Theater Talk: Many good shows are closing this weekend (hurry, it's not too late) and there are three fun fundraisers for RAICES, RLTP, and SGT (see listings)
Anthony got over to the Alleyway Theatre's Cabaret space to see Julie Kittsley in her one-woman show UNDER THE RADAR: URSULA OF THE UKRAINE where "Ursula" tells outlandish stories of meeting famous performers and then sings their iconic songs. That was up for one night, but it may pop up again at a piano lounge near you. After that show, Anthony went across the lobby to the Alleyway's Main Stage in time to catch the second act of Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta RUDDIGORE, OR THE WITCH'S CURSE which is a send-up of 19th-century melodramas. Opera Lytes is presenting it again this weekend.
Both Anthony and Peter were quite taken with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, a lavish production with a stunning set, mounted on a turntable, which becomes almost a character in itself, along with a cast of some of Buffalo's finest. And both agreed that THE RINK by Kander & Ebb at O'Connell & Co. was first-rate entertainment, with clever choreography and a story that can take you from laughter to tears and back again.
Many shows are closing this weekend, one show (MEDIOCRE HETEROSEXUAL SEX) continues, and two shows open, the reading by an all-star local cast of Major League as a $50 a ticket fundraiser for Road Less Traveled Productions and the one-man show THURGOOD at Irish Classical.
There are three fundraiser shows this weekend, one night only (see listings under OPENINGS THIS WEEKEND below) for RAICES THEATRE tonight, March 31, for ROAD LESS TRAVELED PRODUCTIONS, Saturday, April 1, and for SECOND GENERATION THEATRE, Sunday, April 2.
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), OPENINGS THIS WEEKEND, then CONTINUING, then OPENINGS LATER IN APRIL.
CLOSINGS (alphabetically by title)
CHOIR BOY, a play with music, by Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Karen Saxon, who also arranged the music, starring Brian J. Brown, with Joshua Garrett, Justin Garrett, Cordell Hopkins, Paris Glenn; Gerald Ramsey and Ross Hewitt. March 16 - April 2, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 (there are no Friday performances) and Sundays at 6:00 in the Lorna C. Hill Theatre, 429 Plymouth Street, Buffalo, NY www.ujimacoinc.org
CHOIR BOY BLURB: This life-affirming “play with music,” is a coming-of-age story about a group of boys approaching adulthood in prestigious all-Black boys prep school. Director Karen Saxon wrote “Choir Boy is a raw, compelling, controversial and compassionate story, pregnant with the juxtaposition of faith and doubt. The playwright does a masterful job of presenting each character as fully human, faults and all. McRaney’s poignant script is filled with deft observations on class, race and sexuality. It is a story about responses to human differences, to identity, to sexuality, and to bullying. The young actors become an ensemble of multifaceted characters whose lives are held together by the Gospel music they sing beautifully and the humanity that they, and we, all share."
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, a play by Ken Ludwig, directed by Kyle LoConti, presented by All4One Theatre Productions, DELAYED TO March 23 to April 2, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 8, Sundays (3/26 & 4/2 only) at 2:00 at Shea's 710 Theatre, 710 Main Street, corner Tupper. 716 847-1410 sheas.org/710-theatre/
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS BLURB: In this timeless murder mystery, a snowdrift stops a train in its tracks at midnight. The next morning, an American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times while his door locked from the inside.
The show stars Anthony Alcocer (Col. Arbuthnot/Ratchett), Robyn Baun (Greta Ohlsson), Christian Brandjes (Hercule Poirot), Lissette DeJesus (Countess Andrenyi), Augustus Donaldson (Hector MacQueen), Gregory Gjurich (Monsieur Bouc), Lisa Ludwig (Mrs. Hubbard), Gabriella Jean McKinley (Mary Debenham), Annette Daniels Taylor (Princess Dragomiroff), and Ben Michael Moran (Headwaiter/Michel).
THE RINK, a musical, book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, directed by Joey Bucheker, presented by O'Connell & Co. March 17 - April 2, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3:00, Extra matinee on Saturday, March 25 at 3:00, 4110 Bailey Avenue, Amherst, NY 14226 716-848-0800 oconnellandcompany.com
THE RINK BLURB: In Coney Island, New York, Anna Antonelli's roller rink is about to be demolished. Just as her hopes seem dashed, Anna's estranged daughter Angel returns, bringing new hopes and reopening old wounds.
RUDDIGORE, OR THE WITCHES CURSE, an operetta, by Gilbert & Sullivan, directed by Lisa Berglund, presented by Opera-lytes, March 24 - April 2, Fridays - Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2. An abridged version will be presented as a pre-curtain lecture on Sunday, April 2, 2023, at 1:30 pm. All shows at the Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley in Buffalo's Theatre District. Tickets at www.alleyway.com, information at operalytes.com or on the Opera-Lytes Facebook page.
RUDDIGORE BLURB: Opera-Lytes presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse. A rollicking sendup of melodrama, Ruddigore features a mustache-twirling villain, a love-crazed maiden, a hornpiping sailor, and a simple farmer with a hideous secret, to say nothing of a chorus of Professional Bridesmaids.
