top of page
  • Writer's pictureJavier

Buffalo Theater News / August 2023



A man with pectorals stands with a man in a polo shirt in front of an outdoor theater
with Chris Hatch on Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park

Another coup for actor Chris Hatch, who returns to Shakespeare in Delaware Park this season playing Friar Lawrence (does that look like a priest to you?) in the current production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Chris Kelly, now playing through August 20th. It’s a fast-paced and engaging production of a lushly romantic tragedy with a uniformly top-notch cast. Later next season, June 27th-30th, Mr. Hatch will be starring in the Irish Classical Theatre production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, also directed by Kelly. The production is described in the company’s brochure as a “fun and fresh take on Noel Coward’s classical comedy.” Are they referring to the costumes? To prove that Mr. Hatch is aging well, here is a reminder of what he looked like, wearing Jenna Damberger’s Artie Award winning costumes from last summer’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Costumes for Romeo and Juliet were designed by Todd Warfield.

With Chris Hatch, as Oberon, last summer

Following the current model for selecting plays and directors for the season, for summer 2024 (season 49th), Shakespeare in Delaware Park will present The Winter’s Tale directed by Kate Powers (June 2th - July 14th), and The Comedy of Errors directed by Larry Smith (July 25th-August 18th). Directors submitted proposals. An artistic panel chose the two that will be part of the season. This year there were twenty-one directorial submissions. Powers was an intern at Shakespeare in the Park many years ago, back when Jesse L. Martin was also an intern. She has directed a lot of Shakespeare all over the country. Smith is a local director, actor, playwright, and teacher and has performed all over WNY, including thirteen productions at Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

By the way, there are only four performances left of Where there’s a Will, there’s a Play, the hour-long touring production featuring scenes and sonnets from Shakespeare’s most famous works, adapted by Brendan Didio, directed by Norman Sham, starring Emily Bassett, Heather Casseri, Connor Graham, and Nathanial Higgins. All shows begin at 7 p.m.: August 7th at Galanti Park in Lackawanna, August 8th at Clarence Town Park in Clarence, August 14th at Academy Park in Lewiston, August 21st at Bassett Park in Williamsville. All performances are free, non-ticketed and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair. Picnics welcome!

With the amazing Roslyn Ruff

Buffalo’s Roslyn Ruff who has acted locally, on Broadway, off-Broadway, and all over the country, will be inducted into the Plaza of Stars in the Theatre District. The ceremony will take place on Monday, September 18th at 4 p.m. at the corner of Main and Tupper Sts., hosted by past inductee and this year’s Tony-nominated Stephen McKinley Henderson. The event is open to the public. Ruff starred in the 2013 Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet playing Lady Capulet. Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad played the title characters.

Up next for David Oliver’s Revelation Theatre, a collaboration with the Paul Robeson Theatre, The Royale by Marco Ramirez. Directed by Verneice Turner, the play is set to star Vincenzo McNeil, Roosevelt Tidwell, VerNia Sherisse Garvin, David Mitchell, and Matthew Ball. The Royale is about boxer Jay “the Sport” Jackson, who becomes the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World in the age of Jim Crow. The play was inspired by the real Jack Johnson who was also the basis for the 1969 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning The Great Black Hope. The Royale will run September 8th – 24th , Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Paul Robeson. And coming up in November, back to the Flexible Theatre on the Buffalo State campus, Air Heart, a one-woman show written and performed by Mara Neimanis. The play is about aviator Amelia Earhart and is sure to display some of Neimanis’s aerial skills. It will run November 30th-December 10th.

Opening this week, the musical, American Idiot presented by Bellissima Productions, directed by Nicolette Navarro, starring Aaron Saldana, Quinn McGillion, Ryan Norton, Timiyah Love, Jeremy Catania, Maryna Seufert, Sam Crystal, and Oliver Ball. American Idiot is a sung-through rock musical based on the concept album of the same name by the band Green Day. It runs August 3rd-13th, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3, at the Lorna C. Hill Theatre, 429 Plymouth Ave. The show was nominated for a 2010 Best Musical Tony Award.

With pop music legend Melissa Manchester at the Riv last summer

Great news for the national tour circuit! Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester will take on the role of Mrs. Brice in the national tour of Funny Girl which sets off this fall and will play Shea’s February 13th-18th. Shea’s kicks off the season with Mrs. Doubtfire (September 24th-30th), which will rehearse and tech in Buffalo. In other great national tour news, Mrs. Doubtfire will be played by Rob McClure who originated the part on Broadway, earning a Tony nomination in 2022. It seldom happens nowadays that original Broadway stars embark on national tours recreating their performances.

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is going now, and it seems that theater offerings are quite slim. We can thank Dionysus for The Way It Is, the one-hour play by Donna Hoke, directed by Sabrina Kahwaty, starring Colleen Pine and Jacob Applegate. This funny and clever play opened at the Alleyway Theatre Cabaret on July 28th and will be playing its final performances August 4th at 7:30, August 5th & 6th at 4 & 7:30. Admission is free, donations gladly accepted.

with Nicole Cimato and Aimee Walker at O'Connell & Company

Bravo for a job well done! Nicole Cimato as Roxie and Aimee Walker as Velma were just outstanding in the O’Connell production of Chicago. When the show first opened back in 1975, Argentinian-born Graciela Daniele was in the chorus playing Huniak, the Hungarian murderer. Over the years Graciele became a remarkable choreographer, earning several Tony nominations and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2020. Along the way, she collaborated with Buffalo’s composer Matthew John LaChiusa and worked on Hello Again, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Marie Christine, and Bernarda. Now LaChiusa is heading back to Lincoln Center with The Gardens of Anuncia a tango-infused musical inspired by an early life story of Daniele’s during the time of Juan Peron. She will direct and co-choreograph. Priscilla Lopez will star.

In a change of pace for Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre, Jay Desiderio will next direct J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, a classic thriller of mid-20th century English theater. The show will run September 7th through November 5th, and is set to star Charles McGregor, Christopher Standart, Lisa Hinca, Sabrina Kahwaty, Jeremy Kreuzer, and Lucas Lloyd.

Rumor has it that The Golden Girls who have been playing at the Alleyway might be in search of a different venue.

With Vincent O'Neill and Teja Rao who married on June 21, 2023

Congratulations to newlyweds Vincent O’Neill and Teja Rao. Vincent is one of the co-founders of the Irish Classical Theatre Company. The couple married on June 21, 2023.


bottom of page