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Theater Talk (30th annual broadcast today!): MY FAIR LADY at Shea's is a lush musical experience

MY FAIR LADY interior scene of Henry Higgins' house.jpg
Joan Marcus
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MY FAIR LADY at Shea's features stunning sets by Michael Yeargan

This Friday, March 4, 2022 marks the 30th Anniversary broadcast of Theater Talk on WBFO. The show was created by Anthony Chase (who also co-created the annual Artie Awards) and it has aired on WBFO exclusively since the first day with, for most of the early years, Buffalo radio legend Jim Santella as co-host. Congratulations Theater Talk.

The discussion this week centers on the latest North American touring musical to hit Shea's - Lerner & Loewe's MY FAIR LADY - directed by Bartlett Sher with stunning costumes by Catherine Zuber and sets by Michael Yeargen.

The ending is ambiguous. In the original 1913 play, PYGMALION, by G.B. Shaw, the cockney flower girl Eliza who has been trained by Professor Henry Higgins to "speak like a lady," walks out of his life (and the abusive relationship) at the end. HOwever, in the original 1956 Broadway musical MY FAIR LADY (based on the G.B. Shaw play) Eliza comes back, presumably to fit the romantic comedy mold (boy-meets-girl, problems ensue, boy-gets-girl-back). However, in line with 21st century audiences, Eliza does walk out, but then (to honor the original musical) she comes back although in this latest production only as a dream fantasy on the part of Higgins.

The THEATER LISTINGS below are accurate as of this Friday morning, February 25, but check with the venue frequently. Pro Tip: Visit the websites to buy tickets but check with Facebook as well which will often have the most up-to-the-minute information on cacellations and postponements.

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND:

MY FAIR LADY, musical by Lerner & Loewe, directed by Bartlett Sher, North American Tour, part of the Shea's Broadway Series, March 1 - 6, Tuesday - Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2 and 8, Sunday at 1 and 6:30. Shea's Buffalo Theatre, 646 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. (716-847-1410) sheas.org

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CONTINUING:

AMERICAN RHAPSODY presented by MusicalFare February 23 — March 27, 2022

Wed and Thu at 7pm, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 and 7:30, Sun at 2.MusicalFare Theatre is on the Daemen College campus, 4380 Main Street,

Amherst, NY 14226 (Pro Tip: enter from Getzville Road 0.3 miles north of Main Street.) musicalfare.com (716-839-8540)

AMERICAN RHAPSODY BLURB

What begins as a conversation between a white classical pianist and a black jazz pianist about interpreting George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE transforms through incredible music and exhilarating dance into a dynamic and inspiring exploration of the often ignored cultural and historical context that inspired Gershwin to create this seminal work.

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BUFFALO QUICKIES #31, all-new, all-comedy festival of short plays for 2022, starring Joey Bucheker, Rchel Diana Henderson, Kate Olena, Colleen Pine, Matt Rittler, and Michael Starzynski, presented by the Alleyway Theatre, Feb 24 - Mar 19 (NOTE NEW DATES!) Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, at One Curtain Up Alley (between Pearl and Main along the back wall of Shea's) Buffalo NY 14202 alleyway.com (716-852-2600)

BUFFALO QUICKIES BLURB: Another year (31st annual year!) of brand-new short plays comes to Alleyway! This festival features premiere works from some of today’s best new playwrights both in WNY and around the country. Featuring the world premiere of SEVENTEEN: THE (UNOFFICIAL) JOSH ALLEN MUSICAL.

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MARCH OPENINGS (in alphabetical order):

CONSTELLATIONS, a play by Nick Payne, directed by Michael Wachowiak, starring Chris Avery and Kristin Bentley, presented by Second Generation Theatre at Shea's Smith Theatre, March 11-26, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 2. (90 minutes no intermission) secondgenerationtheatre.com

CONSTELLATIONS BLURB: A man, a woman, one relationship, and infinite possibilities. Playwright Nick Payne examines a million versions of “what it?” in this breathtaking two-person play. At once romantic and scientific, CONSTELLATIONS takes us on an intriguing ride through the multiverse.

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MACBETH by William Shakespeare, directed by Jonathan Seinen, (starring Anthony Chase as King Duncan!), presented by The Buffalo State Theater Department and Casting Hall Productions, March 10-12, 17 and 18 at 8:00 pm and March 19 at 2pm all performances in the Warren Enters Theatre in Upton Hall. Visit theater.buffalostate.edu or call 716-878-3005.

MACBETH BLURB (courtesy of Shakespeare.org): Three witches tell the Scottish general Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, Duncan, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia. Civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in more death.

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MY LEFT BREAST, by Susan Miller, directed by Heather Fangsrud, featuring Lara D. Haberberger, presented by Brazen Faced Varlets March 18 - April 2, at the Alleyway's Cabaret Theater - 1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo, NY - entrance off of Main Street, varlets.org, (716-598-1585)

MY LEFT BREAST BLURB: "I am a one-breasted, menopausal, Jewish, bisexual lesbian Mom, and I'm coming soon to a theatre near you!" A woman's humorous and moving encounters with relationships, parenthood, cancer, and her ever-changing self are charted in this searingly honest solo piece.

