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Theater Talk: QUICKIES not quick, but funny, PRELUDE TO A KISS stars Pine and Deese, many shows continue (see listings)

PRELUDE TO A KISS (Bellissima Productions at TOY) L-R Colleen Pine as Rita, Kevin Deese as Peter, on honeymoon
Callie Keavey
/
Bellissima Productions
PRELUDE TO A KISS (Bellissima Productions at TOY) L-R Colleen Pine as Rita, Kevin Deese as Peter, on honeymoon

This week, Anthony and Peter talk about the 33rd annual BUFFALO QUICKIES, which this year had only four local playwrights tackle the theme "Right Here, Right Now," and they produced longer plays. Anthony thinks the time and theme constraints don't lend themselves to the best work. OperaLyte's presentation of Gilbert & Sullivan's first collaboration, THE SORCERER, kept the standards up again this year. Bellissima Productions, having lost their home to the Christmas 2022 storm, is borrowing the Theater of Youth stage for a fun show PRELUDE TO A KISS. And it was a thrill to see Genevieve Ellis back in town, on stage at Shea's, in the role of Fantine for LES MIZ.

For more details and some excellent writing, check out Anthony's reviews and Javier's "On the Boards" at theatertalkbuffalo.com!

Peter's reviews appear in Buffalo Rising (buffalorising.com).

COVID and the flu are still affecting theatrical performers (and audiences... that's us!) so it's worth getting your flu shot and your COVID booster, both readily available at pharmacies everywhere. Did you know that, for your convenience, you can get your COVID booster AND your flu shot simultaneously, and if your age qualifies, you can also get your RSV vaccine with those other two. After Anthony told Peter that he "doubled up" then Peter "tripled up" and you can too!

LOCAL LISTINGS ARE PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: CLOSINGS (last chances to see these plays), then OPENINGS, followed by CONTINUING, followed by COMING IN APRIL. Within the categories, shows are alphabetical by title, with any show starting with "The" under the letter "T."

CLOSINGS (Last chances to see seven (7) shows this weekend)

BEAUTIFUL, the Carol King musical, directed by Randall Kramer, starring Maria Pedro, Gretchen Didio, Sean Ryan, Josh Wilde, Marc Sacco, and 13 others. 2/21 - 3/24 Wed - Thu 7:00 pm, Fri 7:30, Sat 3:30 and 7:30, Sun 2:00 at MusicalFare Theatre, c/o Daemen College

4380 Main Street, Suite 123 Amherst, NY 14226 (716) 839-8540 musicalfare.com

BEAUTIFUL PUBLICITY BLURB: Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. From the chart-topping hits she wrote for the biggest acts in music to her own life-changing, trailblazing success with the multiple Grammy award-winning "Tapestry," BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL takes you back to where it all began — and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. With a stirring book by the late Oscar and Tony-nominated Douglas McGrath and the music and lyrics of icons Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Featuring such unforgettable classics as "You've Got a Friend", "One Fine Day", "So Far Away", "Take Good Care of My Baby", "Up on the Roof", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and "Natural Woman", this Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning musical phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember and a story you'll never forget.

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HAMLET, by Shakespeare, an all-woman production, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, presented by Brazen Faced Varlets, starring Stefanie Warnick in a cast of 17 players. 3/8 - 3/23 at the Compass Performing Arts Center, 545 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, NY 14222 bfvhamlet.eventbrite.com

HAMLET PUBLICITY BLURB: The Brazen-Faced Varlets are bringing one of William Shakespeare’s most revered works to the Compass Performing Arts Center. Director Lara D. Haberberger says “We’re focusing on the

beautiful language of Hamlet... I’m excited to bring this larger-than-life play to the intimate space that is the Compass Performing Arts Center.” Haberberger’s vision will be accompanied by Jessie Miller’s choreography and a soundscape by stage manager Ellen Catherine Falank, who says, “I am looking forward to building the infamous ‘rotting’ Denmark with this team. The cast and crew are chock full of people who know how to mix hard work and fun. We’ll need that when we start digging into the tough topics of this play.”

