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Theater Talk: Stunning projections and voices that project make ANASTASIA a hit at Shea's

Kyla Stone (Anya) in The North American Tour of ANASTASIA - Photo by Jeremy Daniel (2565).jpg
Jeremy Daniel (www.jeremydanielp
Kyla Stone is stunning as Anya/Anastasia in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA now at Shea's

The current run of the North American Tour of ANASTASIA (book by Terrance McNally, music and lyrics by Ahrens and Flaherty, the same team of three that brought us RAGTIME) is stunning in so many ways. The star, Kyla Stone, has the voice, the dance, and all the fight moves you'd want, set against the best projections we've ever seen. Great secondary characters include Madeline Raube as "Countess Lily" the feisty "no nonsense" sidekick that is a Broadway staple and "Gleb" a character created to replace the Fox Animation's Rasputin character. Gleb will remind you very much of "Javert" in LES MIS. The show is a bit on the long side (2 hours, 40 minutes) but the projected sets keep things moving seamlessly.

Tomorrow we observe both Shakespeare's birthday (1564) and death day (1616), both events in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. Why not celebrate by watching the weekly half-hour send up television series "Upstart Crow" on WNED-TV Friday nights at 7:30. Described as a "Satirical Blackadderesque sitcom about how friends, family, historical circumstances, and his arch-rival Robert Greene, who first coined the derogatory term 'upstart crow', influenced William Shakespeare to write his famous plays," Episode #107 will air tonight, and Season 1 can be viewed on Netflix.

NOTE: the openings of LITTLE WOMEN...NOW at Road Less Traveled Theatre as well as PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS at The Kavinoky have been postponed several few days. SEE LISTINGS BELOW.

The THEATER LISTINGS below are accurate as of this Friday morning, April 22, 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.


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


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.


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.



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, musical, April 29 - May 22, presented by Theatre of Youth, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:00, Saturdays-Sundays at 2 at the Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen Street. theatreofyouth.org

BLURB: Be swept away by Broadway’s classic musical as TOY proudly presents Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. A tale as old as time, the spirited Belle, a prince-turned-beast, and a gaggle of enchanted friends discover there’s more than meets the eye as they look beyond what we see to discover beauty comes from within.

SENSORY-FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE - Sunday, May 8 at 10am. This performance incorporates special modifications to accomodate audiences with sensory needs.

Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on Thursday, April 28 at 7:00pm. Reservations Required with suggested donation of $10 per person.

SAFETY POLICY: As of March 28, TOY is following a universal masking policy and require all patrons over the age of 2 years wear a mask while in the building.


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.


DAMN YANKEES, musical by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler, directed by Joey Bucheker, presented by O'Connell & Co. April 28 - May 15 Friday- Saturday at 8, Saturday- Sunday at 2,nnnnmnnmmn on their main stage 3200 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217 (716-848-0800) oconnellandcompany.com/

DAMN YANKEES BLURB: Light, fast-paced and devilishly clever. Based on the novel, "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," this classic Tony and Oscar Award-winning musical comedy is a captivating tale of devotion, deception, dancing, the Devil, and Major League Baseball.


JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, April 29 - May 15 at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster. Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays-Sundays at 2:30 pm (No Saturday matinee opening weekend April 30). (716) 683-1776 lancasteropera.org

DREAMCOAT BLURB: One of the most enduring shows of all time, this gem from Andrew Lloyd Webber (the composer of The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar among many others) uses the biblical story of Joseph—and a handful of popular song types, from Elvis to calypso—to tell a universal story of dreamers: people from broken families who struggle to make the best of what they have, to trust in themselves, and most importantly, to see courage in forgiveness.


LOVE, LOSS, and WHAT I WORE, by Nora Ephron, directed by Roger Paolini, starring Darleen Pickering Hummert, Melanie Klaja, Mary Moebius, Mary Kate O’Connell, and Kim Piazza runs for five shows only, April 28 - May 1, presented by O'Connell & Co. at Shea's Smith Theatre. 654 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14202 Runtime 90 minutes, visit sheas.org

LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE BLURB: Proving that a great show is always in fashion, Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory that covers all the important subjects—mothers, prom dresses, mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses and why we only wear black. Love, Loss, and What I Wore, written by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman uses clothing, accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories about matters of the heart and matters of the closet. The actresses sit side-by-side with script in-hand, deftly guiding the audience through an evening of humor, nostalgia and, of course, fashion. Nora Ephron was a writer, director and producer best known for writing the screenplays of romantic comedy films. She received three Academy Award nominations for Original Screenplay, for Silkwood (1983), When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Ephron sometimes co-authored screenplays with her sister, writer-producer Delia Ephron, including You’ve Got Mail (1998), Hanging Up (2000), and Bewitched (2005).


LADIES FIRST, one night only, April 23, 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.

LADIES FIRST BLURB: "A deeper look at the women driving Buffalo's Burgeoning Hip-Hop Scene"


LITTLE WOMEN...NOW, a world-premiere adaptation by Donna Hoke, directed by Doug Weyand, starring Lisa Vitrano, Brittany Bassett, Alexandria Watts, Heather Gervasi, Sabrina Kahwaty, Jake Hayes and Ricky Needham. Opens Saturday April 23(!) - May 15, 7:30 Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sunday at 2. Presented by Road Less Traveled Productions.

LITTLE WOMEN NOW BLURB: Little Women… Now brings the beloved March sisters to life in this contemporary adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic story by RLTP Ensemble member Donna Hoke. Follow Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth as they navigate the challenges of love, loss, and family on the road from childhood to adulthood in the 21st century. With fresh perspective and charm, this world premiere production captures the spirit and sensibility of the original for a modern audience.


PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS originally scheduled to open April 29 has been rescheduled to May 5. Please see full listing under MAY OPENINGS below.

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, play by Edward Albee, directed by Nancy Doherty starring Richard Lambert, Pamela Rose Mangus, Brett Klaczyk, and Pandora Lianne Kew. April 28 - May 28, Thursday - Saturday at 8pm, presented by New Phoenix Theatre on the Park, 95 Johnson Park Buffalo, NY 14201 716-853-1334 newphnxtheatre@aol.com

WHO'S AFRAID BLURB: (from Dramatists Play Service) Audiences at the original Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? were keenly aware that they were witnessing the transformation of a promising playwright into a figure of world importance, through a play clearly destined to become a modern classic. Time has richly borne out this view. This dazzling work of gut-wrenching dark comedy presents perhaps the most memorable of married couples, George and Martha, in a searing night of dangerous fun and games with a pawnlike other couple who innocently become their weapons in the savaging of each other and of their life together. By the evening's end, a stunning, almost unbearable revelation provides a climactic shock of recognition at the bond and bondage of their love.



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; Sunday 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.


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!



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


ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS by Jane Martin, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Rachael Buchanan, Heather Fangsrud, Corey Gorski, Kaeli McGinnis, Davida Tolbert, Alyssa Walsh, Stefanie Warnick, May 6 - 21, Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30, at the Alleyway Cabaret 716-598-1586 or visit brazenfacedvarlets.org or on Facebook.

ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS BLURB:This madcap comedy follows three actresses across the footlights, down the rabbit hole, and into a strangely familiar Wonderland that looks a lot like American theatre – the resemblance is uncanny! As these women pursue their dream of performing Chekhov in Texas, they’re whisked through a maelstrom of “good ideas” that offer unique solutions to the Three Sisters’ need to have life’s deeper purpose revealed. In the tradition of great backstage comedies, Anton in Show Business conveys the joys, pains, and absurdities of “putting on a play” at the turn of the century.

For tickets: 716-598-1586 or https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5425950


MODERN ORTHODOX by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Saul Elkin, May 5-29, presented by Jewish Repertory in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theater, 2640 N Forest Rd, Buffalo, NY 14228.

MODERN ORTHODOX BLURB: This hilarious and heartfelt comedy tells the story of Ben Jacobson, an Upper West Side financial consultant ready to propose to his long-time girlfriend Hannah, and Herschel Klein, an Orthodox diamond dealer tasked with selling Ben an engagement ring. After a fateful first meeting Herschel becomes entangled in the lives of Ben and Hannah for better and worse. Initially Ben and Herschel’s differing views on their shared religions divides them, but as both men struggle with romantic relationships and faith an unexpected bond is forged between them in their pursuit of love.


OREGON TRAIL, by Bekah Brunstetter, May 5 - 28, directed by Chris J. Handley, presented by the 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)

OREGON TRAIL BLURB: It’s 1996 and Jane is trapped in her middle school computer lab playing “The Oregon Trail.” Suddenly the game comes to life and whisks us back to 1848 to travel covered-wagon style with Jane’s great-great-grandmother. As the game moves us (and Jane) back and forth in time, Jane forms a bond with her ancestors while navigating the complexities of a modern life.

This comedy about depression from the EMMY-nominated writer of “This Is Us” is a must for anyone who grew up trying not to die of dysentery.


PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS, a play by Duncan MacMillan, directed by Katie Mallinson, May 5 - May 22, Friday-Saturday at 7:30, Saturday 3:30, Sunday 2pm, presented by D'Youville's Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201.

Performances for this three-week engagement (May 5 - 22nd) will take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There will be one pay-what-you-can preview on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:30 pm. Opening night is Thursday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m

Box Office: 716-829-7668 kavinokytheatre.com

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS BLURB: Emma was having the time of her life. Now she’s in rehab. An inventively dramatic tale of addiction, recovery, and everything that happens in between. NOTE: For the production of PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS the D’Youville Kavinoky Theatre is proud to partner with Save the Michaels of the World. On Thursday nights of the run (May 5, 12 & 19) there will be panel discussions with the cast, people with lived experience, professionals from Save the Michaels of the World, and other support organizations. We want to create a safe space for dialogue and questions surrounding the current Substance Use Disorder crisis. On those nights, the bar will be alcohol free. Those “Talk-Back/Panel discussions” are free of charge and take place AFTER each Thursday performance.


SPUNK, by George C. Wolfe, adapted for the stage from Zora Neale Hurston stories, directed by Sarah Norat-Phillips, May 6 - 29, Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 4pm, presented by Ujima Theatre, 429 Plymouth Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14213 716-281-0092 boxoffice@ujimacoinc.org

SPUNK BLURB: Using the blues, choral narrative and dance, the three tales focus on men and women, trapped inside the "laughin' kind of lovin' kind of hurtin' kind of pain, that comes from being human. Based on three short stories of Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and adapted by George C. Wolfe.

Spunk sets the human ability to endure to the strums of a guitar in a stirring musical fable. An unearthly Guitar Man and Blues Speak Woman tantalizingly interweave three tales of the early 20th century African American experience, from the fierce determination of a resilient washerwoman to the zoot suit struts of 1940s Harlem, to the bittersweet innocence of young married love. Glowing with wit, humor and energy, three tales of survival are told in the key of the blues.


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


COME FROM AWAY Dec 13-18, 2022

HADESTOWN Feb 21-26, 2023

BEETLEJUICE Mar 21-26, 2023

SIX Apr 25-May 7, 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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