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PRIDE & PREJUDICE, a play Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen, directed by Kristen Tripp Kelley presented by the D'Youville Kavinoky Theater, March 4th, 2022 - March 27th, 2022. Thursday - Friday 7:30, Saturday 3:30 and 7:30, Sunday 2:00. The Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. Buffalo, NY 14201 (716-829-7668) kavinokythatre.com

PRIDE & PREJUDICE BLURB: "This isn’t your grandmother’s Austen! Bold, surprising, boisterous and timely, this P&P for a new era explores the absurdities and thrills of finding your perfect (or imperfect) match in life."

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THE CHILDREN, a play by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring Eileen Dugan, Josephine Hogan, and Peter Palmisano, presented by Red Thread Theatre, on stage at the New Phoenix Theatre, March 4 - 26, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm (Thursdays are "pay what you can"). The New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park, Buffalo, NY 14201 newphoenixtheatre.org 716-853-1334 email to newphnxtheatre@aol.com

THE CHILDREN BLURB: The play (inspired by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear explosion in Japan) finds married couple Hazel and Robin, two retired nuclear physicists, living in a remote cottage on the coast of Britain. As the world outside deals with a major nuclear power station disaster, the couple is visited by Rose, also a nuclear physicist.

The event that served as the inspiration for the play was the 2011 Fukushima nuclear explosion in Japan.[1]

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TRIBES, a play by Nina Raine, directed by Doug Zschiegner, starring David Marciniak, Margaret Massman, Anna Krempholtz, Johnny Barden, Dave Wantuck and Melinda Capeles. NEW DATES Mar 3 - Mar 27, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2. Road Less Traveled Productions, 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202 In partnership with Deaf Access Services, RLTP will also offer 2 ASL performances: Friday March 4 at 7:30pm & Sunday March 27 at 2:00pm.

(716-629-3069) roadlesstraveledproductions.org CONTENT ADVISORY:

Tribes contains explicit language and profanity. Students under 17 not permitted. Proof of vaccination and masks required upon entry.

TRIBES BLURB: Billy is the only Deaf member of a loving yet dysfunctional family who raised him as part of the hearing world. When Billy meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, he finally starts to learn what it means to be heard. With insight, humor, and an eclectic cast of characters, the award-winning Tribes questions how we define community, family, and belonging.

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FALL FROM THE GRACE OF GOD, a One-Act Showcase of plays by Jennifer Tromble, Mark C. LLoyd, TJ Snodgrass, Monish Bhattacharyya, Tim Joyce, Justin Karcher, Karen McDonald, Matthew LaChiusa, John F Kennedy and James A. Marzo, all based on the music of the Celtic/Punk band The Pogues, March 10 to April 2. Thursday-Friday 8:00, Saturday 5:00. Presented by American Repertory Theatre, at the Compass Performing Arts Center (the old TheatreLoft) 545 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14222. artofwny.org 716-697-0837

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STEW, drama by Zora Howard, directed by Curtis Lovell, presented by Ujima, 429 Plymouth Avenue in Buffalo, March 11-27. Friday- Saturday at 7:30, Sun at 4pm, (716-281-0092) ujimacoinc.org email to boxoffice@ujimacoinc.org

STEW BLURB: ‘Stew’ takes deeper emotions off the back burner! The kitchen is where the characters reveal their bickering-but-loving true selves in this 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist! In Zora Howard’s compelling comedy drama, STEW, three generations of Black women banter and bicker as they prepare for a feast.

Mama is up early to prepare an important meal and even with her family on hand to help, time is running short. Tensions simmer with three generations of Tucker women under one roof, but things come to a boil as the violence hovering around the periphery of their lives begins to intrude upon the sanctity of Mama’s kitchen.

Mama (Ember Tate) is matriarch and benevolent dictator rolled into one, and her rules must be followed by those who share her domain. They include her two daughters: 17-year-old Nelly (Ember Tate) and Lillian (Jacquie Cherry), who is in her 30s and appears to have moved back, if only temporarily, with her tween daughter, Lil’ Mama (Millie-Rae Rodriguez-Spencer), and her son, Junior (who remains unseen, like all the men in the characters’ lives).

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WORKING, The Musical, based on Studs Terkel's best-selling book of interviews with American workers, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg and songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, and Stephen Schwartz, directed by Neil Radice, presented by O'Connell & Company, March 25th-April 10th Fridays-Saturdays at 8:00, Sundays at 2:00 on their main stage 3200 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217 (716-848-0800) oconnellandcompany.com/

WORKING BLURB: "Working explores what makes our work meaningful across all walks of life. Whether it be in an office, a restaurant, your home, or you’ve retired, this musical reminds us to celebrate not only what we do, but how we do it. "

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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