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Theater Talk: Openings all over, plays, musicals, ballet, opera too. Pérez joins Shea's. ¡Felicidades! Ujima reprises Toni Stone.

2022 Nutcracker Banner 1920.jpg
Neglia Ballet
Tchaikovsky's NUTCRACKER at Shea's, Neglia Ballet with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Theater Talk: Openings all over, plays, musicals, ballet, opera too. Pérez joins Shea's. ¡Felicidades! Ujima reprises Toni Stone.

To read all about the latest with Michael Murphy and Shea's, visit Anthony's blog theatertalkbuffalo.com

Yes, the Michael Murphy firing at Shea's might have some concerned about the health of the organization, but some good news is that Shea's has announced that Victoria Pérez has just been named the Interim Director of Arts Engagement and Education at Shea's! “I will do my best to continue the work already established and keep striving for authentic community engagement," she says, and we know she'll do great work.

Congratulations to "Theater Talk" which Anthony began 30 years ago with legendary Buffalo DJ Jim Santella. Anthony's show ANTHONY CHASE: MY LIFE IN THE AUDIENCE extended its run December 11 and 12 but sold out again at the Bittersweet Piano Lounge in the Hotel Lafayette. It's sweet and funny and a chance to learn more about the man who

If you missed Ujima Theatre Company's production of TONI STONE due to the snowstorm, they'll encore the show, tonight only, Friday, December 2, at 7:30. Now you know.

After a number of shows closed their runs last weekend, we have at least six openings to tell you about.

OPENINGS:

ALL IS CALM, The Christmas Truce of 1914 musical, presented by MusicalFare Theatre, December 1 - 18, Thursday - Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 8:00, Sunday at 2:00 at Shea's 710 Theatre (710 Main Street at the corner of Tupper). 716-847-1410 sheas.org

This is the same musical that MusicalFare originally presented on their mainstage in Amherst in November 2021. ALL IS CALM takes place on The Western Front, during Christmas of 1914. Out of the violence a silence, then a song. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace. A remarkable true story told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. 1 hour, 10 minutes - NO INTERMISSION

WARNING - Flashing Lights, sounds of gunfire and explosions, and atmospheric effects are used in this production.

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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.

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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.

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BOULEVARD, a multi-media event, returns this Weekend at Torn Space, December 1-3, then 8 and 10, 2022 with two-time slots 7:00 pm and 8:15 at 612 Fillmore Ave. (near Paderewski) Buffalo. 716-768-1109 tornspacetheater.com

BOULEVARD BLURB: There are only a few BOULEVARD performances left, this weekend December 1-3, and next weekend just December 8 and 10. Catch it before it's gone for an unforgettable experience that blends in-person and virtual reality performance. What is real and what is manufactured? Shifting between a virtual fantasy and a fraught reality, you may come out with more questions than answers from the latest collaboration between Torn Space and FLATSITTER. Audiences of 20 will experience the performance within two realms; the actual and the virtual. In the actual world, we witness performers occupying their private spaces; they rest, make a drink, bide their time and confront one another. This equilibrium is fractured when a disturbing anonymous phone call is received, prompting the players to take refuge and gently slip into a fantasized and fetishized sense of self that occurs within virtual reality.

When attending Boulevard this Friday or Saturday, bring new winter hats, gloves, socks, or non-perishable food items and receive a complimentary draft beer voucher or glass of wine. All received items will be donated to the Community at Response to Love Center and Journey's End Refugee Center.

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CADILLAC CREW, play by Tori Sampson, directed by Linda Barr, presented by the Paul Robeson Theatre, December 2 - 18, Thursday - Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 4:00 in the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209 716-884-2013 paulrobesontheatre.org

CADILLAC CREW BLURB: Set in 1963, Cadillac Crew follows the stories of four women who must confront their individual identities while coming together to fight for liberation and equality. This play is part of the 2022-2023 "season of celebrating women who lead."

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THE NUTCRACKER, ballet, presented by Neglia Ballet, directed by Heidi Halt and Sergio Neglia with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Saturday, December 3 at 7:00, Sunday, December 4 at 1:00, at Shea's Performing Arts Center, 716-847-0850 sheas.org

THE NUTCRACKER BLURB: The annual favorite is back at Shea's with the story of Marie and her Christmas gift of a wooden nutcracker which becomes alive, battles the Mouse King, and wins her heart. Chock full of favorite melodies including "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies."

