Theater Talk: Is theater in free fall? Buffalo's sold-out run of CHICAGO, huge audiences at SIDP, MusicalFare, and Shawfest all say "Not here!"
Recent op-ed pieces in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and NPR ask the question "Is theater in free fall?" but Anthony says that while some of the high profile, high rent, high salary theaters such as the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. or Long Wharf in New Haven might be struggling with high overhead costs, here in Buffalo things seem to be good.
Usually, July means only Shakespeare in Delaware Park and The Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake, and both are going strong in 2023, but add to that mix more musicals including TWELFTH NIGHT (adapted from Shakespeare) at MusicalFare and CHICAGO (closing this weekend and all shows sold out) at O'Connell & Co. in their home theater on Bailey Avenue. (See listings below.)
GYPSY, A Musical Fable, with Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Jule Styne, and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim has been called "the perfect musical" by Anthony who will be leading a bus tour up to Niagara on the Lake Wednesday, September 27 leaving from the AAA parking lot in Amherst at 8:30am and returning at 6:30pm. To get your ticket click here:
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, then CONTINUING, then The Shaw Festival lineup for 2023.
CHICAGO, the musical, Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, with Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, directed and choreographed by Joey Bucheker, presented by O'Connell & Co., starring Nicole Cimato as Roxie Hart, Aimée Walker as Velma Kelly, Gregory Gjurich as Billy Flynn, Mary Coppola Gjurich as Matron “Mama” Morton, Dan Urtz as Amos Hart, and
D. Pieffer as Mary Sunshine. July 7-16, (8 performances only)
Remaining Dates & Showtimes, all SOLD OUT
• Friday, July 14th, 2023 at 7:30 pm
• Saturday, July 15th, 2023 at 7:30pm
• Sunday, July 16th, 2023 at 3:00pm
• Sunday, July 16th, 2023 at 7:30 PM
at O’Connell & Company, 4110 Bailey Ave., Amherst, NY 14226
CHICAGO BLURB: Set in the legendary city during the roaring “jazz hot” 20s, Chicago tells the story of two rival vaudevillian murderesses locked up in Cook County Jail. Nightclub star Velma’s serving time for killing her husband and sister after finding the two in bed together. Driven chorus girl Roxie’s been tossed in the joint for bumping off the lover she’s been cheating on her husband with.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Velma enlists the help of prison matron Mama Morton and slickster lawyer Billy Flynn, who turn Velma’s incarceration into a murder-of-the-week media frenzy, thus preparing the world for a splashy showbiz comeback. But Roxie’s got some of her own tricks up her sleeve…
Devilish and delightful, Chicago is an indisputable Broadway landmark that utilizes minimal scenery and simple costumes (we’re talking some seriously basic black) to deliver one big musical bang after another. With one great showstopper after the next, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s now-classic score keeps the story moving at a gunshot pace. The scantily-clad dancers tip their bowler hats in tribute to the style of original choreographer Bob Fosse, whose moves are still as steamy and sexy today as they were when Chicago first appeared in 1975. For a show that stands chin-deep in dirty deeds, it feels like one helluva good time.
OPENINGS: (listed alphabetically by title)
MUSIC MAN, the musical by Meredith Wilson, presented by Curtain Up Productions July 13 - 23, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3, at the Lockport Palace Theatre, 2 East Ave. Lockport, NY 14094 716.438.1130 lockportpalacetheatre.org
MUSIC MAN BLURB: The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall. Join us July 13th-23rd for a new take on this classic show!
CONTINUING: (listed alphabetically by title)
ANTHONY CHASE:MY LIFE IN THE AUDIENCE, additional show, Sunday, July 23 at 8:00, an evening of story and song with theater critic, raconteur, and all round bon vivant Anthony Chase with Music Director Phil Farugia at the piano, in the elegant and historic Bittersweet Piano Lounge, in the Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington Street Buffalo, NY 14203 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/anthony-chase-my-life-in-the-audience-tickets-675201906077
MEASURE FOR MEASURE by William Shakespeare, presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, directed by Virginia Monte, starring Daniel Lendzian, Gretchen Didio, Luke Brewer, Lisa Ludwig. June 22-July 16, Tuesdays-Sundays nightly at 7:15 on "Shakespeare Hill" near the Rose Garden and the casino in Delaware Park. Bring your own chair or blanket, picnics are encouraged. (716) 856-4533) www.shakespeareindelawarepark.org
MEASURE FOR MEASURE BLURB: The Duke leaves Angelo in charge of Vienna, where he rules as a religious tyrant, quickly condemning Claudio to death for immoral behavior. However, Angelo offers to pardon Claudio if his sister, Isabella, sleeps with him. Isabella agrees but actually has Angelo's fiancee switch places with her. The Duke returns to spare Claudio, punish Angelo, and propose to Isabella.
