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Theater Talk: Once again, a wonderfully busy week for area stages. See the listings for all of the openings!

DISASTER! at MusicalFare is an hilarious send-up of 1970s disaster movies with era-appropriate music
Doug Weyand
/
MusicalFare Theatre
DISASTER! at MusicalFare is an hilarious send-up of 1970s disaster movies with era-appropriate music

Both Anthony and Peter were quite amused by DISASTER! at MusicalFare and Peter enjoyed FURSONA NON GRATA at First Look Buffalo (on the Park School stage). (See listings below.)

As mentioned on a previous episode, Shea's will wrap up their next season with MJ THE MUSICAL with book by playwright Lynn Nottage. Her Pulitzer Prize and Best Play Tony Award Winning play SWEAT just opened at Road Less Traveled Productions. (See listings below.)

Shakespeare in love? Well, at least Shakespeare in Buffalo!

The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with UB, the UB Arts Collaboratory, and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL), will present a unique two-and-a-half-day local workshop exploring Shakespeare’s role in reinforcing and contesting questions of race, class and culture.

For details, click here: https://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2023/04/shakespeare-workshop.html

“Gilding the Guilt: The Gilded Age, Craft Production, and the Construction of Cultural Capital” will explore both the written and performance Shakespearean traditions as they relate to these questions with two keynotes at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, on April 27 and a performance demonstration at Ujima Company Inc., 429 Plymouth Ave. (Buffalo Public School 77), on April 28, as part of the Arts Collaboratory’s Working Artists Labs.

All events and performances on both days are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Be sure to sign up for Anthony's (free) blog theatertalkbuffalo.com to stay up to date on theatrical happenings in and out of town.

Anthony's reviews appear in The Buffalo News (buffalonews.com) and Peter's reviews appear in Buffalo Rising (buffalorising.com).

LOCAL LISTINGS ARE PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: CLOSINGS (last chances to see these plays), then OPENINGS (if any), then CONTINUING, then OPENINGS LATER IN APRIL.

CLOSING:

ROMANCE/ROMANCE, a musical, book and lyrics by Barry Harman, music by Keith Herrmann, directed by Lisa Ludwig, presented by O'Connell & Co., starring Bobby Cooke, Jenn Stafford, Thomas Evans and Gretchen

Didio, April 14 - 23, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Saturdays - Sundays at 3 (only 8 performances in total) at Shea's Smith Theatre, 716-847-1410

www.sheas.org/performances/romance-romance

ROMANCE/ROMANCE BLURB: The show is composed of two acts linked only by the common theme of love and one song used in both acts. The first, "The Little Comedy," explores the budding relationship between two members of the upper class, Josefine and Alfred who, to escape the boredom of their lives, have adopted personas other than their own. She takes on the role of a working-class woman and he pretends to be a starving poet. How well can they handle life without the trappings of wealth?

"Summer Share," the second act is set in The Hamptons, where two married couples in their thirties are spending the season in a rented cottage. Sam, who is married to Barb, and Monica, who is married to Lenny, find themselves gradually progressing from harmless flirtation to the serious possibility of an illicit affair.

OPENINGS THIS WEEK (listed alphabetically by title)

FIRST DATE, The Musical, Book by Austin Winsberg, Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner, directed by Ray Boucher, presented by Niagara County Community College’s Department of Theatre, starring Alexis Cueva and Brian Cunningham. ONLY FIVE PERFORMANCES! 4/19 at 7pm, 4/20 at 12:30, 4/21 at 7, and 4/22 at 3 and 7pm. Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road. For more information, please e-mail rboucher@niagaracc.suny.edu.

FIRST DATE BLURB: When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening.

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KRAGTAR!: THE AMERICAN MONSTER MUSICAL, by Kyle Wilson & Sam French, directed by Chris J Handley, presented by The Alleyway Theatre, starring Amy Jakiel, Amanda Funicello, Anthony Lazzaro, and Justin Gaskill. Previews are April 21,22,23,25 all at 7:30. Regular run April 26 - May 13, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30. Industry night is Monday, May 1. There is one matinee Saturday, May 6 at 3:30. The Alleyway Theatre Main Stage, 1 Curtain Up Alley (between Pearl St. and Main St. a few feet north of Shea's Buffalo) 716-852-2600 www.alleyway.com

KRAGTAR! BLURB: An ancient prophecy is coming true just in time for another government shutdown as a Godzilla-esque monster appears, leaving America in its wake of blood, tears, and trampled Chick-Fil-As. Scientists and former lovers Harry and Harvey must reunite to save the country — and maybe rekindle their love, too — as they face the dreaded Kragtar in battle. Unbeknownst to our heroes, however, there may be a far greater monster lurking in the shadows, ready to swallow America whole.

