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Theater Talk: Anthony returns from a Broadway trip to see COMPANY, MINUTES, and BIRTHDAY CANDLES

WORKING set with show title. source Facebook.jpg
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If you can't get to Broadway, WORKING in Kenmore, presented by O'Connell & Co. is a lot of fun

Anthony returns from a short trip to Broadway where he saw the gender flipping version of Stephen Sondheim's COMPANY with Nikki Renée Daniels (Jenny, U/S Bobbie) standing in for Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Katrina Lenk as birthday girl "Bobbie" and with two-time Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award winner Patti LuPone as "Joanne" (who sings "Ladies Who Lunch").

He also saw BIRTHDAY CANDLES (developed by Chautauqua's Vivienne Benesch) starring Debra Messing (Will & Grace) who returns to the stage as Ernestine Ashworth, who spends her 17th birthday agonizing over her insignificance in the universe. (Per the Roundabout Theatre..." and soon enough, it’s her 18th birthday. Even sooner, her 41st. Her 70th. Her 101st. Five generations, dozens of goldfish, an infinity of dreams, one cake baked over a century. What makes a lifetime…into a life?").

And Anthony also took in MINUTES by Tracey Letts (who also wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning, Best Play Tony winning AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) about a small town city council meeting where the last meeting's minutes have gone missing. Since they are planning the town's "Heritage Festival" and the name of the high school football team is "The Savages" Anthony thinks that you can tell where the council meeting is headed.

The THEATER LISTINGS below are accurate as of this Friday morning, April 1, 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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CLOSING:

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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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, Kate Mulberry, John Profeta, and Emily Yancey, 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 (in alphabetical order):

BERSERKER, by Bruce Walsh (Mazumdar Award winner world premiere) directed 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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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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THE BEST LAID PLAN(T)S by Donna Hoke, FREE READING presented by Second Generation Theatre, directed by Sean Ryan, featuring Kyle Baran, Jamil Kassim-Lopez, Emily Yancey, Kris Bartolomeo, Michael Wachowiak, and Leah Berst, ONE NIGHT ONLY, Monday, April 11 at 7 pm, at Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. visit secondgenerationtheatre.com to reserve your spot(s).

THE BEST LAID PLAN(T)S BLURB: Bennett won’t believe what his best friend and sister keep telling him: that his girlfriend Nina is maybe a little toxic. And Bennett won’t believe what Nina is telling him: that his best friend Jason has feelings for him. After a destructive but maybe accidental event, Bennett is stunned to discover that labels lose and love wins- if only someone other than his plants would believe him.

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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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OPENING LATER THIS MONTH:

ANASTASIA, the musical, April 19-24, 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.

ANASTASIA BLURB: The romantic and adventure-filled new musical ANASTASIA is at home in Buffalo at last! This dazzling show will transport you from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past. Theatrical Haze, CO2 Ground Fog, Strobe Like Effects. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Children under 5 will not be admitted. Runtime: 2 Hours, 25 Minutes

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AIN'T TOO PROUD – The Life and Times of the Temptations, Broadway musical tour, May 10-15, at

Shea's Buffalo 646 Main Street, Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes

AIN'T TOO PROUD BLURB: Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is the electrifying new smash-hit Broadway musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, it’s a thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal during a decade of civil unrest in America. Set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” Ain’t Too Proud tells the unforgettable story of the legendary quintet that Billboard Magazine named the greatest R&B group of all time. The Production uses an onstage smoke effect. The Production uses Haze during the performance. Recommended ages 12+ (some language, and adult content) Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes

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BROADWAY BUCKET LIST, a concert fundraiser, starring Steve Copps, Charmagne Chi, Lisa Ludwig, Raphael A. Santos, Joe Russi and more, comes to the Shea’s Smith Theatre on Monday, April 25th @ 7 pm, 658 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. visit secondgenerationtheatre.com

BROADWAY BUCKET LIST BLURB: SGT’s annual concert fundraiser is returning in-person with Buffalo’s best performers singing their favorite songs- whether they’re right for them or not! Your $50 ticket includes admission to the show and appetizers. Cash bar, raffle, and silent auction available.

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LADIES FIRST, one night only, April 23, "A deeper look at the women driving Buffalo's Burgeoning Hip-Hop Scene" presented by Torn Space at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle/Torn Space Theater, 612 Fillmore Ave. Buffalo (at Paderewski). tornspacetheatre.com, 716-768-1109.

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THE OTHER JOSH COHEN, a musical comedy, by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, directed by Randall Kramer, presented by MusicalFare, April 20 - May 22 Wed-Thu at 7pm, Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm at MusicalFare Theatre on the Daemen College campus, 4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226 (pro tip: enter off Getzville Road). (716 839-8540) musicalfare.com

THE OTHER JOSH COHEN BLURB: Josh Cohen just can't get a break. He's single, broke and to top it all off, his apartment's been robbed of everything but a Neil Diamond CD. Broke and alone, all hope seems lost – until a mysterious letter arrives that changes his life forever. Thus begins the hilarious and quirky romantic comedy about a good guy caught in a lifelong battle with bad luck.

It features a six member ensemble with two actors who play the same hapless-yet-warmhearted title character – one eventful year apart – in a 90-minute life-changing laughfest for the whole family that will leave you feeling better about the world!

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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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