Theater Talk: 2nd Gen's SECRET GARDEN and O'Connell's ADDAMS FAMILY have superb openings and run through Hallowe'en weekend.
Two kid-friendly musicals full of ghosts opened this mid-October and run through the night before Hallowe'en. Anthony and Peter talk about THE SECRET GARDEN: SPRING EDITION lovingly produced by Second Generation Theatre at Shea’s Smith Theatre (in the downtown Theatre District). And there's a lot to love about the manic, yuck-filled THE ADDAMS FAMILY at O’Connell & Company’s new space on Bailey Avenue in the town of Amherst. (See listings below). In answer to the question we had "Can Buffalo keep up the momentum following Curtain Up!?" the answer is yes.
Read Anthony's review of THE SECRET GARDEN here.
(Note: A 6-month digital subscription to the Buffalo News is available for $1.) https://myaccount.buffalonews.com/offers
Read Peter's combined reviews of ADDAMS FAMILY and SECRET GARDEN here.
Since going to press Theater Talk has received news that O'Connell & Company has just installed their new system of tiered seating.
Anthony is in rehearsals for his one-man show (well, two, counting Phil Ferugia at the piano) titled ANTHONY CHASE: MY LIFE IN THE AUDIENCE to open in November at the Bittersweet Piano Lounge in the Lafayette Hotel, 391 Washington St, Buffalo, NY 14203.
Subscribe to Anthony's free blog - theatertalkbuffalo.com - and you won't miss out on a lot of juicy theater news as well as great reviews. Many of Anthony's reviews appear in the "Buffalo News," which has a pay wall, but in one of his latest posts he calls our attention to an offer that allows you to see the "Buffalo News" in digital format for six months for just $1. https://myaccount.buffalonews.com/offers.
BURST, a new play by Rachel Bublitz, directed by Daniel F. Lendzian, starring Tracie Lane, Aleks Malejs, and Christine Turturro, October 21 – November 12, 2022. October 21, 22, 23, 25 at 7:30 are Pay What You Can Previews. Opening night is Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30pm, then performances continue Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30, with a matinee on Saturday November 5 at 3:30pm, and a special Monday performance on November 7 at 7:30 (for the convenience of industry but open to the public). Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo (on Main Street in the Theatre District) 716-852-2600. alleyway.com
NOTE: Playwright Rachel Bublitz will travel to Buffalo for final rehearsals, previews, and opening night. “We believe the audience is the final crucial ingredient in making a new play,” explains Artistic Director Chris J Handley. “Four nights of previews before the official opening is just the way to do that and we’re thrilled to welcome Rachel to town.” Playwright conversations will be held following the final two previews.
BURST BLURB: Sarah is an extraordinary human being on the verge of saving the planet from her cushy office in Silicon Valley. At the helm of one of the fastest growing tech companies in history—a company she built herself from scratch—she is about to announce a major breakthrough that will make her richer, famous-er, and prove that she was right all along: biodegradable plastic. Oh, and tonight she also has to prep for tomorrow’s lawsuit, sooth her frustrated business partner, and fend off an eager journalist hungry for a scoop. It’s all in a night’s work on the climb to success. BURST is a fast-paced exploration of our drive to success, and who it takes down along the way. A contemporary peek into corporate power structures, Silicon Valley politics, and the global plastic emergency, the play was a finalist in the 2022 National New Play Network Showcase and will make its world premiere at the Alleyway.