For fans of shows like Schmigadoon! and Reefer Madness, this brilliantly campy and zany new adventure musical teaches us that whether it's with a boy or girl, the most powerful (and rad) thing in the whole f*ckin’ world is … well, love.

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THE MAGIC FLUTE, an opera by Mozart, shortened to 2 hours, sung in English, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, stage directed by Julie Newell, Adam Luebke, chorusmaster, featuring the Hillman Opera Program at SUNY Fredonia Hillman Opera program, presented by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Two performances only, Saturday, April 22 at⋅7:30 and Sunday April 23 at 2:30 at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY, 14201. www.bpo.org

MAGIC FLUTE BLURB: Your BPO and the SUNY join to celebrate Mozart's beautiful fairy tale opera in a semi-staged performance of the cherished, lighthearted masterpiece. Including the instantly-recognizable "The Queen of the Night" aria, this special 2-hour production will be sung in English for opera fanatics and newcomers alike to enjoy.

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NETWORK, a play, from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted by Lee Hall, directed by Loraine O’Donnell, and presented by D'Youville University's Kavinoky Theatre. April 21 - May 14, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, with matinees on Saturdays at 3:30 and Sundays at 2:00 at the Kavinoky Theatre 320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201 716-829-7668 www.kavinokytheatre.com

NETWORK BLURB: “I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!” Howard Beale, a news anchorman, isn't pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast, he unravels live on screen. But when the ratings soar, the network seizes on their newfound populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall from the Paddy Chayefsky 1976 film, Network then seems to have predicted what we are experiencing today.

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PLAYING OUR SONG, a musical, book by Neil Simon, Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, directed by TBD, starring John and Tara Kaczorowski. April 21 - May 7, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue

Lancaster, NY 14086, (716) 683-1776 www.lancasteropera.org

PLAYING OUR SONG BLURB: Teaming America’s premier comedic playwright, Neil Simon, and the composer of A Chorus Line, Marvin Hamlisch, with beloved singer-songwriter, Carole Bayer Sager — all at the height of their careers — this humorously perceptive show about the relationship between a composer and a lyricist is an overlooked late-70s gem. The production features two favorite LOH performers: John and Tara Kaczorowski, last seen together here in the 2015 production of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

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RUST AND REDEMPTION: Requiem for a Buffalo Grunge Band by j. Snodgrass, directed by Matthew LaChiusa, presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY, starring Sarah Emmerling as "Silvia,' Brooke Goergen as "Angie," Cameron Kogut as "Nick," Charles McGregor as "Russ," and Monish Bhattacharyya as "Bartender." April 20th - May 13th, Thursdays - Fridays 7:30, Saturdays 5:00, at ART, 545 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo (716)-697-0837 www.artofwny.org

RUST AND REDEMPTION BLURB: For every Goo Goo Dolls, there are thousands of other talented bands that just don't make it because of whatever reasons (chemistry, artistic differences, or just plain ol' dumb luck), so welcome to Buffalo's best unheard band, Sidewalk Nickel.

Opening on April 20th, this tale of career opportunities that never knocked features a band that loved its chemistry, creativity, and music, but life got in the way. Now several years later and after being broken up, they must salvage what's left and preserve their band's legacy by selling their hit song "Canalside Summer" to a rival band on their nostalgia tour circuit.

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THE STICK WIFE, a play by Darrah Cloud, directed by David Oliver, presented by Revelation Theatre, a new theatre company in Buffalo, directed by David Oliver, starring Priscilla Young Anker, Kelly Meg Brennan, Christine Turturro, David Marciniak, Steve Jakiel, and Andrew Salamone. April 21 - May 14, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00 at the Flexible Theater, Donald Savage Building, Buffalo State University. Enter the campus via Rockwell Road. 716-213-7253 www.revelationtheatre.org

THE STICK WIFE BLURB: Set in Alabama in 1963, Darrah Cloud’s riveting play explores the relationships between three low-income white couples. As the women begin to realize that the perpetrators of a local act of racist violence are living in their homes, they begin to confront their men and the limitations of their own lives.

