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Theater Talk: Over 15 venues have Curtain Up! shows, including a stunning PRODUCERS at The Kavinoky

(Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Curtain Up! this Friday night, September 15, marks the opening of the 2017-2018 theater season, with a formal dinner, some informal dining at Expo, shows along Main Street between Tupper and Chippewa (recently dedicated as "The Chris O'Neill Way"), but all over the area as well, including a spectacular version of Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS at the Kavinoky Theatre on Porter Avenue.

The deft touch of director Lynne Kurdziel Formato is apparent at every moment of THE PRODUCERS up at The Kavinoky Theatre through October 1. It's an all-Buffalo, all-star ensemble of actors and actresses who, as great as they are, are even better in this show. Other venues opened "early" (pre-Curtain Up1) including ART (American Repertory Theater) which specializes in noir plays about Quentin Tarantino-like folks who get themselves in bad situations, including a man with a gambling problem in Mark Humphrey's THE ROOMMATES. And, while not "noir," Road Less Traveled Productions presents a beautifully staged, acted, and directed, slightly creepy story about screwed up relationships in the play JOHN.  Meanwhile, Anthony flew down to Denver to see a preview of the Broadway bound Disney animated feature FROZEN in its on-stage reincarnation, with arresting on-stage visuals and magical special effects.

Credit Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News
Charmagne Chi in one of her many, many roles and Norm Sham as Max Bialystock in THE PRODUCERS at The Kavinoky.


ANYTHING GOES, a musical by Cole Porter presented by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild, directed by Dan Zerpa, starring Michelle Holden, M. Joseph Fratello, Chris Andreanna, Marni Stone, John Panepinto, Kelsey Giampoala. Sep 15-Oct 1, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 3, plus Sep 30 at 3.  Ellicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Rd., Tonawanda (260-2319). www.niagaratheatre.com

Adam Yellen, Sara Kow Falcone, and Darleen Pickering Hummert in JOHN at Road Less Traveled Productions.

DESIGN FOR LIVING, a comedy by Noel Coward presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Kate LoConti, Adriano Gatto, Ben Michael Moran. Sep 15-Oct 8, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3 & 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 15 at 8). Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). www.irishclassicaltheatre.com

IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE, a play by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen adapted from the novel by Sinclair Lewis, presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Kurt Schneiderman, starring Dennis Keefe, Christopher Standart, J. Tim Raymond. Sep 14-Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 8. The Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499). www.subversivetheatre.org

KILLER RACK: The Feminist, Horror Musical Comedy, world premiere of the musical written and directed by Neal Radice, starring Emily Yancey, Nathan Andrew Miller, Kim Piazza, Joey Bucheker, Kyle Baran, Andrew Zuccari, James Cichocki, Heather Reed, Sabrina Kahwaty, Colleen A. Pine. Sep 14-Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 7:30 (Sep 15 at 8). Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com

MY OLD LADY, a play by Israel Horovitz directed by Michael Lodick, starring Eileen Dugan, Anne Gayley, Richard Lambert. Sep 15-Oct 7, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS, a comedy by Richard Alfieri starring Loretta Swit, David Engel. Sep 14-17, Wed & Thu at 7:30, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org/710main

SONS & LOVERS, a new play by Donna Hoke presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Tod Fuller, starring Caitlin Baeumler Coleman, Steve Brachmann, A. Peter Snodgrass, Dave Granville. Sep 15-30, Fri & Sat at 8, plus Oct 1 at 7. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a comedy by Robert Harling, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Sami Carol, starring Dawn Ansel, Betsy Bittar, Patricia Crowe, Elaine Meranto, Rasheedah Muhammad, Airy Nikohl. Sep 15-24, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun. at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).


JOHN, a play by Annie Baker, directed by David Oliver, starring Darleen Pickering Hummert, Priscilla Young Anker, Sara Kow Falcone, Adam Yellen. Through Oct 1, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 15 at 8). Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, musical by Dolly Parton & Patricia Resnick presented by Rocking Horse Productions, directed by Leigha Eichhorn, starring Susana Breese, Anne DeFazio, Derrik Reynolds, Emily Styn. Through Sep 24, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30 (Sep 15 at 8). Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.LancOpera.org

PETER & THE STARCATCHER, play by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, music by Wayne Barker, directed by Chris Kelly, starring Jacob Albarella, Anthony Alcocer, Bobby Cooke, Steve Copps, Kevin Craig, Philip Farugia, Renee Landrigan, Jordan Levin, Jesse Tiebor, Daniel Torres, Doug Weyand, Preston D. Williams. Through Oct 8, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 15 at 8). MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

THE PRODUCERS, the musical by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan, directed by Lynne Kurdziel Formato, starring Norm Sham, Brian Mysliwy, Arianne Davidow, Greg Gjurich, Marc Sacco, Todd Benzin. Through Oct 1, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2 (Sep 15 at 8). Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

ROOMMATES, the world premiere of a play by Mark Humphrey, presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Drew McCabe, starring Victor Morales, Michael J Starzynski, Brett Klaczyk. Through Sep 23, Thu-Sat at 8. The 330 Performance Space, 330 Amherst St. (697-0837). www.artofwny.org

THE FEVER, an interactive piece by 600 Highwaymen presented by Torn Space Theater. Sep 15 at 7:30, Sep 16 at 4 & 7:30. The Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave. www.tornspacetheater.com

GENTLEMEN PREFER DIVAS, a cabaret performance conceived, written and directed by Mary Kate O’Connell, presented by O’Connell & Company. Sep 15-17, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a comedy by Robert Harling presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Kyle LoConti, starring Lisa Ludwig, Lisa Hinca, Justyne Harris, Maureen Porter, Mary McMahon and Bethany Gruendike. Sep 21-Dec 3, Thu, Sat & Sun, 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


MADAMA BUTTERFLY, the famous opera by Giacomo Puccini presented by Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Sep 22 at 8, Sep 24 at 2:30. Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005). www.buffalooperaunlimited.org

ON YOUR FEET, a touring production the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino, directed by Jerry Mitchell. Sep 22-30. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org


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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