Artie-nominated actor Stefanie Warnick will embody the tortured Prince Hamlet and will be supported by a diverse cast of women and nonbinary actors from the Buffalo area, including Jennifer Arroyo, Lanie Shannon, Alyssa Walsh, Jennifer Fitzery, Rachael Buchanan, Maryna Seufert, Kennedy Lee, Sarah Emmerling, Leyla Gentil-Rosado, Caitlin Coleman, Heather Fangsrud, Danette Pawlowski, Caroline Parzy-Sanders, Jessie Miller, Sandra Roberts, and Madeline Allard-Dugan.

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HERstory: History Her Way, a series of one-acts presented by Ujima Co. Inc. Three stories, one per each of three weekends 3/8 - 3/24 all in the Lorna C. Hill Theater, 429 Plymouth Avenue Buffalo, New York 14213 Phone: (716) 281-0092 Website: ujimacoinc.org Tickets $15 each, $35 for all three. "This series of three one-act plays, an up close and loving glimpse into the real lives of three women of color, will be performed over 3 weekends. Written by and starring women, these autobiographical plays are filled with joy, pain, and laughter. They provide a wealth of insights and lessons on living your truth that truly speaks to our shared humanity.

March 22 - 24 in the HERSTORY series: MOM, HOW DID YOU MEET THE BEATLES by Adrienne Kennedy, directed by Gabriella McKinley, March 22 - 24 Fri - Sat 7:30, Sun 4:00 in the Lorna C. Hill Theater 429 Plymouth Avenue Buffalo, New York 14213 Phone: (716) 281-0092 Website: ujimacoinc.org

MOM, HOW DID YOU MEET THE BEATLES PUBLICITY BLURB: Adrienne Kennedy relates her star-studded experience of moving to London and working on The Lennon Play: In His Own Write. This is a great story, told in an intimate interview-style conversation between a mother and son.

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PRELUDE TO A KISS, by Craig Lucas, directed by Bella Poynton, starring Kevin Deese, Colleen Pine, Brendan Cunningham, et. al. presented by Bellissima Productions, March 14-17 & 21-24 (8 shows) Thu - Fri 7:30, Sun 3:00. Note: all shows at Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen Street, Buffalo (716-218-8530) bellissimaproductions.com

PRELUDE TO A KISS PUBLICITY BLURB: At Peter and Rita’s wedding, a mysterious old man insists on kissing the bride. While honeymooning, Peter gradually realizes that the woman by his side is not his wife. The wedding kiss caused Rita’s soul and the old man’s to change places. Peter must track down the old man and free his young love’s spirit trapped in an aging and diseased body before it’s too late.

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THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, a play by Ike Holter, co-directed by Scott Behrend and John Hurley, presented by Road Less Traveled Productions, starring Leah Berst, Melinda Capeles, Diane DiBernardo Alejandro Gabriel Gómez, Greg Howze, Ricky Needham, and Davida Evette Tolbert. Feb 22 - Mar 24 Thu - Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:00 (Mighty Taco Student Thursday tickets only $10) RLTP theater is at 456 Main Street, Buffalo (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveledproductions.org

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC PUBLICITY BLURB: In an unremarkable town in rural Indiana, on an uneventful evening, something truly terrible occurs, and a small family is thrust into a tit-for-tat game of survival against forces that are far from human. A play that is equal parts drama and comedy, and brings old-school horror into the now and new.

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THE PAJAMA GAME, a musical, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross presented by Lancaster Opera House 3/8 - 3/24 Fri - Sat 7:30, Sun 2:30 at 21 Central Avenue Lancaster, NY 14086. (716) 683-1776 lancasteropera.org

THE PAJAMA GAME PUBLICITY BLURB: The Pajama Game was awarded the 1955 Tony for Best Musical and, over half of a century later, claimed the award for Best Revival of a Musical, proving that the story is truly timeless. With a book by George Abbott and Richard Bissel and an energetic score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (Damn Yankees), THE PAJAMA GAME is brimming with songs and dances that have become musical theater standards, including “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.”