Revelation Theatre is a new theatre company in Buffalo with a focus on devising original plays and performances, and the production of lesser-known and challenging scripts.

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SWEAT, a play by Lynn Nottage, directed by Victoria Pérez, starring Lisa Vitrano, Peter Johnson, and David Mitchell alongside Jake Hayes, Diane DiBernardo, Davida Tolbert, Johnny Barden, Alejandro Gabriel Gómez, and John Vines. April 20 - May 21 Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00, presented by Road Less Traveled Productions, 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202, (716) 629-3069 roadlesstraveled.com

WEDNESDAY MAY 17 AT 7:00 there will be an "RLTP OFF-BOOK Happy Hour Zoom Discussion Series" with Michelle Holden featuring SWEAT. To register for the FREE discussion series, visit https://bit.ly/off-book-sweat

SWEAT BLURB: Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2017 Tony nominated for Best Play. Set in 2000 and 2008, a group of friends in Reading, Pennsylvania gather at a local bar. They’ve spent their lives sharing drinks and secrets when everything is about to be uprooted. Job security, race, trust, and friendship are threatened when their local factory, after decades, begins to make changes and layoffs. In this warm-humored play, SWEAT questions our loyalty to our each other, our employer, and our community and deals with the struggles we face with changes that are out of our control.

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CONTINUING:

DISASTER, a musical by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, directed by Randall Kramer, presented by MusicalFare, starring Kyle Bassett-Baran, Kelly Copps, Kevin Craig, Arin Lee Dandes, Gabby McKinley, Ricky Needham, Emily Yancey, and many, many more. April 12 - May 14, Wednesdays - Thursdays at 7 pm, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:30, and Sundays at 2. On the MusicalFare Theatre main stage, c/o Daemen College 4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226. (716) 839-8540 info@musicalfare.com

DISASTER BLURB: A 1970s disaster-movie musical spoof, a new musical straight from Broadway, featuring some of the most unforgettable songs of the '70s. "Knock on Wood," "Hooked on a Feeling," "Sky High," "I Am Woman" and "Hot Stuff" are just a few of the hits in this musical comedy with a book by three-time Emmy Award nominee and SiriusXM Broadway host, Seth Rudetsky, and Jack Plotnick. RUNTIME: 2 hours, 10 minutes

It's 1979, and New York's hottest A-listers are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and discotheque. Also attending is a faded disco star, a sexy nightclub singer with her eleven-year-old twins, a disaster expert, a feminist reporter, an older couple with a secret, a pair of young guys who are looking for ladies, an untrustworthy businessman, and a nun with a gambling addiction. What begins as a night of boogie fever quickly changes to panic as the ship succumbs to multiple disasters, such as earthquakes, tidal waves, and infernos. As the night turns into day, everyone struggles to survive and, quite possibly, repair the love that they've lost... or at least escape the killer rats.

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FURSONA NON GRATA, a comedy by Jeff Goode, directed by Drew Fornarola, produced by Bob Rusch of First Look Buffalo, April 14 - May 7, Fridays - Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 2, starring Kaylie Horowitz, Dan Torres, John Patrick Patti, Sarah Waechter, Susan King, Andrew J. Brown, Madison Sedlor, Clara Tan, and Lucas Colon. At The Park School Theatre, 4625 Harlem Rd, Amherst, NY 14226. (716) 771-6358 www.firstlookbuffalo.com

FURSONA NON GRATA BLURB: This new comedy tells the story of a young woman who brings her long-time boyfriend home to meet her family. She forgets to mention one important detail: her family lives a furry lifestyle. NOTE: A "furry" is an enthusiast for animal characters with human characteristics, in particular a person who dresses up in costume as such or uses one as an avatar online. Producer's note: "It focuses on the love of family, and most importantly, acceptance. You’ll laugh, cry, and even cough up a furball!"

