Theater Talk talks to Buffalo's Stephen Stocking currently on Broadway in DEATH OF A SALESMAN
This week Anthony and Peter talk with "Buffalo boy made good" Stephen Stocking whose theater career started as a 5th grader at Smallwood Elementary when he and a number of classmates were cast as the children of the King of Siam in THE KING AND I at Amherst High School. Stocking went on to graduate from Amherst Central High School (Go Tigers) and then got his BFA in the Musical Theater Program at UB (Go Bulls). There he studied with Stephen McKinley Henderson, Saul Elkin, Nathan Matthews, Maria Horne, and Lynn Kurdziel Formato.
He also worked with Ethan McSweeney at the Chautauqua Institution in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM which he's been in four times - at Amherst High School, at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, at Chautauqua, and overseas in Macao. He's also been in plays by Rajiv Joseph (brother of percussionist Dinesh Joseph).
After college, he had several roles at high-profile regional theaters, went to graduate school at the prestigious NYU program, and is making his Broadway debut as "Bernard" (the nerdy but later successful neighbor of the Willy Loman family) in Arthur Miller's DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Hudson Theatre (141 W. 44th St.) only through January 15. In this production, the Lomans are a black family, starring Wendell Pierce as Willy Loman and Sharon D. Clarke as Mrs. Linda Loman with Andre DeShields as Willy's older brother Ben.
Stocking enjoys playing the younger nerdy Bernard and then the older successful Bernard. One of the more surprising things is that the play's script is intact, with all of the original dialog, but the lines "land" differently when spoken by black actors. Read more about this play and see cast photos, etc. on Playbill.com here.
ANTHONY CHASE: MY LIFE IN THE AUDIENCE is a one-man show featuring Anthony Chase (with Philip Farugia at the piano) at the Bittersweet Piano Lounge in the Lafayette Hotel, 391 Washington St, Buffalo, NY 14203 (enter off Washington). Both shows, on Sunday evenings 8:00 o'clock, November 20 and 27, are sold out. There is talk of adding shows. Remember to sign up for Anthony's blog theatertalkbuffalo.com. Subscribe and you won't miss out on a lot of useful theater news as well as great reviews.
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, a play by Tom Griffin, directed by Matt Boyle, presented by Inclusive Theater of WNY (ITOWNY), November 17-19 at 7:30 and November 20 at 2:00 at St . Mary’s High School, 142 Laverack Ave. Lancaster, NY 14086 continuing December 1-3 at Art's Cafe, 5 East Main Street in Springville (all shows in December are at 7:00). 716-218-8129 inclusivetheaterofwny.com/
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR BLURB: The play deals with four men with various mental disabilities who live in a group home. It takes place over roughly a two-month period and consists of brief vignettes about the men's lives. Produced by Inclusive Theater of WNY in collaboration with St. Mary's High School Lancaster, it stars Bob Bozek, Dallas Taylor, Steven Bench, Cory Golabek, Anthony Wizner, Dan Barone, Susan Acker, Tony Shannon, and Stacy Kowal.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens, adapted by Neil Bartlett, directed by Chris Kelly, starring R.J. Voltz and Lissette DeJesus, with an ensemble, November 18, 2022 – December 11, 2022, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:00, Sundays at 2:00. Presented by the Irish Classical Theatre 625 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14203
Special events/considerations: ASL/Open Captioned Performance: Thursday, December 8, 2022, at 7:30 pm. Free post-show TALK BACKS with cast members are offered each Thursday evening. SPEAKER SERIES: Sunday, November 20, 1:30 pm before the show. YOUNG PROFESSIONALS NIGHT: Thursday, December 1, 6:30 pm Happy Hour, followed by the show, with a Talk Back afterward. INDUSTRY NIGHT, also Thursday, December 1, 7:30 pm, followed by a TalkBack.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS BLURB: Charles Dickens’ classic coming-of-age tale, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett, follows the story of orphan Pip as he navigates a strange and difficult childhood to become a distinguished gentleman in London with the help of an anonymous benefactor. ICTC Associate Director Chris Kelly directs an energetic ensemble, led by R.J. Voltz and Lissette DeJesus, in this powerful journey exploring the human experience.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC, by Rodgers and Hammerstein, directed by David Bondrow,
November 18 - December 4, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30. Note: Saturday, November 26 Special matinée only at 2:30 only followed by the annual Lancaster Fire Truck Christmas Parade. Also, Saturday, December 3 two shows are offered at both 2:30 and 7:30. Presented by the Lancaster Opera House 21 Central Ave Lancaster NY 14086.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC BLURB: The threat of Nazism growing ever larger on the horizon, this story of tenderness and identity overcoming habit has transcended musical theater to become part of our cultural consciousness. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, suggested by the book "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp.
