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Theater Talk: CONSTELLATIONS and five other shows close this weekend as "MOCKINGBIRD" and four others open

CONSTELLATIONS Chris Avery and Kristin Bentley, close-up, Second Generation Theatre.jpg
Mark Duggan
/
Second Generation Theatre
CONSTELLATIONS, "a tour de force" closes its run this weekend

This weekend sees six local productions wrap up their runs: AMERICAN RHAPSODY, CONSTELLATIONS ("a tour de force" says Anthony), PRIDE & PREJUDICE, STEW, THE CHILDREN, and TRIBES (see listings below). And, just like that, there are five shows to take their place, including BERSERKER, HARPER LEE'S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, REMNANTS, STAGE KISS, and WORKING (see listings below).

The much anticipated HARPER LEE'S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Aaron Sorkin stars, among others, Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, Mary Badham (the original Scout in the 1932 movie) now playing Mrs. Dubose, and Jaqueline Williams as Calpurnia. The show has been teching in Buffalo and opens Sunday at Shea's.

The THEATER LISTINGS below are accurate as of this Friday morning, March 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 cancellations and postponements.

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CLOSINGS THIS WEEKEND, LAST CHANCE TO SEE:

AMERICAN RHAPSODY presented by MusicalFare, through 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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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, through March 26, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 8. (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. “The basic laws of physics don’t have a past and a present. Time is irrelevant at the level of atoms and molecules. It’s symmetrical. We have all the time we’ve always had.”

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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, through 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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STEW, a drama by Zora Howard, directed by Curtis Lovell, starring Karen Saxon, Jacquie Cherry, Ember Tate, and Millie-Rae Rodriguez Spencer, presented by Ujima Theatre Company, 429 Plymouth Avenue in Buffalo, runs through March 27. Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 4p, (716-281-0092) 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 (Karen Saxon) 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 other men in the characters’ lives).

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THE CHILDREN, a play by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring Eileen Dugan, Josephine Hogan, and Peter Palmisano, co-presented by both Red Thread Theatre and The New Phoenix Theatre, on stage at the New Phoenix Theatre, through March 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.

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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; through March 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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OPENINGS: (in alphabetical order):

BERSERKER, by Bruce Walsh (Mazumdar Award winner world premiere) irected by Robyn Lee Horn, starring Patrick Cameron, Kelly Copps, Haleigh Curr, and Sara Kow-Falcone, March 31 – April 23, 2022, presented by Alleyway Theatre, 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)

BERSERKER BLURB: In this award-winning new play, an idealistic teacher comes face-to-face with a bear in the wilderness and finds himself spiraling into a mid-life crisis. He leaves his partner, child, and students in pursuit of a new career where he forms an unlikely friendship with a young boy, as they help each other step forward into a brave new future. Oh yeah, and Led Zeppelin.

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HARPER LEE'S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, the 2018 play by Aaron Sorkin, based on the novel by Harper Lee, directed by Bartlett Sher, starring Richard ("John Boy") Thomas as Atticus Finch, Sunday March 27 - Saturday April 2, part of the M&T Broadway Series, Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30, Tuesday-Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 at Shea's Buffalo Theatre, 646 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. Runtime 2 hours, 35 minutes

MOCKINGBIRD BLURB: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in 1930s Alabama, defends Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of rape. In this play Atticus, not his daughter Scout, is the protagonist.

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REMNANTS: An immersive installation experience combining sound, light, film, virtual reality and sculpture exploring the original mythology of Torn Space, Fridays - Saturdays March 25 – April 9, three performances per evning at 7:00, 7:45, and 8:30 at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle/Torn Space Theater, 612 Fillmore Ave. Buffalo (at Paderewski). What to wear: black, dark grey, or red. tornspacetheatre.com, 716-768-1109.

REMNANTS BLURB: In groups of six, audiences will experience moments from the past and construct new meanings in the present. Drawing from Torn Space’s original mythology, this project contains traces of past works combined in a fresh, intimate installation with limited and staggered seating. Tickets are offered in 30-minute time slots and purchasers of each time slot will enter every fifteen minutes to allow adequate spacing and comfortable movement throughout the installation.

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STAGE KISS, comedy by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, March 27 - April 24, Wednesday - Friday at 7:30, 3:00 Saturdays, 2:00 Sundays, produced by the Irish Classical Theatre Company in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main Street Buffalo NY 14203. irishclassical.com (716) 853-ICTC (4282). Special ASL interpreted show April 20 at 7:30.

STAGE KISS BLURB: Two actors and ex-lovers find themselves starring opposite each other in an off-off-Broadway 1930s melodrama. It doesn’t take long for the lines between life and art to blur, while the farcical antics of the play-within-a-play make for an unforgettable romantic comedy.

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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, starring Anne DeFazio, Jared Eichel, Michael Galante, Timiyah Love, Lauren McGowan, Kate Mulberry, John Profeta, 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."

"Updated in 2009, WORKING digs deeper into the original Studs Terkel’s interviews from the 1960s and 1970s, and brings them into today's conversation. Based on the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg and Lin-Manuel Miranda."

"This production marks the premiere of the localized version of this powerful show, with both the script and score reflecting updates that bring the characters and their stories into Western New York and the present day."

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CONTINUING:

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, through April 2. Thursday-Friday 7:30, 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

FALL FROM THE GRACE BLURB: The music of the Celtic Punk Band "The Pogues" has inspired ten short works presented without pause, all set in a South Buffalo working class bar.

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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, Fridays - Saturdays at 8:00 at the newly designed Alleyway's Cabaret Theater which is at 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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THE LOVE LIST, comedy by Norm Foster, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Jeremy Kreuzer, Elliot Fox, and Suzie Hibbard. March 19 - May 8, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and some Wednesdays. Nights: 6pm meal, 7:30 pm show; Matinees: 1 pm meal, 2:30 pm show. Bobby J's Italian american Greille, 204 Como Park Vlvd, Cheektowaga. www.mybobbyjs.com 716-395-3207

THE LOVE LIST BLURB: Canadian playwright Norm Foster (LADIES FOURSOME; ON A FIRST NAME BASIS) has Leon and Bill concoct a Top 10 list of qualities that make for the perfect mate. When that ideal woman actually arrives, revisions must be made. "Be Careful What You Wish For" is good advice.

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AND IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Eagerly anticipated, Shea's Buffalo sent out the email blast last week announcing the M&T Broadway series for 2022-2023 which includes:

THE PROM Sep 27-Oct 2, 2022

TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL Nov 8-13, 2022

COME FROM AWAY Dec 13-18, 2022

HADESTOWN Feb 21-26, 2023

BEETLEJUICE Mar 21-26, 2023

SIX Apr 25-May 7, 2023

JAGGED LITTLE PILL Jun 6-11, 2023

with two "special engagements"

Disney's ALADDIN Nov 22-27, 2022 and

DEAR EVAN HANSEN jUNE 20-25, 2023.

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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