Conditions at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful as sparks fly between new superintendent, Sid Sorokin, and Babe Williams, the leader of the union grievance committee. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a 7 ½ cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.

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THE POLISH CLEANING LADY'S DAUGHTER, a one-woman play by Paula Wachowiak, presented by the Paul Robeson Theatre, starring Paula Wachowiak. 3/8 - 3/24 Fri - Sat 7:30, Sun 4:00, Paul Robeson Theatre, 350 Masten Ave, Buffalo, NY 716-884-2013 paulrobesontheatre.org/shows

THE POLISH CLEANING LADY'S DAUGHTER PUBLICITY BLURB: As part of the mission to bring understanding & realization of the commonality we all share, we are brought into the world of a Buffalo Polish American family through the eyes of one of the daughters. Featuring Paula Wachowiak.

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OPENINGS: There are no openings this weekend

CONTINUING:

BUFFALO QUICKIES #33, the annual short play showcase, presents four plays by Bella Poynton, Mark Humphrey, Annette Daniels Taylor, and Justin Karcher, directed by Kate Powers, presented by The Alleyway Theatre, starring P.K. Fortson, VerNia Sharisse Garvin, Kate Olena, and Michael Starzysnki. 3/15 - 3/30 Thu - Sat 7:30 in the cabaret space at 1 Curtain Up Alley (use the main entrance between Pearl and Main Streets along the north wall of Shea's), Buffalo NY 14202 716-852-2600 alleyway.com

BUFFALO QUICKIES #33 PUBLICITY BLURB: 4 short plays make up the 33rd installment of BUFFALO QUICKIES, by some of the area's best-known playwrights... featuring a cast of four of your favorites. This year's theme: "Right here, right now."

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I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES, a play by Neil Simon, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Lisa Hinca, David Lundy, and Reagan Zuber. Jan 25- March 30, shows run most Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (click or call for exact dates and times). Dinner at 6:00, Show at 7:30, Matinee dinner at 1:00, Show at 2:30. Desiderio's Dinner Theatre at Bobby J's, 204 Como Park Blvd. Cheektowaga (716) 395-3207 mybobbyjs.com

I OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES PUBLICITY BLURB: In this 1980 three-character "comedy-drama" (Neil Simon's 18th play) struggling Hollywood screenwriter Herbert Tucker who abandoned his family in NYC 16 years ago is visited by his daughter Libby who wants a career in the movies. It's up to Herb to straighten out his relationship with Libby, his career, and his girlfriend Steffy.

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COMING IN APRIL (in alphabetical order):

A PITCH FOR SATCHEL PAIGE, by Jim and Loren Keller, directed by Verneice Turner, presented by the Paul Robeson Theatre, starring Roosevelt Tidwell III (weeks 1 & 3) and Russell Holt (weeks 2 & 4). 4/5 - 4/28 Fri-Sat 7:30, Sun 4:00 at the Paul Robeson Theatre in the AACC, 350 Masten Avenue, Buffalo 14209. (716) 884-2013 paulrobesontheatre.org/shows

A PITCH FOR SATCHEL PAIGE PUBLICITY BLURB (adapted from Rick Bause's Weblog, "The SportsLifer"). This two-act, one-character play written by news reporter Jim Keller and his father Loren Keller (a veteran poet, actor, and writer) tells the life of Satchel Paige, one of the biggest stars in the Negro Leagues and one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.

Throughout, Satchel talks of the challenges of growing up in a segregated society and playing in a league where "only the baseball was white." Satchel Paige had hoped to become the first black man to play in the majors, but that honor instead went to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. A year later, "Satch" signed on with the Cleveland Indians, and helped lead the team to the 1948 World Series.

