through the BPO Box Office this year. Tickets can be purchased at bpchorus.org or by calling 716-980-5701. (See second performance at St. Mary's, Swormville, below)

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, national tour and part of the M&T Bank Broadway Series, November 30 - December 5 (Tuesday - Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00, Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30. Visit Sheas.org.

DECEMBER OPENINGS (listed by date):

ELF IN CONCERT, film with live orchestra, December 3. The Buffalo Philharmonic plays the musical score as you watch the original movie starring Will Farrell. Kleinhans Music Hall (716) 885-5000 bpo.org

MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION, play by Tom Dudzik, presented by Lancaster Opera House (December 3 - 19) Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30. (716) 683-1776 (lancasteropera.org) 21 Central Avenue Lancaster, NY 14086

MIRACLE IN LEVITTOWN, play by Michael Fanelli, presented by Subversive Theatre at The New Phoenix Theatre, (December 3 - 19) Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00. Note: This is NOT a Phoenix production and the start times are at 7:30 pm or 3:00. 95 Johnson Park, Buffalo, NY. Ticket information TBA.

SMART PEOPLE, presented by Ujima (December 3 - December 19) School 77, 429 Plymouth Avenue, Buffalo

THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS presented by O'Connell & Company (December 3 - December 19) on the Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons Mainstage, 3200 Elmwood Avenue, Tonawanda, NY 14217 ​"Based on the book by L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this musical chronicles the life of Claus (oconnellandcompany.com) (716-848-0800)

Handel’s MESSIAH (note Swormville venue!) presented by the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus at St. Mary's, December 5 at 2:30 pm at St. Mary’s Swormville, 6919 Transit Road, East Amherst, NY Tickets are not available through the BPO Box Office this year. Tickets can be purchased at bpchorus.org or by calling 716-980-5701.

VANESSA WILLIAMS Holiday Concert with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tuesday, December 7 at 7:30 pm Kleinhans Music Hall 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo (bpo.org) (716-885-5000) Television, film and Broadway's Vanessa Williams sings holiday favorites along with Broadway show tunes. An Emmy, Grammy, and Tony nominee with 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards, her “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas went platinum. Williams is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the LGBTQ+ community and minorities.

IN CASE YOU MISSED THE ARTIE AWARDS, HERE ARE THE "OUTSTANDING" WINNERS:

Finally, after after almost 18 months, the 30th Annual Artie Awards were announced on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 8 pm presented by Buffalo Toronto Public Media at The Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville College. Thank you to D'Youville College for the beautiful venue and assistance with the live streaming. For photos, visit here

https://www.wbfo.org/2021-11-02/artie-awards-celebrated-30th-anniversary-with-wny-theater-community

The Artie Awards began in 1991 and are held each year to celebrate Western New York's Theatre Community. To be eligible for an Artie, an artist must live and work in the Buffalo area, while a theater must produce work locally, primarily with local artists.

The event is an opportunity to recognize Western New York’s theater arts, as well as, raise funds for the HIV/AIDS & Immunodeficiency Clinic at ECMC. Over the years, through contributions from theatre audiences and proceeds from red ribbon sales, the Arties have raised over $500,000 for AIDS-related charities. For a detailed history of the Arties from 1990 to the present listing every winner in every category (Thank you Doug Weyand!) visit https://artieawards.webs.com/

HERE ARE THE 2020 WINNERS:

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

To Kill a Mockingbird, Kavinoky Theatre

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Passing Strange, Ujima Theatre Company

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE OF A PLAY

El Coqui Espectacular, Raíces Theatre Company

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE OF A MUSICAL

Fun Home, MusicalFare Theatre

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Susan Drozd, Fun Home, MusicalFare Theatre

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Victoria Perez, Kiss of the Spider Woman, New Phoenix Theatre

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY

Naila Ansari, Passing Strange, Ujima Theatre Company

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Ben Michael Moran, Nine, Second Generation Theatre

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY

James Cichocki, Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, Buffalo United Artists

Dan Urtz, Hand to God, Road Less Traveled Productions

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Zoe Scruggs, Cookin’ at the Cookery, MusicalFare Theatre

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Josie DiVincenzo, What I Thought I Knew, Jewish Repertory Theatre

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Jacob Albarella, Miss Nelson is Missing, Theatre of Youth

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Ricky Needham, The Boys Upstairs, Buffalo United Artists

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Jenn Stafford, The Toxic Avenger, Second Generation Theatre

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Shantinna Moore, To Kill a Mockingbird, Kavinoky Theatre

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURED ROLE

Lorenzo Shawn Parnell, Hairspray, Kavinoky Theatre

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

Dyan Burlingame, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, Road Less Traveled Productions

OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

Tom Makar, Sound Design/Score, The Tempest, Shakespeare in Delaware Park

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

Lindsay Salamone, The Toxic Avenger, Second Generation Theatre

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT

Neal Radice

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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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