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Theater Talk: BIG FISH opens to delighted audiences; BPO brings Broadway stars; HUNCHBACK too!

Mark Duggan

BIG FISH delights, with its nuclear family set against a swirl of tall tales and larger than life characters, on a re-designed Shea's Smith Theatre stage. This week it's all about musicals, musicals, musicals.

Over at Kleinhans this morning at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 8:00 Broadway's Debby Gravitte and friends join the Buffalo Philharmonic to sing the music of Jerry Herman (Mame, Hello Dolly, and Mack and Mabel - his best score, says Anthony). And other Broadway actors will team up with local professionals and high school students for a concert performance of Menken and Schwartz's THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at Buff State's Rockwell Hall, tonight and twice on Saturday.


PIPPIN, musical by Schwartz & Hirson presented by UB Department of Theatre & Dance, directed by Paul Stancato. Oct 18-28, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. UB Center for the Arts, Drama Theatre (645-2787).

THE TAMING, play by Lauren Gunderson presented by The Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Jennifer Fitzery, Jessica Leigh Tokarski, Emily Yancey, Stefanie Warnick. Oct 19-Nov 3, Fri & Sat at 8. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (598-1585).


BIG FISH, (Anthony and Peter reviews) musical by Lippa & August presented by Second Generation Theatre, directed by Michael Walline, starring Louis Colaiacovo, Michele Marie Roberts, Ricky Needham, Victoria Pérez, Brittany Bassett, Stevie Jackson, Bethany Burrows, Jacob Albarella, Bobby Cooke, Preston Williams, Noah Bielecki, Dave Spychalski, Alexandria Watts, Alejandro Gomez. Through Oct 28, Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. (847-1410). www.secondgenerationtheatre.com

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, musical by Ashman & Menken presented by O'Connell & Company, directed by Joey Bucheker, starring Jenny McCabe, Mathew Mooney, Dan Morris, Daniel Lendzian, Jack Hayes, Marta Aracelis Torres, Emily Pici, Mercedes Perez, Zach Haumesser, Ben Caldwell, Matt Myers. Through Oct 28, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com

SHE LOVES ME, musical by Harnick & Masteroff presented by Aurora Players, directed by Patricia Hoefler, starring Paul Waara, Suzie Hibbard.  Through Oct 27, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2:30. Roycroft Pavilion, Hamlin Park on South Grove St., East Aurora (687-6727). www.auroraplayers.org

THE STRUDEL LADY, world premiere of a musical by Shirl Solomon presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Lisa Ludwig, Tom Makar, David Marciniak, Mary Kate O’Connell. Through Oct 28, Thu at 7:30, Sat at 4 & 8, Sun at 2.  The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville (650-7626). www.jewishrepertorytheatre.com


BROADWAY LEGACY CONCERT, with Broadway's Debbie Gravitte, Klea Blackhurst, Ron Raines, and Scott Coulter (and two lucky Niagara University theater majors) and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra perform the music of Jerry Herman (Mame, Hello Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, and Mack and Mabel which Anthony says is his best score) at Kleinhans Music Hall this Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. (free coffee and doughnuts) and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. (885-5000) www.bpo.org

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY’S GREATEST HITS, created & written by Gerard Alessandrini, directed by Michael Wachowiak, starring Marc Sacco, Maria Droz, Dan Urtz, Nicole Marrale-Cimato. Oct 19 at 8, Oct 21 at 2, Oct 27 at 4 & 8, Oct 28 at 2, Nov 3 at 4 & 8, Nov 4 at 2.The Premier Cabaret at MusicalFare Theatre (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, concert performance of the musical by Menken & Schwartz presented by Starring Buffalo, starring Broadway's Alex Wyse and Dan’yelle Williamson, prominent local performers Leah Berst, Charmagne Chi, Arianne Davidow, Keith Ersing, Matthew Iwanski-Jackson, Dudney Joseph, Ben Michael Moran, Katy Miner, Raphael Santos, and a host of high school students at the start of their careers. Three shows only: Oct 19 at 7:30, Oct 20 at 2 & 7:30. Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005).