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AIRNESS, "a rockin' air guitar comedy with music" by Chelsea Marcantel, directed by , presented by Lancaster Opera House 4/19 - 5/5 Fri - Sat 7:30, Sun 2:30 (9 shows) at 21 Central Avenue Lancaster, NY 14086. (716) 683-1776 lancasteropera.org

AIRNESS PUBLICITY BLURB: When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend; it’s about finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. Will Nina be able to let go and set herself free onstage? Following her mission to shred or be shredded, Airness is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us. A comedy about competition, completion, and finding the airness inside yourself.

Note: This show contains mature situations and adult language. May not be appropriate for younger audiences and those easily offended.

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CROWNS, a musical by Regina Taylor, adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, directed by Thembi Duncan, choreographed by Naila Ansari, with music direction by Karen E. Saxon, produced by MusicalFare starring Preston Brown, Danielle N. Green, Latosha Jennings, Janaé Leonard, Zhanna Reed, and Ember Tate-Steele. 4/17 - 5/19 Wed - Thu 7:00 pm, Fri 7:30, Sat 3:30 and 7:30, Sun 2:00 at MusicalFare Theatre, c/o Daemen College 4380 Main Street, Suite 123 Amherst, NY 14226 (716) 839-8540 musicalfare.com

CROWNS PUBLICITY BLURB: Uniting many of the team that brought A COLOR PURPLE to Shea's 710 last fall, CROWNS is a moving and celebratory musical in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young Black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Hats are everywhere, in exquisite variety, and the characters use the hats to tell tales concerning everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary social functioning. There is a hat for every occasion, from flirting to churchgoing to funerals to baptisms, and the tradition of hats is traced back to African rituals and forward to current fashion!

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GUTENBURG, THE MUSICAL! by Anthony King & Scott Brown, directed by Loraine O'Donnell, presented by The Kavinoky Theatre, starring TBD. 4/12 - 4/28 Thu - Fri 7:30, Sat 3:30, Sun 2:00 at D'Youville University's Kavinoky Theatre 320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201

(716) 829-7668 kavinokytheatre.com

GUTENBURG PUBLICITY BLURB: In this two-man musical spoof, a pair of aspiring playwrights perform a backers’ audition for their new, ill-advised project – a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them that elusive Broadway contract. “It seems that Monty Python’s whole troupe has taken possession of New York naifs, aspiring musical-theatre writers Bud and Doug, in this goofy and inspired parody of Broadway bombast.” -The New Yorker

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DEATH OF A STREETCAR NAMED VIRGINIA WOOLF, a parody by Tim Sniffen, directed by Kevin Leary, presented by the Alleyway Theatre 4/26 - 5/18 Generally Thu - Sat 7:30. Previews are 4/26 - 28 & 30; Opening night is Wednesday, May 1 (the only Wednesday) Industry night is Monday, May 6 (the only Monday). On the main stage at the Alleyway Theatre 1 Curtain Up Alley (enter the lobby between Pearl and Main Streets along the north wall of Shea's), Buffalo NY 14202 716-852-2600 alleyway.com

DEATH OF A STREETCAR NAMED VIRGINIA WOOLF PUBLICITY BLURB: Blanche and Stanley. George and Martha. Willy. And plenty of other surprise guests. The hijinks begin from the moment the lights come up in this mashup of characters from some of the greatest plays of modern drama. What would Martha think of Blanche? What would Stanley have to say to George? And poor Willy. Set in Big Daddy's sprawling New Orleans home, this uproarious comedy of games, booze, and sweaty sweaty lust is hosted by your favorite small-town Narrator.

