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Theater Talk: Contemporary themes explored in tonight's openings.

Opening tonight, THE SHIPMENT, deals with multiculturalism and cultural identity while EL HAJJ MALIK concerns the life of Malcolm X. Both of these plays will appeal to audiences of BAD JEWS and FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN. Meanwhile, LOAD MORE GUYS deals with on-line gay hook-ups, a topic in the news recently.

Opening tonight are EL HAJJ MALIK, a play by N.R. Davidson presented by Ujima, directed by Lorna C. Hill, starring Brian Brown, Perris Fortson, Preach Freedom, Tuhran Gethers, Tanika Holmes, Daisy Medina, Shanntina Moore, Zoe Viola Scruggs. It’s up through March 6, Fridays  & Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 6 at Alleyway’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (281-0092). www.ujimacoinc.org. 

The BUA's LOAD MORE GUYS is adults only at the Alleyway.

Also, LOAD MORE GUYS, the world premiere of the play with music written and directed by Todd Warfield, presented by Buffalo United Artists, starring Michael Seitz, Tyler Brown, Joey Bucheker, Sean Marciniak, Aaron Mrowka, Sean Murphy, David Spychalski, Bebe Bvlgari. It runs through March 12, Fridays  & Saturdays at 8, no one under the age of 18 admitted, Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org.

The politics of identity are explored in THE SHIPMENT at the Torn Space Theater.

And THE SHIPMENT, a play by Young Jean Lee presented by Torn Space, directed by Dan Shanahan, starring Dudney Joseph, Danica Riddick, Peter Johnson, Greg Howze, Roosevelt Tidwell runs through March 12, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 (but Feb. 26 & Mar. 4 at 7), plus March 13 at 7:30 at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave. (812-1733). www.tornspacetheater.com

Ongoing productions include the very highly recommended BAD JEWS, a comedy by Joshua Harmon presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Steve Vaughan, starring Arin Lee Dandes, Jamie Nablo, Adam Rath, Nick Stevens. Through February 28, Thursdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 4 & 8, Sundays at 2.  The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (688-4114 x391). www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com

FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN, play by Will Power directed by Laverne Clay, starring Johnny Rowe, Joe Giambra, Leon Copeland, Courtney Turner, Fisher. Through February 28, Fridays & Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 4. Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013). www.aaccbuffalo.org

ORDINARY DAYS, a musical by Adam Gwon is presented by O’Connell & Company, directed by Victoria Perez, starring Reed Bentley, Edith Grossman, Adam Hayes, Jennel Pruneda. Through February 21, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

Also recommended is RING OF FIRE, the musical featuring the songs of Johnny Cash, directed by Michael Walline, starring Katie Clark, Steve Copps, Kevin Craig, Philip Farugia, Bob Mazierski, Theresa Quinn, Zak Ward, Maggie Zindle. Through February 28, Wed & Thursdays at 7, Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 4 & 7, Sundays at 2. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com
LOVE’S PASSIONATE FIRE – Shakespeare’s Sonnets, directed and conceived by Kelli Bocock-Natale, starring Eric Rawski, Bobby Cooke, Nick Lama, Michael Wachowiak, Noah Doktor, Joseph Natale. February 12-27, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8. The New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park. (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, the world premiere adaptation of Mark Twain's classic novel, written and directed by L. Don Swartz, starring DJ Swartz, Ben Torres, Daniel Arrasjid. February 11-21, Thursdays at 7, Fridays & Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda (743-1614).www.starrynighttheatre.com

COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN, play by Ed Graczyk presented by Batavia Players. February 12-20, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2.  Harvester 56 Theater, 56 Harvester Ave. #15, Batavia (585-861-6471). www.BataviaPlayers.org.

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:45 and 8:45 during Morning Edition.
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