Brimming over with irresistible songs and witty dialog, Ruddigore features a picture gallery that comes to life, in Opera-Lytes’ most ambitious production in years. The cast features Emily Barger as Rose Maybud, Mariami Bekauri as Mad Margaret, Maria Goodrich as Dame Hannah, Michael Wagner as Robin Oakapple, Ted Smeltz as Sir Despard Murgatroyd, Clara Tan as Richard Dauntless, and Nicholas Mark Czaplicki as Sir Roderic Murgatroyd. The production is accompanied by a chamber orchestra directed by Ciaran Krueger.
Lisa Berglund (stage director and professor of English at Buffalo State University) has prepared a lecture on “Ruddigore and Melodrama,” which will be available for free viewing on the Operalytes YouTube channel beginning on March 15, 2023. An abridged version will be presented as a pre-curtain lecture on Sunday, April 2, 2023, at 1:30 pm.
OPENINGS THIS WEEKEND (in alphabetical order)
BROADWAY BUCKET LIST: comes to the Shea’s Smith Theatre on Sunday, April 2nd at 6pm! One night only. SGT’s annual concert fundraiser is back again with some of Buffalo’s best performers singing their favorite songs - whether they’re right for them or not! Starring: Charmagne Chi, Amy Jakiel, Leah Berst, Lily Jones, Joe Russi, Ricky Needham, Collin McKee, and Anne DeFazio, all accompanied by Joe Isgar. Your $50 ticket includes admission to the show and appetizers. Cash bar, raffle, and silent auction available. Visit secondgenerationtheatre.com/product/broadway-bucket-list-2023/ Can’t make the event? You can still support! BID on items HERE! go.charityauctionstoday.com/bid/1670
SCREEN TO STAGE - MAJOR LEAGUE: A reading of the script for the movie Major League, a fundraiser for Road Less Traveled Productions, all tickets are $50, one night only, Saturday, April 1 at 8:00 pm, 456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202, roadlesstraveled.com
THURGOOD, by George Stevens, Jr., directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, starring Brian Marable, presented by Irish Classical Theatre Company, March 31 - April 16, Thursdays - Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:00 and 7:30, Sundays at 2:00. 625 Main Street. Special programming April 1, 2, 6, 12, 13 and 15 can be viewed on the website. (716) 853-1380 irishclassical.com/thurgood/#
THURGOOD BLURB: After successful productions at Detroit Public Theatre and Chautauqua Theatre Company, Guest Artists Broadway Director Steve H. Broadnax III and Award-Winning Actor Brian Marable bring Thurgood to ICTC. Performed as a one-man monologue, this stunning 90-minute intimate journey through the life of Thurgood Marshall portrays his life’s twists, turns, and triumphant rise as the first African American Justice appointed to the Supreme Court.
UNA NOCHE DE AMOR CON TANGOS Y BOLEROS/AN EVENING OF LOVE WITH TANGOS & BOLEROS: A fundraiser featuring Victoria Pérez and Chris Vázquez. Friday, March 31st in the MusicalFare Cabaret space (but not a MusicalFare event). Get your tickets at Ticketstripe here: ticketstripe.com/Tangosbolerosfundraiser
CONTINUING (alphabetically by title)
MEDIOCRE HETEROSEXUAL SEX by Madison Wetzel directed by Mia LaMarco presented by Buffalo United Artists (BUA) starring Stefanie Warnick, Blaise Mercedes, Ben Caldwell, Sean Patrick Ryan, and Katie Gaisser. March 17 - April 8, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm at the Compass Performing Arts Center located at 545 Elmwood Ave. (the old TheaterLoft). Tickets are available at: www.mediocreheterosexualsex.bpt.me/ or
Walk-Up Purchases at the Door: CASH ONLY
NOTE: No One Under 18 Years Old Admitted – Content Warning: Nudity and Simulated Sex
MEDIOCRE HETEROSEXUAL SEX BLURB: A vexed exploration of gender, sex, power, and kink. Four hours after her girlfriend dumps her, Erin switches her Tinder setting to dudes because she hates herself. She quickly meets Aaron, who is straight, conveniently nearby, and only too happy to indulge her masochistic fantasies. To translate this deeply ambivalent first heterosexual experience, Erin seeks the advice of the only straight people she knows, Violet and Jeremy, a couple in a Dominant/submissive relationship. From playwright Madison Wetzell, who is currently pursuing her MFA at Brooklyn College. Mediocre Heterosexual Sex was a 2021 Finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and a 2021 Semi-Finalist for the O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference.
OPENINGS LATER IN APRIL (AFTER EASTER) (alphabetical 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. 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 email@example.com.
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.
FURSONA NON GRATA, a comedy by Jeff Goode, directed by Drew Fornarola, produced by Bob Rusch of First Look Buffalo, April 17 - 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
FURSON NON GRATA BLURB: This new comedy tells the story of a young woman who brings home her long-time boyfriend home to meet her family. She forgets to mention one important detail: her family lives a furry lifestyle.
SIX, 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.
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 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 both the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2017 Tony Award 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.
And, the rest of the M&T Broadway series at Shea's for 2022-2023 includes:
JAGGED LITTLE PILL Jun 6-11, 2023
DEAR EVAN HANSEN June 20-25, 2023 (a "special engagement")