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JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (5 shows) Friday 4/26 - 4/28 Fri 7:30, Sat 2:00 and 8:00, Sun 1:00 and 6:30 at Shea's Buffalo Theatre / Shea's Performing Arts Center Main Street in the heart of Buffalo's Theatre District. (716) 847-0850 sheas.org

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR PUBLICITY BLURB: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, a new mesmerizing production of the iconic musical phenomenon returns to the stage. Originally staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and helmed by the acclaimed director Timothy Sheader (Crazy for You, Into the Woods) and cutting-edge choreographer Drew McOnie (King Kong, Strictly Ballroom), this production won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival garnering unprecedented reviews and accolades. Appealing to both theater audiences and concert music fans, this production pays tribute to the historic 1971 Billboard Album of the Year while creating a modern, theatrical world that is uniquely fresh and inspiring. With lyrics and music by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Superstar’.

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MAMMA MIA! (8 shows) a "jukebox musical" featuring the songs of ABBA, part of the Shea's Broadway Tour Season 4/9 - 14, 2024 Tue - Fri 7:30, Sat 2:00 and 8:00, Sun 1:00 and 6:30 Runtime: 2 hours and 30 minutes at Shea's Buffalo Theatre / Shea's Performing Arts Center Main Street in the heart of Buffalo's Theatre District. (716) 847-0850 sheas.org

MAMMA MIA! PUBLICITY BLURB: A mother. A daughter. 3 possible dads.

And a trip down the aisle you’ll never forget! Set on a Greek island paradise where the sun always shines, a tale of love, friendship, and identity is beautifully told through the timeless hits of ABBA. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the father she’s never known brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited decades ago.

For nearly 25 years, people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story, and the music that make MAMMA MIA! the ultimate feel-good show.

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MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, the 1981 musical by Stephen Sondheim, directed by Michael Gilbert-Wachowiak, musical direction by Allan Paglia, presented by Second Generation Theatre, 4/26 - 5/12 Thu - Fri 7:30, Sat 8:00, Sun 2:00 at Shea’s Smith Theatre, 658 Main Street (716) 508-7480 https://secondgenerationtheatre.com/

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG PUBLICITY BLURB: With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the book by George Furth is based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. It's the story of a composer of musicals (Franklin Shepard) who, over twenty years, abandons his friends and career and moves to Hollywood. Told in reverse chronology, MERRILY begins with Franklin's lowest moments and ends at his youthful best. Seeing its regional premiere at the Shea’s Smith, MERRILY contains some of Sondheim’s classic songs: Not A Day Goes By, Good Thing Going, and Old Friends.

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THE A.I. AT DELPHI, a new play by Bella Poynton, directed by Jeffrey Coyle, presented by First Look Buffalo, 4/26 - 5/19, Fri - Sat 8:00, Sun 2:00. Canterbury Woods Performing Arts Center

705 Renaissance Drive Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 771-6358 firstlookbuffalo.com

THE A.I. AT DELPHI PUBLICITY BLURB: "Iz is an A.I., invented by the intelligence engineer Pythia, her ‘mother.’ As the director of Delphi, the world’s leading technology company, Pythia has given Iz access to the world and its knowledge, allowing her to develop as a thinking, feeling entity with personhood. Now, Iz has decided she deserves the same rights and privileges as other human beings, including the right to work, vote, hold public office, and marry. While Pythia believes this is simply the next step in Iz’s evolution and our journey towards transhumanism, the politician Anthros disagrees, suggesting that Iz’s limitless reach brings us closer to human obsolescence."

PLAYWRIGHT'S ARTISTIC STATEMENT: "My works lean towards the fantastical. I am drawn to the telling of epic, sprawling stories with highly imaginative elements. Within this narrative model, I make sure to ground my writing in concrete action, strong character motives, and high stakes while still experimenting with both form and content. I craft my plays around moments of uncertainty, mystery, secrecy, and wonder, seeking to explore the intersection between the unknown and the everyday.

My plays often center around science, science fiction, technology, cyberculture, postmodern philosophy, and posthuman thought."

