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Theater Talk: Plays and Musicals, like Daffodils and Tulips, were delayed a bit, but now they're everywhere in Buffalo.

LITTLE WOMEN...NOW all cast credit Vincent Berbano.jpg
Vincent Berbano
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Buffalo Rising
LITTLE WOMEN...NOW by Donna Hoke continues at Road Less Traveled Productions with a high-powered cast.

The Artie Awards committee is working hard to get to the plethora of Western New York shows which open this May, many of which were delayed due to COVID-19. The Awards Ceremony (think Tony Awards for Buffalo) will take place Monday night, June 6, 2022 at Shea's 710 Theatre. Not only is the event sponsored by Buffalo Toronto Public Media, but they are providing personnel and expertise to this annual event. Thanks BTPM!

Speaking of postponements, the Tony Awards has postponed this year's nomination announcement from May 3 to May 9. Tony Award winner Adrienne Warren (TINA – The Tina Turner Musical) and three-time Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry (Carousel) will announce the 75th Annual Tony Award Nominations. As recently announced, the nominations announcement will take place very early on Monday, May 9, 2022 on the Tony Awards official YouTube channel, at 9 a.m. EST/6 a.m. PST. For more information visit tonyawards.com The actual awards ceremony will still take place on June 12th at Radio City Music Hall.

AIN'T TOO PROUD – The Life and Times of the Temptations coming to Shea's on Tuesday features a book by Dominique Morriseau, known for hard-hitting contemporary plays, several of which were recently in Western New York, including DETROIT '67 (Chautauqua Theatre Company), BLOOD AT THE ROOT (Paul Robeson Theatre), SKELETON CREW (Paul Robeson Theatre), PIPELINE (Ujima Theatre). Anthony says "It's not one of those stupid jukebox musicals" but has a real story to tell. Major playwrights writing the book for musicals isn't new (think Lillian Hellman with CANDIDE or Terrence McNally with ANASTASIA, RAGTIME, and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN) but it is very much appreciated when it happens.

It turns out that Norm Foster, Canada's most prolific and most often performed playwright and the author of THE LOVE LIST (closing this weekend), is a listener to Theater Talk as revealed by Jay Desiderio who received an email from Foster.

The THEATER LISTINGS below are accurate as of this Friday morning, April 29, 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. And bring a mask. Several venues (‌including The Kavinoky and Theatre of Youth) are requiring audiences to be masked.

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND:

THE LOVE LIST, comedy by Norm Foster, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Jeremy Kreuzer, Elliot Fox, and Suzie Hibbard. Through May 8, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday nights: 6pm meal, 7:30 pm show; Sunday (Mother's Day) Matinee: 1 pm meal, 2:30 pm show. Bobby J's Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd, Cheektowaga, NY 14225. 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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CONTINUING:

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, through May 15 at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086. Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays-Sundays at 2:30 pm. 716.683.1776 lancasteropera.org

JOSEPH...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.

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THE OTHER JOSH COHEN, a musical comedy, by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, directed by Randall Kramer, presented by MusicalFare. Through May 22 Wednesdays - Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm, Sundays 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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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. Through May 15, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2. Presented by Road Less Traveled Productions. 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202 Box Office 716.629.3069 roadlesstraveledproductions.org

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.

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MAY OPENINGS (alphabetically by show, many delayed from last month, some this weekend, some next week):

AIN'T TOO PROUD – The Life and Times of the Temptations, book by Dominique Morriseau, music by, well... The Temptations!!! Broadway musical tour, May 10 - 15, Tuesday - Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8, Sunday at 1 and 6:30 at Shea's Buffalo Theatre, 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. 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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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 - 22, Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30, One Sunday show 2pm May 22, at the Alleyway Cabaret 716-598-1586 or visit brazenfacedvarlets.org or on Facebook or For www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5425950

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.

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, musical, May 7 (new) to May 22 (original closing date), presented by Theatre of Youth, Saturdays at 2 pm and 7 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, also Friday, May 13 at 7 and there's a special Sensory-Friendly Performance Sunday, May 8 at 10 am, at the Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14210. 716.884.4400 theatreofyouth.org SENSORY-FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE - Sunday, May 8 at 10 am. This performance incorporates special modifications to accommodate audiences with sensory needs. Masks are required.

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.