BEEHIVE: The 60s Musical, by Larry Gallagher, directed & choreographed by Carlos R.A. Jones, presented by MusicalFare Theatre, November 9th – December 11th, Wednesdays - Thursdays at 7:00 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. On the campus of Daemen College, MusicalFare Theatre is located at 4380 Main Street in Amherst, NY (tip: enter off Getzville Road). Meet-the-cast talkbacks take place after all Wednesday performances EXCEPT opening night, November 9th. THERE IS NO PERFORMANCE ON THANKSGIVING DAY (THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24th). 716-839-8540 www.musicalfare.com
BEEHIVE BLURB: Starring Brittany Bassett-Baran, Stevie Jackson, Lily Jones, Sabrina Kahwaty, Kristen-Marie Lopez and Timiyah Love, six women sing the rock-n-roll music of the 1960s in a night of non-stop song and dance! Featuring a fantastic showcase of songs like "My Boyfriend's Back," "It's My Party," "Natural Woman," "Me & Bobby McGee" and many more! Assistant Choreographed by Robin Barker, Music Direction by Philip Farugia, Set, Lighting & Sound Design is by Chris Cavanagh, Costume Design is by Kari Drozd and Hair, Wig & Make-up Design is by Susan Drozd.
GUARDS AT THE TAJ, a play by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Afrim Gjonbalaj & Darryl Semira, November 10 - December 11, Thursdays (except Thanksgiving) - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00, at Road Less Traveled Productions, 456 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14202. (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveledproductions.org.
Special events / considerations: Saturday, November 19 at 2:00 pm join RLTP for a live OFF ROAD podcast interview with Peter Palmisano & Rajiv Joseph at the Road Less Traveled Theater 456 Main Street. Also, there will be an "Off-book: Zoom discussion" on Wednesday December 7 at 7 pm (visit the website for a Zoom link). Also please note: the Sunday, November 20 performance at 2:00 pm will be a fully masked audience performance. If you purchase for this performance, you will be required to wear a mask.
GUARDS AT THE TAJ BLURB: Winner of the 2016 Obie Award for Best New Play and the
2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, GUARDS AT THE TAJ is set in India…1648…as the sun rises, two imperial guards are assigned to protect the unveiling of the just-completed Taj Mahal. When ordered to perform the most unthinkable task, friendship is tested and broken by brutal circumstances. Bold, darkly funny and deeply moving, GUARDS AT THE TAJ addresses friendship and faith in God surrounded by beauty, carnage and duty at one of the most famous wonders of the world.
CLOSING THIS WEEKEND:
TITUS XX, (say “ex-ex” as in the female chromosome) a punk-rock musical, with book (after Shakespeare), music, and lyrics by Shawn Northrip, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, with musical direction by Lucas Colon, presented by The Brazen Faced Varlets (Buffalo's Feminist Theater Company), featuring: Rachael Buchanan, Corey Gorski, Kaeli McGinnis, Jessie Miller, Danette Pawlowski, Davida Tolbert, and Stefanie Warnick. It runs through November 20, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays - Sundays at 2:00. Thursday
TITUS XX BLURB: Get ready to rock out with the Varlets' first-ever musical!
Adapted from William Shakespeare's bloodiest play, TITUS ANDRONICUS, TITUS XXX is a punk rock musical with an all-female cast and band! Book, music, and lyrics by the playwright, Shawn Northrip, who wrote the Varlets' first production, RAMONA AND JULIET. This is a no-hold Bard adaptation. Not to be missed!
THE CHOSEN, a play adapted by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok from the novel by Chaim Potok, directed by JRT Artistic Director Saul Elkin, starring Ray Boucher, Sam Fesmire, Max Goldhirsch, Tom Loughlin, and David Lundy, presented by Jewish Repertory Theater, opened on November 3 and runs through November 20, Thursdays 7:30, Saturdays 3:30pm & 7:30pm, Sundays 2:00pm. 2640 N Forest Rd, Getzville, NY. 716-688-4033 jewishrepertorytheatre.org
THE CHOSEN BLURB: For the first production of their 20th anniversary season, JRT returns to one of their first hit shows. This stage adaptation of the revered novel is the story of two boys, two fathers, and two very different Jewish communities— “five blocks and a world apart” —in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the 1940s. Set against the backdrop of WWII, the revelation of the Holocaust, and the desperate struggle of Zionism, THE CHOSEN remains not essentially political or religious but deeply human. Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders are both passionate and intelligent young men. When Danny injures Reuven during a heated baseball game between their rival yeshivas, a unique friendship is born. As the boys grow to manhood, they are forced to learn important lessons about each other, their fathers, and themselves. This is a story of friendship, family, and difficult choices that we must all make on the path to understanding, respect, and reconciliation.