SOCIAL SECURITY, comedy by Andrew Bergman presented by Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, directed by Susan Toomey, starring Lisa Hinca, Larry Smith, Marc-Jon Filippone, Margo Davis, Eileen Dugan, Lawrence Rowswell. Through Oct 28, 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


AFTERGLOW, play by S. Asher Gelman presented by Buffalo United Artists, directed by Todd Fuller, starring Jonathan Beckner, Christopher Clark, Mickey Harmon. Nov 2-24, Fri & Sat at 8 plus Nov 18 at 7. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (886-9239).

A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2, play by Lucas Hnath directed by Robert Waterhouse, starring Kristen Tripp Kelley, David Oliver, Anne Gayley, Leah Berst. Nov 2-25, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino. Oct 30-Nov 4, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2 & 7. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org

FOOL FOR LOVE, drama by Sam Shepard presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, directed by Kelli Natale, starring Eric Rawski, Candice Kogut, Steve Jakiel, Nicholas Lama. Nov 1-Thu-Sat at 8, plus Nov 11 at 7.  545 Elmwood Ave. (983-4345). www.artofwny.org

SPEED THE PLOW, play by David Mamet, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Matt Witten, Kevin Kennedy, Laura Barrierie  Oct 26-Nov 18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 456 Main St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

Continuing at the Shaw Festival, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 1-800-511-7429, shawfest.com (Drive time 60 minutes, but with bridge traffic allow two hours.)

HENRY V: First act set in a World War I trench, Second act in a military hospital.  At the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre through October 28 (end of season).

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES: by A.C. Doyle, dramatized, on the Festival stage through October 27.

The above are playing now at the Shaw Festival, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 1-800-511-7429, shawfest.com (Drive time 60 minutes, but with bridge traffic allow two hours.)

And, a little further west of the Shaw, currently up at the Stratford Festival, 55 Queen Street, Stratford, Ontario, 1-800-567-1600, stratfordfestival.ca. (Drive time 2-1/2 hours, possibly more depending on bridge traffic) we have:

AN IDEAL HUSBAND by Oscar Wilde. Upper class blackmail and hijinx, at the Avon Theatre, through October 28,

CORIOLANUS by Shakespeare directed by the formidable Robert LaPage and starring Shaw favorite (on loan) Andre Sills. A must see at the Avon Theatre through October 20.

JULIUS CAESAR by Shakespeare, a gender bender starring Seana McKenna in the title role. At the Festival Theatre through October 27.

NAPOLI MILIONARIA! by Eduardo De Filippo stars Tom McCamus (what a voice!) and Brigit Wilson (who played Tillie Boulter in the 1987 "Anne of Avonlea" seen locally on PBS). At the Avon Theatre through October 27.

THE MUSIC MAN by Meredith Willson is a traditional favorite, lovingly produced with stunning dance numbers, and the greated "Wells Fargo Wagon" horse puppet you'll ever see. At the Festival Theatre through November 3.

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Richard O'Brien, in which the cult movie becomes a musical. It's getting great reviews at the Avon Theatre, but leave your toast and squirt guns home, through October 31 (of course!)

THE TEMPEST by Shakespeare. More gender bending with Martha Henry as Prospero, at the Festival Theatre through October 26.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Harper Lee’s novel brought to the stage, dramatized by Christopher Sergel at the Festival Theatre through November 4.

The above are currently on stage at the Stratford Festival, 55 Queen Street, Stratford, Ontario, 1-800-567-1600, stratfordfestival.ca. (Drive time 2-1/2 hours, possibly more depending on bridge traffic.)

Local (WNY) listings adapted from "On The Boards" appearing in Artvoice 10/10/2018.
Shaw and Stratford listings style inspired by "Playbill" appearing in The Public.

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,” Classical 94.5 / WNED 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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