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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

32nd annual ARTIE AWARDS

Tickets now on sale

Career Achievement Honorees Loraine O'Donnell and Michele Ragusa

Tickets are now on sale for the 32nd annual ARTIE AWARDS, honoring excellence in Buffalo theater (see link below). The event will be held on Monday, June 5, 2023 at Shea's 710 Main Theatre. Red Carpet begins at 7 p.m. On-time admission is $20; late arrivals will be charged and additional $10. The proceeds will go the the Immunodeficiency Clinic at ECMC, which provides health care and support for people living with HIV and AIDS. The sponsor of the event is, once again, Buffalo Toronto Public Media.

This year's career achievement honorees are familiar to everyone in Buffalo's theater community, Loraine O'Donnell and Michele Ragusa.

Loraine recently stepped down as executive artistic director of D'Youville Kavinoky Theatre, where she had been on staff for seven years. She is equally well known as an actress, and has played leading roles on most Western New York stages. A multiple Artie Award winner, Loraine was a nominee in the very first year of the awards, and has been recognized in several categories, She is leaving Buffalo to become executive director of Constable Hall, a historic house museum in the Adirondack region, but will return to direct at D'Youville Kavinoky next season.

Michele's career took her from Niagara University, where she was a protégée of the legendary Brother Augustine Towey, to Broadway, and to numerous prominent theaters around the nation. From Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime to Kate in Kiss Me Kate, she has played virtually every musical leading lady role. She has often returned to Western New York for Philharmonic appearances, and the day before the Artie Awards, she will have completed an engagement as the title character in Hello, Dolly! with "Starring Buffalo" on the 710 Main stage.

Joining me as hosts of this year's Artie Awards are again, Charmagne Chi and Amy Jakiel, this time also with Curtis Lovell of Ujima Company. Philip Farugia is the music director. The show will feature songs from nominated musicals, as well as the traditional In Memoriam celebration of Buffalo theater folk we lost this year. Nicole Marrale Cimato, doyenne of Buffalo Red Carpet, will, again, provide a roundup of this year's Artie night fashions.

Attendees, most of whom are more accustomed to being on stage or backstage, rather than in the audience, are respectfully reminded that it is customary to arrive several minutes early for an event that starts at 8 p.m. Allowing time for security, ticketing, and red carpet, please plan to arrive at no later than 7:30 p.m. This is a general admission event, meaning seating is unassigned. The bar at 710 Main Theatre will open at 7 p.m., and attendees are further reminded that a percentage of the bar proceeds on Artie Award night, go to the charity.

I am loathe to toke a scolding tone on what is intended to be a purely joyful occasion, but with apologies, I feel obliged to mention that last year, latecomers were a disruption. (Or so, I'm told. I was in the ER at Buffalo General having my own little celebration, and was replaced on stage by an Adam Kreutinger puppet, voiced by Doug Weyand). In fact, at 8 p.m. with the hosts in place and the show ready to begin, fully a dozen presenters were nowhere to be found! This caused mayhem and scrambling backstage and was cheerfully attributed to the burgeoning pre-Artie party phenomenon, fueled by the advent of new and ubiquitous theater lobby bars. While the celebratory atmosphere inspired by the occasion is wonderful, this year, any presenter who has not checked in by 7:45 p.m. will, without malice or judgement, be replaced by someone who is undoubtedly just as beautifully dressed. All latecomers will be charged an additional $10 fee, which will go to the Immunodeficiency Clinic at ECMC. We humbly and respectfully ask attendees to arrive on time!

The list of nominees can be seen in another post on this website. Excitement seems to be high for the 32nd annual Artie Celebration. Congratulations to all the nominees and honorees.


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