CONTINUING SHOWS INCLUDE:
THE ADDAMS FAMILY MUSICAL, by Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice, and composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa, directed by Dewayne Barrett, musical direction by Joe Isgar, presented by O'Connell & Company, starring Joey Bucheker as Gomez Addams, Anna Fernandez as Morticia Addams, Michael J. Galante as Uncle Fester, Madalyn Teal as Wednesday Addams, Jared Eichel as Lucas Beineke, Sara Kovacsi as Grandma, John Perno as Pugsley Addams, Dan Mink as Lurch, Kelliegh Murray as Alice Beineke, and Michael Starzynski as Mal Beineke. October 14 - 30, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm. Additional matinee at 3:00 pm on Saturday 10/22. NOTE NEW LOCATION! O’Connell & Company, 4110 Bailey Ave., Amherst, NY 14226 in the Eggertsville Youth & Community Center (about 500 feet south of Bocce Pizza). 716-848-0800. www.oconnellandcompany.com
The show also features "the kooky, mysterious and spooky 'Ancestors'”: Lizzie Arnold, Kris Bartolomeo Corey Bieber, Timmy Goodman, Vincent Murphy, Daniel Pieffer, Leanna Pulinski, Emory Redfearn, Aimée Walker, Michael Wells. Again, NOTE NEW LOCATION 4110 Bailey Ave., Amherst, NY 14226 (roughly between Main St. and Eggert Rd.)
THE ADDAMS FAMILY BLURB: The magnificently morbid family is put to the test when outsiders come to dinner, hurling them into a night that will change their lives forever. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. Again, NOTE NEW LOCATION! 4110 Bailey Ave., Amherst, NY 14226.
FUTURE WARS: A SCI-FI DOUBLE FEATURE features two play premieres, RESET a new play by Samantha Macher and OVERLAY, a new play by Adam Hahn, presented by First Look Buffalo, October 7 - 29, Thurs, Friday, Saturday at 8 pm, at The Park School Theatre, 4625 Harlem Rd, Amherst, NY 14226 firstlookbuffalo.com (716) 771-6358
RESET a new play by Samantha Macher BLURB: East coast premiere of Samantha Macher's play that the NOHO Arts District called; "compelling, stark, and bitterly funny." It's also a story about humanity, like all good science fiction is. RESET takes a hard look at what it means to be human in a not-too-distant future where machines can have feelings and dreams, just like us.
OVERLAY, a new play by Adam Hahn BLURB: The play is set in an unnamed country sometime in the near future, a country perpetually at war. But new technology has been developed to insulate soldiers from the horrible reality of their actions; However, nothing is perfect!
INTO THE WOODS, musical by Stephen Sondheim, presented by the Aurora Players, through October 27, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30 at the Roycroft Pavilion, 166 S. Grove St. East Aurora, NY 14052. 716-687-6727 auroraplayersorg.
INTO THE WOODS BLURB: The story follows a Baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to escape her impoverished circumstances and dance with the Prince; and Jack, who’s got his head in the clouds and a mother who would like him to be grounded in reality.
When the Baker and his wife learn of a Witch’s curse that will prevent them from ever having children, they must set off into the woods to break the spell. Also in the woods is Little Red on the path to visit her grandmother, and a Wolf who would like to lure her to stray; Rapunzel who longs to leave her tower; and two Princes pursuing love.
By the time everyone has their wish and are seemingly about to live happily ever after, the consequences of their actions loom over them. The community must overcome casting blame to unite and save the life they know from impending doom! It just might be that living “happily ever after” comes at the cost of great sacrifices.
MAKING GOD LAUGH, a "comedy/drama" by Sean Grennan, directed by Jay Desiderio, presented by Desiderio's Dinner Theatre , starring Lisa Hinca, Michael Breen, Audrey Grout, Vincent Barile, and Caleb Paxton. September 15 - November 6 on select days (see website) with evening show dinner at 6 and show at 7:30, matinée show dinner at 1 and show at 2:30. Theater is located within Bobby J's Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd. Cheektowaga, NY 14227. (716)395-3207 mybobbyjs.com/desiderio-s-dinner-theatre.
