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Theater Talk: Anthony likes Shea's next Season lineup, last weekend to see shows before "Easter Break" (see listings for April openings)

BFLO QUICKIES #33 closes this weekend at Alleyway Cabaret L-R VerNia Sharisse Garvin, Kate Olena, Mike Starzynski, P.K. Fortson
Sarah Potter
/
The Alleyway Theatre
BFLO QUICKIES #33 closes this weekend at Alleyway Cabaret L-R VerNia Sharisse Garvin, Kate Olena, Mike Starzynski, P.K. Fortson

This week, Anthony and Peter discuss the upcoming Shea's season 2024 - 2025 (see listing below). Anthony went to see PAJAMA GAME in its final weekend at Lancaster Opera House. More shows begin their runs next week, but as far as Easter weekend, your two choices are I OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre and BFLO QUICKIES #33 at the Alleyway.

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!):

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.

OPENINGS: There are no openings this week (see April listings below)

CONTINUING: No plays continue this week

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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I F*CKED YOU IN MY SPACESHIP, a play by Louis Emmitt-Stern, produced by Buffalo United Artists (BUA) starring Paige Batt, Andrew Brown, Jeremy Catania, Jason Francey, Sadie Roberts, Aaron Saldana. 5/3 - 25 Fri 7:30 Sat 5:00 at Compass Performing Arts Center 545 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo.

I F*CKED YOU IN MY SPACESHIP PUBLICITY BLURB: Two couples each invite a stranger into their homes in the hope of sparking new life. Instead, they find themselves threatened by invasion. Louis Emmitt-Stern's uncanny and razor-sharp sci-fi comedy-drama premiered at the Vault Festival 2023 (London, England). It won the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work before transferring to Soho Theatre. 'I F*cked You In My Spaceship' is devilishly funny, exploring modern-day queer relationships, polyamory/ethical non-monogamy, and the inevitable failings when communication breaks down.

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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”).
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