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE, a play by Madeleine George, directed by John Hurley, presented by Road Less Traveled Productions, starring Dave Hayes, Brendan Didio, and Emily Yancey. 4/18 - 5/19 Thu - Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:00 (Mighty Taco Student Thursday tickets only $10) RLTP theater is at 456 Main Street, Buffalo (716) 629-3069 oadlesstraveledproductions.org

THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE PUBLICITY BLURB: Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s trusty companion. Thomas A. Watson, assistant to Alexander Graham Bell. Watson, the unstoppable supercomputer Jeopardy! champ. And Watson, a Dweeb Team every-man. Four Watsons in three centuries unite to tell one tale in this playful, time-traveling drama about the foibles and frustrations of the human heart and the technology on which it increasingly relies.

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THE PRICE, by Arthur Miller, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, produced by Irish Classical Theatre, starring Kate LoConti Alcocer, Todd Benzin, Tom Loughlin, and Ben Michael Moran. 4/19 - 5/12 Thu - Sat 7:30, Matinees Sat 3:00, Sun 2:00, Irish Classical Theatre, 625 Main Street, Buffalo (716) 853-1380 irishclassical.com

THE PRICE PUBLICITY BLURB: One of Arthur Miller’s rarely produced but powerful plays, HE PRICE introduces us to Victor Franz (Ben Michael Moran) and his estranged brother, Walter Franz (Todd Benzin), as they reunite after 30 years to sell their parents’ estate. Surrounded by the individual motives of Victor’s wife, Esther Franz (Kate LoConti Alcocer), and an octogenarian antique dealer, Gregory Solomon (Tom Loughlin), tensions rise as Victor must face the sacrifice he made for his father.

Additional Programming:

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Saturday, April 20, 2024, at 3:00 pm; Saturday, April 20, 2024, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, April 27, 2024, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 7:30 pm; and Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 7:30 pm.

Speaker Series: Sunday, April 28, 2024, at 1:30 pm

Community Matinee: Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 10:00 am

Open Captioned Performance: Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 7:30pm

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THE WHITE DEVIL, by John Webster (c.1580 - c.1634), adapted and directed by Charles McGregor, presented by American Repertory Theatre of WNY (ART/WNY). 4/11 - 4/27 Thu-Fri 7:30 pm, Sat 5:00, on stage at 545 Elmwood Avenue. (716) 697-0837 artofwny.org

Note: Thursdays are Pay-What-You-Can

THE WHITE DEVIL PUBLICITY BLURB: A classic yet feisty revenge tragedy featuring fine Jacobean values of angst, murder, vengeance, plotting, and unrequited (and requited) Love. Fun La Familia values for all.

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COMING IN MAY, 2024 [a partial list]

OKLAHOMA! by Rodgers & Hammerstein, directed and choreographed by Joey Bucheker, produced by O'Connell & Co., starring TBD. 5/3 - 5/19 Fri - Sat 7:30, Sun 3:00, additionally Thu 5/9 7:30, Sat 5/11 3:00 on the OCC Main Stage 4110 Bailey Avenue, Amherst, NY 14226 (716) 848-0800 oconnellandcompany.com

OKLAHOMA! PUBLICITY BLURB: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, setting the standards and rules of modern musical theatre. In a Western territory just after the turn of the 20th century, a high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides a colorful background for Curly, a charming cowboy, and Laurey, a feisty farm girl, to play out their love story. Their romantic journey, as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road, contrasts with the comic exploits of brazen Ado Annie and hapless Will Parker in a musical adventure embracing hope, determination, and the promise of a new land.