MAKING GOD LAUGH BLURB: This is a family comedy/drama that takes place in four scenes, each ten years apart, set at various holidays. Starting in 1980, the newly “launched” kids (a priest, an aspiring actress, and a former star football player) all return home, where we learn of their plans and dreams as they embark on their adult lives. The “empty nest” parents contend with their own changes too, as old family rituals and dubious recipes are trotted out and ancient tensions flare up. Over the course of thirty years worth of celebrations- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and Easter- we see how, despite what we may have in mind, we often arrive at unexpected destinations. “If you want to make god laugh, tell him your plans...”
THE SECRET GARDEN: Spring Version, adapted from the musical by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, directed and choreographed by Michael Oliver-Walline with music mirection by Allan Paglia, presented by Second Generation Theatre, starring Ella Hinklin (Mary), Clark Garvey (Colin), Louis Colaiacovo (Archibald), Kelly Copps (Lily), John Panepinto (Neville), Amy Jakiel (Martha), Joe Russi (Dickon), Anne DeFazio (Mrs. Medlock), John Kreuzer (Ben), and an ensemble featuring Leah Berst, Bob Mazierski, Jenn Stafford, Collin McKee, Anthony Lazzaro, Maria Pedro, Jenny Marie McCabe, and Charles McGregor. October 14 - 30, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Shea’s Smith Theatre, 658 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14202. Tickets at (716)508-7480 or sheas.org/performances/the-secret-garden. Information and virtual playbill at secondgenerationtheatre.com.
THE SECRET GARDEN BLURB: The story is set in the early years of the 20th century. Mary Lennox, an English girl born and raised in the British Raj, is orphaned by a cholera outbreak when she is ten years old. She is sent away from India to the moors of Yorkshire, England, to live in the manor of a brooding uncle she has never met. There, her personality blossoms among the other residents of the manor as they bring new life to a long-neglected garden. This version runs under two hours, keeping the heart and spirit of the original story in a format that better suits young audiences. “This is a heartfelt musical story of love, loss, and regeneration. SGT is poised to continue our legacy of quality, immersive experiences featuring actor debuts from an exciting 'third generation' with SGT Academy alum Ella Hinkin and Clark Garvey,” says Executive Director Kristin Bentley. Both Hinklin and Garvey have been students of SGT’s theatre education program since 2017, but this is their first show with the company. Hinklin’s mother, four-time Artie Award winning actor Jenn Stafford, is also featured in THE SECRET GARDEN. This is the first time the duo has appeared on stage together.
SHOWS COMING ALONG IN THE BUFFALO AREA LATER THIS MONTH:
BRACE FOR IMPACT, new play, by Vincent DeStefano, directed by Mike Doben, presented by Bellissima Productions, starring Vincent DeStefano (Logan), Taylor Lee Hall (Lily), Sean Patrick Ryan (Trevor), Andrew Brown (Brad), and Colleen Pine (Julia). October 27 - November 5 Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30, one matinee, October 29 at 3pm. Marie Mayday Theatre, Canisius College, in Lyons Hall, 2048 Main St, Buffalo, NY (ample off-street parking). 716-218-8530. bellissimaproductions.com
BRACE FOR IMPACT BLURB: Five long time friends gather one last time in a North Buffalo apartment as an asteroid hurtles towards earth. Faced with their untimely ends, and aided by various vices, they confront their life regrets, what could’ve been, and their deepest secrets.
MISERY, a play by William Goldman adapted from Stephen King, directed by Brain Cavanagh, starring Adriano Gatto as Paul, Steven Brachmann as Buster, and Kavinoky Artistic Director Loraine O’Donnell as Annie. October 28 - November 20, 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 Thursday, October 27th at 7:30 pm. The D’Youville Kavinoky Theatre, (716) 829-7668. kavinokytheatre.com
MISERY BLURB: The play version of the beloved Stephen King classic movie follows successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his “Number One Fan,” Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. Annie forces Paul to write a new “Misery” novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere.
