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Arts & Culture

Theater Talk: PRETTY FUNNY is, well, pretty funny! Last chance(s) for CLEOPATRA, NOISES, WIVES.


It's obvious that oodles of love and affection and time, that precious commodity, went into getting the new musical PRETTY FUNNY ready for its premiere. The consistently high level performances by ALL the cast members are well worthy of your time to see this charming "coming of age" story about 7th grade Genny, having trouble fitting in at school, who, with the spirit of Imogene Coca to guide her, overcomes all (parents in crisis, mean girls at school, awful teachers) to triumph at the end (and then go for ice cream with mom and dad and her two besties). And, if you have missed any of the three shows which close this Sunday, July 16, there are strong casts in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, NOISES OFF at Chautauqua's Bratton, and a summer remount of CLEOPATRA. Most productions honored at the 27th Annual Artie Awards presented by WNED|WBFO have completed their runs. But here you get a second chance to see Jimmy Janowski who received the Career Achievement Artie Award, Maria Droz who was Artie nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for CLEOPATRA, as well as Jimmy Janowski and Todd Warfield's Artie nominated Outstanding Costume Designs for CLEOPATRA. Looking for some high class entertainment? Buffalo Chamber Players will present a short opera, LA SERVA PADRONA (about a wily servant who becomes mistress of the house), at the Albright Knox Art Gallery next Friday night. Note: Theater Talk can be heard on Saturdays at 5:55 p.m. on Classical WNED 94.5 FM, just before "Footlight Parade."


PRETTY FUNNY, world premiere of a musical by Marisa Guida and Philip Farugia, directed by Randall Kramer, starring Arin Dandes as "Genny," Amy Jakiel as "mom," Lou Colaiacovo as "dad," and Nicole Cimato as "Imogene Coca," along with a variety of roles played by Brittney Basset, Rheanna Gallego, Leah Berst, Marc Sacco, Dan Urtz, and Michael Wachowiak. It runs through Aug 13, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

Credit Getty Images
The great comedienne from the "golden age" of television: Imogene Coca.


Maria Droz packs a lot of talent into a small frame in CLEOPATRA.

CLEOPATRA, comedy by Charles Busch presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Todd Warfield, starring Jimmy Janowski, Bebe Bvlgari, Maria Droz, Timothy Patrick Finnegan, Adam Hayes, Michael Seitz, Guy Tomassi. Through Jul 16, Fri at 8, Sat at 4 & 8, Sun at 7. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, comedy by William Shakespeare presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, directed by Eileen Dugan, starring Pamela Rose Mangus, Kate Conigisor, Priscilla Young Anker, Victoria Perez, Charmagne Chi, Julia Register, Caitlin Baeumler Coleman, Darleen Pickering Hummert, Diane DiBernardo, Josie DiVincenzo. Through Jul 16, Tue-Sun at 7:30. Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park (856-4533). www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org

NOISES OFF, comedy by Michael Frayn presented by Chautauqua Theater Company, directed by Andrew Borba. Through Jul 16. Bratton Theater, Chautauqua Institution (357-6250). www.ciweb.org/chautauqua-theater-company


FADED BEARS & FLAT BALLOONS, free public reading of a play by Ibn Shabazz, presented by Road Less Traveled Productions Regional Playwright Residency Program 2017, starring Fischer, Pete Johnson, Dudney Joseph, Shabar Rouse, John Rowe, Jake Hayes. Jul 16 at 7. 15 E. Utica St.

PROPOSALS, play by Neil Simon presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Jay Desiderio, starring Sandra Gilliam, David Marciniak, Chrissy Vogric-Hunnell, Jeremy Kreuzer, Lisa Hinca, Alex Hunnell, Alex King, Michelle Meer, Kinzy Brown. Through Jul 16, evening shows arrival at 6, show at 7:30; matinee shows arrival at 1, show at 2:30. Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga (395-3207). www.mybobbyjs.com


DETROIT ’67, play by Dominique Morisseau presented by Chautauqua Theater Company, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III. Jul 21-30. Bratton Theater, Chautauqua Institution (357-6250). www.ciweb.org/chautauqua-theater-company

MACBETH, tragedy by William Shakespeare presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Matt Witten, Lisa Vitrano, Chris Hatch, Jamie Nablo, Nick Stevens, Ray Boucher.  Jul 27-Aug 20, Tue-Sun at 7:30. Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park (856-4533). www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org

THE MUSICAL ADVENTURES OF FLAT STANLEY, based on the book by Jeff Brown, presented by The Friends of Niagara University Theatre, directed by Steven Braddock and Terri Filips Vaughan. Jul 20, 21, 22, 28 at 7; Jul 25 at 1; Jul 26 & 29 at 10:00 a.m. Leary Theatre, N.U. campus (286-8685).

SHAKESPEARE'S LA PUCELLE, presented by The Brazen-Faced Varlets as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Stefanie Warnick. Jul 27 at 4:30, Jul 29 at 12:30, Aug 1 at 6:30. Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant St. (598-1585).


LA SERVA PADRONA, a comic opera by 18th Century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi with soprano Colleen Marcello, baritone James Wright, and actor David Bondrow, Friday, July 21 at 7:30. Albright-Knox Sculpture Court. (270-8292) www.buffalochamberplayers.org

Baritone James Wright to sing at the Albright Knox Art Gallery next Friday in an opera - LA SERVA PADRONA.

Adapted from "On the Boards" in Artvoice July 13, 2017.

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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