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OPENINGS NEXT WEEK (listed alphabetically by title)

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, a play by Neil Simon, directed by Brian Cavanagh. April 27 - May 21, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 (no performances on Fridays) with matinees Saturday at 3:30 and Sunday at 2:00 at The Maxine & Robert Seller Theatre, Jewish Community Center, 2640 North Forest Rd., Getzville, NY 14068 716-650-7626 www.jccbuffalo.org/jewish-repertory-theatre

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK BLURB: This classic comedy became Neil Simon’s longest-running show and has delighted audiences for decades. Newlyweds Corie, a free spirit, and Paul Bratter, an uptight lawyer, share a sixth-floor apartment in Greenwich Village. Soon after their marriage, Corie tries to find a companion for her mother, Ethel, who is now alone, and sets her up with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco. During a dinner with Ethel and Velasco, everything that can go wrong does, inappropriate behavior ensues, and the young couple considers divorce.

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SIX, a musical, by Toby Marlow and Lucy Ross, part of the M&T Bank 2022-23 Broadway Series at Shea's, Apr 25 - May 7, 2023, Tuesday - Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00, Sunday at 1:00 and 6:00. Shea's Buffalo Theatre 646 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14202 716-847-1410 www.sheas.org/buffalo-theatre

SIX BLURB: "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!" From Tudor Queens to Pop Icons, the SIX wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a Euphoric Celebration of 21st-century girl power! 80 minutes, no intermission. WARNING - The show is recommended for ages 10 & up.

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The rest of the M&T Broadway series at Shea's for 2022-2023 concludes with:

JAGGED LITTLE PILL Jun 6-11, 2023

and

DEAR EVAN HANSEN June 20-25, 2023 (a "special engagement")

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Shea's Buffalo Theatre has announced their 2023-24 Broadway Season:

MRS. DOUBTFIRE 9/24 - 30, 2023

MOULIN ROUGE! 10/24 - 11/5, 2023

with ANNIE as a "special engagement" 12/19 - 24, 2023

and then in calendar 2024:

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY 1/16 - 21, 2024

FUNNY GIRL 2/13 - 18, 2024

LES MISERABLES 3/12 - 18, 2024

MAMMA MIA! 4/9 - 14, 2024

MJ THE MUSICAL 6/11 - 16, 2024

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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  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony and Peter talk about LONDON CALLING at the American Repertory Theatre at 545 Elmwood Avenue, THE FOLKS AT HOME at the Alleyway Theatre, and mention TEACH's short run (last chance this weekend) at Buff State. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony and Peter talk about FUNNY GIRL at Shea's, I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre (great dinners), LONDON CALLING at American Repertory Theatre at 545 Elmwood Avenue, and KINDER TRANSPORT at Jewish Repertory Theatre. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • On this episode Theater Talk welcomes Brian Higgins to his leadership role at Shea's Performing Arts Center where FUNNY GIRL, the Broadway Tour, opens next week. Already running and well worth your time are REEFER MADNESS, a sendup of the 1930s movie (O'Connell & Co. at the Smith Theatre), and a powerful multi-generational family play, KINDERTRANSPORT, at Jewish Repertory Theatre in Getzville (that's not as far from Buffalo as it sounds), For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • On this episode of Theater Talk, Anthony reminisces about Chita Rivera, recaps taking WBFO listeners to Broadway last week, and Peter mentions two shows he saw in Buffalo. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • Local openings include ANNE OF GREEN GABLES at T.O.Y., Bellissima Production's BURN/THIS on the Ujima stage, Neil Simon's I OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES at Desiderio's, REEFER MADNESS presented by O'Connell & Co. at Shea's Smith, and REHEARSAL FOR MURDER at Lancaster Opera House. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • Continuing, with the "Irish Invasion" the Broadway tour of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY wraps up a week at Shea's, with music by Bob Dylan and book by Dublin-born Conor McPherson while right across Main Street the Irish Classical Theater Company is putting on Brian Friel's FAITH HEALER, with a small but exquisite cast of Paul Todaro, Vincent O'Neill, and Margaret Massman. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • Right now there are only two shows in town and they're both by Irishmen! The Irish Classical Theater Company has Brian Friel's FAITH HEALER, with the exquisite cast of Paul Todaro, Vincent O'Neill, and Margaret Massman. Opening Tuesday, January 16, the Broadway tour of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY begins a week at Shea's, with music by Bob Dylan and book by Dublin-born Conor McPherson (THE WEIR, PORT AUTHORITY, THE SHINING CITY, THE SEAFARER). For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • While the theater community thinks of seasons starting with "Curtain Up!" in September and ending with The Artie Awards in June, often at the end of a calendar year, it's common to look at theater folk whom we lost. Anthony has fond personal memories of seeing many who were mentioned in a recent Playbill.com article. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.