Stagefright by Javier
Double reason to celebrate last week at Road Less Traveled Theater! First, the opening of a thrilling production of The Thin Place featuring a stellar cast comprised of Renee Landrigan, Margaret Massman, Kristen Tripp Kelley (she looks so good in the dress she wears, they should auction it off when the show is over), and David Mitchell (who also looks very good in the show), under the fine direction of Scott Behrend. Costume design is by Brenna Prather, by the way. The Thin Place runs through March 26. And that is my kind of stage set, perfect in its minimalism. Thank you Dyan Burlingame.
We were also celebrating the opening of the newly expanded RLTP lobby and bar. It might have been a good idea to have Ouija boards on hand, just to set the mood for the show. I had to look for mine when I got home. The bar was designed by Lou Iannone. Gina Gandolfo assisted throughout the process, which explains why she has been missing church lately. Will is a great bartender. The bar opens one hour before the show and stays open afterwards. Maybe they could supply Ouija boards for the after-hours crowd.
Speaking of Landrigan, she is set to reprise her Artie-Award winning performance in the musical Once, produced by Musicalfare back in 2018, directed by Randy Kramer and musical direction by Theresa Quinn. The beautiful and simple show won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is the only show to have music that won the Academy Award, Grammy Award, Olivier Award and Tony Award! The ensemble of actor/musicians play their own instruments onstage, and you can drink on stage at the bar before the show. Can’t wait to see it again, hopefully with as much of the fabulous original cast as possible!
Jimmy Janowski was reportedly thrilled to get the call to join the cast of Guys & Dolls, Musicalfare’s upcoming Curtain Up! show to be directed by Chris Kelly. Naturally Jimmy assumed he was going to play one of the Dolls, but it turns out that he’s going to take on the role of Big Jule from Detroit. To quote a bit of advice from Douglas Carter Beane’s play, The Little Dog Laughed (produced at BUA, years ago), “Butch it up, Mary!”
Theatre of Youth’s season continues with Secret Soldiers: Heroines in Disguise, a play by Wendy Lement that tells the true stories of women who fought in the Civil War as men. Directed by Megan Callahan, the play features: Roderick Garr, Talon Powell, Charles McGregor, Clara Tan, Hanna Lipkind, Kaylie Horowitz, Avye Alexandres, Emory Redfearn, Anika Pace, Dijae Bradley, Rosa Fernandez, Jessie Miller, Lucas Colòn, Matt Mogensen, Andrew J. Brown, and Sean Taylor. I hope I got all those spellings right. If not, e-mail me. The cast is not as large as it seems. The list includes understudies: one for each actor! Not even on Broadway! Ask Don Gervasi (our local Actors Equity rep) who just had a landmark birthday – Lordy Lordy, Look who’s … 30? Secret Soldiers opens March 4th and the playwright will be at the performance and talk-back. I love photo-ops! The play is for ages 8+.
I hear that the Brazed-Faced Varlets are looking for an adult version of the play or may be writing one on their own. This would be for ages 18+
Jon Elston is directing Sara Ruhl’s adaptation of Eurydice for UB’s Department of Theatre & Dance. The production will play March 9th -11th at 7:30 p.m., and March 11th & 12th at 2 p.m. at UB Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre. Best known as a playwright, Elston is a very good director who seldom gets the chance to showcase that talent.
Neil Simon’s classic comedy Barefoot in the Park will be closing Jewish Repertory Theatre’s 20th Anniversary Season. Directed by Brian Cavanagh, the production will star Zak Ward, Renee Landrigan (isn't she getting around?), Tina Rausa, Dave Lundy, and Ray Boucher. The show runs April 27th - May 21st. Can you believe the show first opened on Broadway in 1963? Directed by Mike Nichols, the play starred Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford who reprised his part in the movie version opposite Jane Fonda. It was Redford’s last stage appearance. For trivia fans, the small part of the telephone man (yes there used to be phone repair men who made house calls) was originally played by Howard Edelman. Who? He played Stanley Zbornak, the ex-husband of Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls.
Loraine O’Donnell will be leaving her job as Executive Artistic Director of the Kavinoky Theatre at the end of the current season. O’Donnell is leaving for a job in the not-for-profit sector in the North Country, where she has also recently been acquiring real estate. Fortunately, if things work out, she should be able to come back to do the two shows she was planning to direct in the 2023-24 season, The Rocky Horror Picture show in October and Gutenberg! The Musical! in April 2024.
Katie Mallinson is all set to direct the upcoming production from Raíces (that means Roots, you know) now in residency at Road Less Traveled Theater. They will present the WNY premiere of Bloom, a play by Marco Antonio Rodriguez who, before he became a successful playwright in New York, graduated from Buffalo State and did shows locally. Bloom will star Victoria Pérez, and Alejandro Gómez, playing mother and daughter. What? I hear they are toying with the idea of the actors taking turns in playing the parts. They should look for a Cellino sponsorship! Bloom runs June 9-25.
A fun time was had by all at the glorious Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra / Irish Classical Theatre Company production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with incidental music by Jean Sibelius. JoAnn Falletta conducted. Fortunato Pezzimenti directed. Alex Malejs played Prospera, with Sabrina Kahwaty as Miranda; Marisa Caruso as Ariel; Alejandro Gómez as Ferdinand; and Patrick Cameron as Caliban. Todd Benzin was Sebastian. Peter Palmisano was Alonso. Matt Witten was Antonio. Tom Makar was Gonzalo. Kevin Craig was Trinculo. Phillip Farugia was Stephano. Rolando Martín Gómez was Francisco. Alex Garcia, Madeline Allard-Dugan, and Phoebe Wright were the ensemble
Irish Classical is putting together its '23-'24 season and Fortunato may be directing the classic Arthur Miller’s The Price, starring Kate LoConti and Ben Moran. Another classic, Harold Pinter’s Betrayal may also be in the season. And The Wake, the party to die for... (ICTC's popular annual fundraiser) is back; save the date: Saturday, April 22nd at the Town Ballroom.
From Ragtime to Hadestown, hometown girl Domique Kempf was in town to play one of The Fates in the national touring production of Hadestown. Here we are at Matinee with Hannah Whitley, who played Eurydice, and Chibueze Ihuoma, who played Orpheus.