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DAMN YANKEES, musical by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler, directed by Joey Bucheker, presented by O'Connell & Co. May 6 (change) - May 15 (original closing date). Opening Night will be Friday, May 6th at 8pm and performances continue through May 15, 2022. The venue has added a few “double headers” to their updated show lineup. SHOWTIMES:

Friday, May 6 - 8:00pm; Saturday, May 7 - 2 pm and 8 pm; Sunday, May 8 - 2 pm; Friday, May 13 - 8:00pm; Saturday, May 14 - 2pm and 8:00pm; Sunday, May 15 - 2:00pm and 8pm Friday- Saturday at 8, Saturday- Sunday at 2, 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.

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MODERN ORTHODOX by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Steve Vaughan, May 12 (NEW) - 29, Thursdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:30 and 7:30, Sundays at 2, presented by Jewish Repertory in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theater, 2640 N Forest Rd, Buffalo, NY 14228. 716.688.4114 ext. 309 www.jccbuffalo.org/jrt/

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.

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OREGON TRAIL, by Bekah Brunstetter, May 12 (NEW) - 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.

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PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS, a play by Duncan MacMillan, directed by Katie Mallinson, May 5 (NEW) - May 22, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Saturdays 3:30, Sundays 2, presented by D'Youville's Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201. 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.

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PROOF, by David Auburn, directed by Jennifer Simpson, May 5 -15, May 5-7 at 7:30 pm, May 8 at 2, May 14-15 at 7:30 pm, starring Sarah Emmerling, Joe Sciammarella, Tammy Dobe, and Connor Caso as Catherine, Robert, Claire, and Hal, presented by the Carriage House Players at the Taylor Theater in Lockport’s Kenan Center, 433 Locust Street, Lockport, NY 14094 kenancenter.org/carriage-house-players 716-433-2617

PROOF BLURB: Catherine, a woman in her late twenties, is strongly devoted to her father Robert, a brilliant well-known mathematician whose grip on reality is beginning to slip away. The play explores Catherine’s fear of following in her father’s footsteps after his death both mathematically and mentally. When Robert’s work reveals a mathematical proof of potentially historic proportions, it sets off shock waves in more ways than one. The play won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. “Proof” is presented during Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been observed in the United States during the month May since 1949.

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PLAY ON! presented by SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARK Sunday, May 15 at 5 pm described as "A Nomadic Evening of Live Music and Theater" featuring the celebrated Buffalo Chamber Players, Shakespeare in Delaware Park actors, and the Vocalis Chamber Choir for an evening of strings, acting, and choral singing. The artists will perform works crossing a range of genres as the audience, in groups, moves throughout the venue to different locations. Email mgmt@shakespeareindelawarepark.org or call (716) 856-4533.

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SPUNK, by George C. Wolfe, adapted for the stage from Zora Neale Hurston stories, directed by Sarah Norat-Phillips, May 13 (NEW) - 29, Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 4 pm, 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.

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THE PARADIGM BOMB, by Matthew LaChiusa, 5/19 (NEW) - 6/4, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 5:00 pm, at Compass Performing Arts Center, 545 Elmwood Avenue (the old TheatreLoft). 716-697-0837 artofwny@msn.com

THE PARADIGM BOMB BLURB: Per the playwright: "Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh, the faceless thousands behind the Janauary 6th Capital storming, we know of their deeds, but do we ever know what was the first sparks that led to their actions? This piece looks closely at the humanity behind terrorist and insurrectional acts". This is not a political play, but a narrative about the human condition placed in a contemporary political and social environment. It's a piece about the hunger to be heard, and the extremes one takes to be".

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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. May 13 (new) - May 28, Thursday - Saturday at 7:30 pm, this is the final presentation 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.

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JUNE EVENTS:

ISLEÑA (Islander), a one-woman play by Victoria Pérez and María Pérez Gómez, featuring Victoria Pérez, directed by María Pérez Gómez, presented by Raíces Theatre runs from June 17 to July 3 at Road Less Traveled (the new home of Raíces) 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202

Box Office (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveledproductions.org

ISLEÑA BLURB: Isleña (Islander) is a memorable story of an island girl’s journey from Puerto Rico to Buffalo ¡Nos vemos en el teatro! (See you at the theater!) (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveled.org

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SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARK presents AS YOU LIKE IT, directed by Steve Vaughan, June 23 - July 17 on "Shakespeare Hill" in Delaware Park near Marcy Casino and The Rose Garden.

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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.

that

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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