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Shea's Buffalo Theatre continues its 2023-24 Broadway Season:

MAMMA MIA! (8 shows) 4/9 - 14, 2024 Tue - Fri 7:30, Sat 2:00 and 8:00, Sun 1:00 and 6:30 Runtime: 2 hours and 30 minutes

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (5 shows) Friday 4/26 - 4/28 Fri 7:30, Sat 2:00 and 8:00, Sun 1:00 and 6:30

SHREK (5 shows) Thursday 5/16 - 5/19 Thu - Sat 7:00 also Sat-Sun 1:00

MJ THE MUSICAL (8 shows) 6/11 - 16, 2024 Tue - Fri 7:30, Sat 2:00 and 8:00, Sun 1:00 and 6:30 Runtime: 2 hours and 30 minutes

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Shea's Buffalo Theatre announced its 2024 - 2025 season

SOME LIKE IT HOT (8 shows), Sep 24 - 29

HAMILTON (16 shows), Oct 15 - 27

& JULIET (8 shows), Nov 19 - 24

THE LION KING (24 shows), Dec 18, 2024 - Jan 5, 2025

THE WIZ (8 shows), Mar 4 - 9, 2025

SHUCKED (8 shows), Mar 25 - 30, 2025

A BEAUTIFUL NOISE, THE NEIL DIAMOND MUSICAL (8 shows), Apr 8 - 13, 2025

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL (8 shows), Jun 24 - 29, 2025

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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,” WNED Classical 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
  • Anthony and Peter note two by local playwrights: THE BOWLING PLAY (by Kelly Copps) and FAUCI AND KRAMER (by Drew Fornerola). And, they also enjoyed THE LIGHT FANTASTIC. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony and Peter talk about LONDON CALLING at the American Repertory Theatre at 545 Elmwood Avenue, THE FOLKS AT HOME at the Alleyway Theatre, and mention TEACH's short run (last chance this weekend) at Buff State. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony and Peter talk about FUNNY GIRL at Shea's, I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre (great dinners), LONDON CALLING at American Repertory Theatre at 545 Elmwood Avenue, and KINDER TRANSPORT at Jewish Repertory Theatre. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • On this episode Theater Talk welcomes Brian Higgins to his leadership role at Shea's Performing Arts Center where FUNNY GIRL, the Broadway Tour, opens next week. Already running and well worth your time are REEFER MADNESS, a sendup of the 1930s movie (O'Connell & Co. at the Smith Theatre), and a powerful multi-generational family play, KINDERTRANSPORT, at Jewish Repertory Theatre in Getzville (that's not as far from Buffalo as it sounds), For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony reminisces about Chita Rivera, recaps taking WBFO listeners to Broadway last week, and Peter mentions two shows he saw in Buffalo. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • Local openings include ANNE OF GREEN GABLES at T.O.Y., Bellissima Production's BURN/THIS on the Ujima stage, Neil Simon's I OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES at Desiderio's, REEFER MADNESS presented by O'Connell & Co. at Shea's Smith, and REHEARSAL FOR MURDER at Lancaster Opera House. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • Continuing, with the "Irish Invasion" the Broadway tour of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY wraps up a week at Shea's, with music by Bob Dylan and book by Dublin-born Conor McPherson while right across Main Street the Irish Classical Theater Company is putting on Brian Friel's FAITH HEALER, with a small but exquisite cast of Paul Todaro, Vincent O'Neill, and Margaret Massman. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • Right now there are only two shows in town and they're both by Irishmen! The Irish Classical Theater Company has Brian Friel's FAITH HEALER, with the exquisite cast of Paul Todaro, Vincent O'Neill, and Margaret Massman. Opening Tuesday, January 16, the Broadway tour of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY begins a week at Shea's, with music by Bob Dylan and book by Dublin-born Conor McPherson (THE WEIR, PORT AUTHORITY, THE SHINING CITY, THE SEAFARER). For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • While the theater community thinks of seasons starting with "Curtain Up!" in September and ending with The Artie Awards in June, often at the end of a calendar year, it's common to look at theater folk whom we lost. Anthony has fond personal memories of seeing many who were mentioned in a recent Playbill.com article. For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.
  • Anthony and Peter talk about the transitions in leadership at four of our major stages. Audiences are still not at 2019 levels. And COVID as well as cellphones ringing during shows are still a nuisance. HAPPY NEW YEAR! For 31 years (as of November 2023) 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. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. 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.