NOTE: Stage to Screen: The Chosen- In Association with JCC Cultural Arts
Monday, November 14 at 7:00 pm at 2640 N Forest Rd, Getzville, NY invites everyone for a free screening of the award-winning 1981 film adaptation of "The Chosen," starring Maximillian Schell and Rod Steiger. (Popcorn will be provided!)
MISERY, a play by William Goldman adapted from Stephen King, directed by Brian Cavanagh, starring Adriano Gatto as Paul, Steven Brachmann as Buster (the sheriff), and Kavinoky Artistic Director Loraine O’Donnell as Annie (aka "the Kathy Bates role") runs through 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. at D’Youville's 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.
FUN (?) FACT: Adriano Gatto lies in the very same bed and Loraine O'Donnell swings the very same sledgehammer used by Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf in the 2015 Broadway production of MISERY.
TONI STONE, a play, by Lydia R. Diamond, co-directed by Phil Knoerzer and Curtis Lovell, presented by Ujima Co. Inc., starring Gabriella McKinley in a cast of nine (hey, it's about baseball) opened November 4 and runs through November 20, Friday - Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 4, in the Lorna C. Hill Theatre, 429 Plymouth Avenue, Buffalo. (716) 322-5178 ujimacoinc.org
TONI STONE BLURB: This sensational 2019 N.Y. Times critic’s pick for Best New Play of the Season knocks it out of the park with a high-intensity glimpse into the world of the first woman to play professional baseball. “Toni Stone” blazes a path in the male-dominated sports world, shattering expectations and creating her own set of rules. Follow Toni’s journey as she fights for love, equality and a chance to do what she wants the most — play baseball. Filled with humor and the love of the game, this intimate and profoundly relevant portrait of America will have you cheering along
COMING LATER THIS NOVEMBER, 2022:
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, stage adaptation by Eric Schaeffer, by special arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson, directed by Doug Weyand, November 25 - 26, Friday at 7:30, Saturday at both 12:30 and 7:30, then from December 3 - 18, only Saturday and Sunday matinees at 12:30 (each 30 minutes long) followed by a meet and greet with Santa Claus. At the New O'Connell & Company Theater, 4110 Bailey Avenue, Amherst, NY 14226. 716-848-0800 oconnellandcompany.com
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS BLURB: A 30-minute stage adaptation of the classic animated TV special featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the gang discovering the true meaning of Christmas. Followed by a meet and greet with Santa Claus and special holiday crafts.
COMING LATER IN DECEMBER. 2022:
BIG BAND CHRISTMAS MEMORIES, written and directed by Mary Kate O'Connell
featuring The George Scott Big Band from The Colored Musicians Club. December 2 - 18, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3:00. On the mainstage of the New O'Connell & Company Theater, 4110 Bailey Avenue, Amherst, NY 14226. 716-848-0800 oconnellandcompany.com
BIG BAND CHRISTMAS MEMORIES BLURB: As the old cliché goes, Christmas comes just once a year – but it has inspired a truly timeless selection of memorable songs. Big Band Christmas Memories will make your season come alive with this perfect mix of music, dance, humor, and a treasure trove of classic holiday tunes and traditions! Perfect for the entire family.
THE BIRTH OF SANTA, a play by Justin Karcher & Eric Mowery, directed by Eric Mowery, featuring Andrew Zuccari, David Wysocki, Daniel Burning, Eric Mowery, Ian Michalski, and Rick Lattimer, December 1 -23, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 5:00 at American Repertory Theater, 545 Elmwood Avenue. (716) 697-0837 artofwny.org
THE BIRTH OF SANTA BLURB: A reimagining of A Christmas Carol. An artist, famous for their Christmas-themed paintings, tries something different and has a show during the holiday season. It is not well-received. They fall into a tailspin heading back into their studio hoping to discover the true spirit of joy. They are visited by three artists of the Christmas spirit, including Norman Rockwell, Little Drummer Boy, and Brutus the robot.
The M&T Broadway series at Shea's for 2022-2023 includes:
Disney's ALADDIN Nov 22-27, 2022 (a "special engagement")
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
DEAR EVAN HANSEN June 20-25, 2023 ( the other "special engagement")