THE GENTLEMAN CALLER, by Philip Dawkins, directed by James Cichocki, presented by Buffalo United Artists, starring Jonathan Beckner as William Inge and Matt Rittler as Tennessee Williams. Thursdays - Saturdays, October 27-29 at 8:00 pm, then November 3-5, 10-12 at 7:30 pm. Bittersweet Piano Lounge in the Lafayette Hotel, 391 Washington St, Buffalo, NY 14203 buffalounitedartists.org No One Under 18 Years Old Admitted. Content Warning: Nudity and Simulated Sex
THE GENTLEMAN CALLER BLURB: Tennessee Williams and William Inge today are recognized as two of the greatest American playwrights, whose work irrevocably altered the theatrical and social landscapes. In 1944, however, neither had achieved anything like genuine success. As flamboyant genius Williams prepares for the world premiere of his play THE GENTLEMAN CALLER(ultimately to become THE GLASS MENAGERIE) self-loathing Inge struggles through his job as a theater critic, denying his true wish to be writing plays. Based on real-life but closed-door encounters, reconstructed from troves of comments (and elisions) by each man about their relationship, Philip Dawkins gorgeously envisions what might have taken place during those early-career meetings.
THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL LIST OF SUMMER PLAYS THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2022:
Summary: You have until October 30 to get to the Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario where stunning productions of HAMLET, RICHARD III, and ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL continue throught the entire month. Color-rich casting and Stratford's traditionally impeccable production values make these three plays a "must see." But some of the best experiences come from their new plays, especially 1939 and DEATH AND THE KING'S HORSEMAN. And, at their big festival playhouse, they have a very funny THE MISER, and a stunning CHICAGO as well.
The Stratford Festival recommends downloading their Visitors Guide to discover information about Shows, Forum Events, Special Performances, Speakers & Panels, Workshops, Tours & Exhibits and much more. Click here: https://cds.stratfordfestival.ca/uploadedFiles/2022-Visitors-Guide.pdf
Read Peter's preview of the 2022 summer season here.
Read Peter's review of the three by Shakespeare currently in repertory at Stratford here.
Read Peter's review of three more modern shows - CHICAGO, EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE, and LITTLE WOMEN here.
The Stratford musical this summer is
CHICAGO by Kander & Ebb & Fosse
which runs Through OCT 30 at The Festival Theatre
The comedy this summer is
THE MISER by Moliere
which runs through OCT 29 at The Festival Theatre
The family show this summer is
LITTLE WOMEN (a modern adaptation of the Luisa May Alcott classic)
which runs Through OCT 29 at The Avon Theatre
And there are three Shakespeare plays
RICHARD III in a stunning production starring Colm Feore as Richard III with Shaw & Stratford favorite actor Andre Sills as his right hand man. That runs through OCT 30 at The Tom Patterson Theatre (newly rebuilt from the ground up!)
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
which runs Through OCT 29 at The Tom Patterson Theatre (newly rebuilt from the ground up!)
which runs Through OCT 28 at The Festival Theatre
And there were four “Modern” plays this summer at Stratford with two of them now closed:
EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE at the Studio Theatre which ran through October 1 and HAMLET-911 which ended on October 2, 2022.
However, two of the best modern plays this summer continue.
DEATH AND THE KING'S HORSEMAN by Nobel Laureate and Nigerian exile Wole Soyinka in which Elessin, the king's chief and horseman, is expected to commit suicide to join his king in the afterlife. Elessin is willing, but delays slightly to enjoy some last minute earthly delights, and when the British "Raj" gets involved, it leads to a disastrous end. Watch for Amaka Umeh as the Praise Singer (and truth teller). She's also playing Hamlet in this summer's production. It runs through OCT 29 at The Tom Patterson Theatre (newly rebuilt from the ground up).
In the play 1939, co-written by Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan, it's 1939 at five indigenous students at a residential school in northern Ontario have been chosen by their Welsh-born teacher to perform Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well." It's about a clash of cultures and about the mistreatments of indigenous children at residential schools. 1939 runs through OCT 29 at the Studio Theatre,
The M&T Broadway series at Shea's for 2022-2023 includes:
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.