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UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, sung in Italian, conducted by Nick DelBello, directed by Joseph Spann, and presented by Buffalo Opera Unlimited, has two shows, Friday, December 2 at 7:30 and Sunday, December 4 at 2:30, in Buffalo State College’s Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Avenue (716-878-3005 buffalooperaunlimited.org

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA BLURB: Politics, prophecy, and passion take centerstage in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA (A Masked Ball) – an opera so sensitive . . . so potent . . . that censors once tried to keep it from ever being produced!

Buffalo Opera Unlimited is producing "Un Ballo" anyway! Verdi's thrilling 1859 drama was originally set in Sweden and told the story of the 1792 assassination of King Gustav III. When met with resistance from Italian censors, Verdi chose to keep the storyline but move the setting to early-America Boston. (It's true!) "Un Ballo" weaves a love triangle between Riccardo, Governor of Boston, his friend and secretary Renato, and Renato's wife, Amelia, all against the backdrop of an assassination plot at a masked ball. The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English surtitles.

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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.

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CONTINUING:

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). Two shows have been added: Sunday, December 11 and Monday, December 12, both at 8:00. Both sold out. Check out brownpapertickets.com And... 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.

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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. 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 by Chris Cavanagh, Costume Design by Kari Drozd, and Hair, Wig & Make-up Design by Susan Drozd.

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GUARDS AT THE TAJ, a play by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Afrim Gjonbalaj & Darryl Semira, continues through December 11, Thursdays - 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: There will be an "Off-book: Zoom discussion" on Wednesday, December 7 at 7 pm (visit the website for a Zoom link).

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…and as the sun rises, two imperial guards are assigned to protect the unveiling of the just-completed Taj Mahal. Friendship is tested and broken by brutal circumstances when ordered to perform the most unthinkable task. 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 world's most famous wonders.

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens, adapted by Neil Bartlett, directed by Chris Kelly, starring R.J. Voltz and Lissette DeJesus, with an ensemble, had its opening delayed, and runs through 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

716-853-4282, irishclassical.com

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. And there will be a Community Matinee on Wednesday, December 7 at 10 am designed to be "A performance with accommodations for people who would benefit from a more relaxed theatre-going experience. We encourage attendees from school groups, community care, and day habilitation centers to come, be themselves, and experience a live performance. For tickets, contact the Box Office at 716-853-4282, or email BoxOffice@irishclassical.com.

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.

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THE SOUND OF MUSIC, by Rodgers and Hammerstein, directed by David Bondrow, had its opening delayed, but now runs through December 4, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30. Note: 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. 716-683-1776 lancasteropera.org

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.

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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) lost some shows due to the snow storm, but they'll encore one, tonight, December 2 at 7:30 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 IN JANUARY

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS returns, for FREE, January 12 -15, at Shea's 710 (not Kavinoky). This limited 5 performance run (January 12th-15th) will take place on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202.

Due to the generous support of the Scott Bieler Family Foundation, tickets for this event are FREE but need to be reserved at www.Sheas.org.

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS BLURB: This play was originally produced at the D’Youville Kavinoky Theatre last fall and was forced to cancel the majority of shows due to COVID. Due to the generosity of Mr. Scott Bieler, the Scott Bieler Family Foundation is sponsoring the return of this important play that deals with addiction and recovery. The award-winning drama follows an actress who goes into rehab after coming unhinged onstage. It's an unsentimental take on addiction and recovery that offers no easy answers. This critically acclaimed production is directed by Katie Mallinson and stars Aleks Malejs as Emma with an ensemble of Buffalo’s finest actors including Christopher Guilmet, Michele Roberts, Diane DiBernardo, Gabriella McKinley, Ben Michael Moran, Gregory Gjurich, Maureen Ann Porter, Afrim Gjonbalaj and Dylan Zalikowski.

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The M&T Broadway series at Shea's for 2022-2023 includes:

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

and

DEAR EVAN HANSEN June 20-25, 2023 (a "special engagement")

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”).
Latest Episodes
  • For 30 years (as of November 2022) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • Celebrating 30 years this November, 2022, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • For 30 years, Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival, are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.