TWELFTH NIGHT, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's play, conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub, Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub, Directed by Susan Drozd, presented by MusicalFare, starring a cast of 16. July 5 to August 6, Wed- Thu at 7:00, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 and 7:30, Sun at 2:00 at MusicalFare Theatr's Main Stage, on the campus of Daemen College, 4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226 (716) 839-8540
TWELFTH NIGHT BLURB: A contemporary take on the classic Shakespearean tale with an electrifying jazz-funk score by composer Shaina Taub. Named one of the best theatrical productions of 2018 by Time, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Washington Post, TWELFTH NIGHT is a rousing contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy about mistaken identity and self-discovery. It tells the story of Viola, a young heroine who washes up on the shores of Illyria, disguises herself as a man, is hired to court a countess as she falls hard for a Duke. As she navigates this strange and wonderful new land, she finds her true self and discovers true love in the process. The running time of the production is approximately 2 hours, including intermission.
TWELFTH NIGHT, the play by Shakespeare, directed by Aimee Levesque and Lawrence Rowswell presented by Inclusive Theater of Western New York as "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot – Twelfth Night!" ONE WEEKEND ONLY! July 14-16, 2023 at 7pm each night at St. Mary’s High School, 142 Laverack Ave. in Lancaster! FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! https://goo.gl/maps/fc4siVMvNcrf9m8z5 The event is FREE and open to ALL. Just bring a chair/blanket and some snacks! The event is rain or shine (ICWNY will pivot indoors if needed!). #inclusivetheaterofwny#shakespeare#shakespeareintheparkinglot#twelfthnight#inclusionrevolution
WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A PLAY, an hour of scenes and sonnets by Shakespeare, adapted by Brendan Didio, directed by Norm Sham, presented in a touring format by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, starring Emily Basset, Heather Casseri, Connor Graham, and Nathaniel "Nate" W.C. Higgins. June 14 - August 21, all shows are free at 7:00 (with one added matinee, July 23 at 4:30 at Freedom Run Winery). For dates and locations, visit https://shakespeareindelawarepark.org/2023-tour-locations/
Bring your own chair or blanket, picnics are encouraged.
COMING IN LATE JULY & AUGUST
THE WAY IT IS, a play by Donna Hoke, directed by Sabrina Kahwaty, starring Colleen Pine and Jacob Applegate July 28 at 7:30 p.m. (opening night), then August 4 at 7:30 p.m., then both August 5 and 6 at both 4 and 7:30 each day, at the Alleway Theatre Cabaret space, 1 Curtain Up Alley in Buffalo (adjacent to Shea's Buffalo).
THE WAY IT IS BLURB: When Cane dumps fiancee Yasmine after eight years, he's finished. But a trip back to their apartment to collect his things becomes a lesson in truth... and consequences. Content warning: sexual assault, firearm present on stage. Intimacy direction by Nicolette Navarro.
Firearms safety/fight direction by Stefanie Warnick. All performances are in the cabaret space at Alleyway Theatre and free of charge (donations accepted; all proceeds go to participating artists). No reservation necessary; open seating. House opens a half hour before the show and the Alleyway lobby opens one hour before the show. The show is about 70 minutes long with no intermission and all performances will be followed by a talkback.
ANTHONY CHASE:MY LIFE IN THE AUDIENCE, additional shows in August, two matinees filled with story and song with theater critic, raconteur, and all round bon vivant Anthony Chase with Music Director Phil Farugia at the piano. August 19 and 20, both matinees at 2:00 at The Maxine & Robert Seller Theater in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo,
Benderson Family Building 2640 North Forest Rd. Getzville, NY 14068 For tickets visit www.jewishrepertorytheatreofwny.org Keep up to date by subscribing to https://www.theatertalkbuffalo.com/
AT THE SHAW FESTIVAL THEATRE, Venue by Venue listings.
For details visit https://www.shawfest.com/2023-season/
AT THE FESTIVAL THEATRE
A Musical Fable, Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee
THE AMEN CORNER
By James Baldwin
AT THE ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE
Adapted for the stage by Damien Atkins
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis
ON THE RAZZLE
By Tom Stoppard
Adapted from Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johann Nestroy
VILLAGE WOOING (2023's Lunchtime One‐Act)
By Bernard Shaw
THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT
By Edith Wharton
At the JACKIE MAXWELL STUDIO THEATRE
THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
By J.M. Synge
THE APPLE CART
By Bernard Shaw
By Helen Edmundson
And there are two new "venues" at the Shaw Festival including
THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE
A romantic comedy by Pierre de Marivaux
Improvised by the Shaw Festival Ensemble – a new play every time.
Written and directed by Selma Dimitrijevic
and there's "OUTDOORS @ THE SHAW"
A SHORT HISTORY OF NIAGARA
Created by Alexandra Montagnese and Mike Petersen
Commissioned and presented by the Shaw Festival
Rogers and Hammerstein’s
A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING – ONE ACT – IN CONCERT
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Musical arrangements by Fred Wells
Orchestration by Michael Gibson and Jonathan Tunick
Conceived by Walter Bobbie
And this year for the HOLIDAY SEASON The Shaw Festival will bring back
Lerner and Loewe’s
Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Frederick Loewe
Original dances created by Agnes DeMille
Revised book by Brian Hill
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
Adapted and originally directed by Tim Carroll
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