Buffalo Theater News - October
STAGEFRIGHT by JAVIER
Congratulations to Michael Wachowiak and Michael Gilbert who got gayly married on October 15th! The happy (and adorable) couple made a courtesy stop at Matinee. (There is no truth to the rumor that Michael was caring a white purse). Many, many, many years of happiness!
Torn Space Theater has received a $500,000 grant from Erie County to continue Phase 3 of its capital improvements. The funding supports Torn Space's continued commitment to the revitalization of their community space on the corner of Fillmore Ave. and Paderewski in the Broadway-Fillmore district where the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle is located. The company will be holding a fundraiser on Friday, October 29th from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will feature a cocktail reception, a behind the scenes look at Torn Space’s upcoming performance, a virtual reality experience, an artist talk by Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola, and the unveiling of Torn Space Theater and Mirabo Press’s limited edition prints available for purchase. The upcoming production Boulevard, a virtual reality experience by FLATSITTER opens on November 4th.
Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP) continues its current season with Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Katie Mallinson, starring Darryl Samira and Afrim Gjonbalaj. Winner of the 2016 Obie Award for Best New Play and 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the production will open November 10th. Playwright Joseph is RLTP 2022 American Theater Master. He will be in town on November 19th and will be featured on a live interview recording of OFF ROAD, with Peter Palmisano, at 2 p.m. Joseph was previously selected as RLTP’s 2017 National Playwright Resident, when the company developed his play Archduke. Subsequent to that, the play made its world-premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Guards at the Taj is a fascinating play set in India in 1648 before the unveiling of the just-completed Taj Mahal. The OFF ROAD recording is free and open to the public. To make reservation, go to https://bit.ly/RLTP-rajiv-joseph
Only in Buffalo! Buffalonian Stephen Stocking, a graduate of UB with a BFA in Musical Theater is making his Broadway debut in the current revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, a production that originated in London where the Loman family is African American. Stocking plays Bernard. Andre De Shields plays Ben Loman. Interestingly enough, De Shields played Willy Loman in a production at Buffalo State College, several years ago, directed by Drew Kahn. Stocking also appeared in the aforementioned production of Rajiv Joseph’s Archduke at the Mark Taper Forum.
The Buffalo State Theater Department and Casting Hall Productions opened its season with a bang. Their production of the musical Pippin, was directed by Lissette DeJesus, and choreographed by Bobby Cooke. The show closed on October 22nd. The season continues with an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, directed by Victoria Perez-Maggiolo opening on March 8th.
After kicking off its season with “Us and Them: Aerial Investigations,” a workshop performance directed by Mara Neimanis, Niagara University Theatre continues the 2022-23 season with Peter & The Starcatcher, a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, directed by Steven Braddock (Nov. 3-7). The season will also include Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, directed by Robyn Horn (Dec. 1-5); Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by Braddock (Feb. 23-26); the plays Art (Mar. 3-5) and Everybody (Mar.30 – Apr. 2); A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, directed by Doug Zschiegner. (Apr. 27-30). All performances at the Leary Theatre on the university campus.
UB’s Department of Theatre and Dance opens its season on October 27th with the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed and choreographed by guest artist Terry Berliner, with music direction by Matthew Marco. Greg Natale will direct the comedy Noises Off, opening November 17th. Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice opens on March 9th, directed by Jon Elston. The season closes with Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, directed and co-choreographed by James Beaudry, opening on April 27th. All performances at UB Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre. Beaudry is a new Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department; Marco is Visiting Assistant Professor.
Speaking of Cinderella, the latest version of the classic fairy tale, Bad Cinderella, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by David Zippel, and a book by Emerald Fennell is set to open on Broadway in the spring after running in the West End June 2021-2022.
It was sad to hear about the passing of Tom Burroughs who lead UB Center for the Arts for many years. He was also involved with the Irish Classical Theatre Company, and Artpark, and had been a part of the Shaw Festival in its earliest days.
It was also sad to hear about the passing of Lucy Simon, according to Playbill, “the third woman in history to compose a Broadway musical.” Simon is Carly Simon’s sister and the composer of The Secret Garden, now having a fantastic production at Second Generation Theater.
Cheers to the understudies! Marie Costa and Don Gervasi are understudying for Loraine O’Donnell and Adriano Gatto in D’youville Kavinoky production of Misery, which opens on October 28th. They are both off book, but the blocking is still a challenge – at least for Costa. Gervasi has it easy. He gets to lie in bed for almost the entire play.
Great Expectations, the stage adaptation of the classic by Charles Dickens opens on November 18th at the Irish Classic Repertory Theatre (ICTC), directed by Chris Kelly, starring R.J. Voltz, Lissette DeJesus, Adam Yellen, Charmagne Chi, Matt Refermat, Christian Hines, Chris Hatch, Thomas Evans, and Josephine Hogan. Kelly will return to the ICTC in June on the other side playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.
After a three-year hiatus, Forest Lawn's popular original theatrical production of It WAS a Wonderful Life will return to the Forest Lawn chapel stage in November. Originally conceived by Joe Demerly and Michael Hake, some of the famous “permanent residents” of Forest Lawn create musical, comical, and poignant glimpses of Christmases past. Husband and wife John and Tara Kaczorowksi will join returning cast members Christopher Standart, Michael Seitz, Becky Globus, Kerrykate Abel-Smith, Tim Goehrig, and Latisha James. Performances are scheduled each Saturday and Sunday, November 26th through December 31st.
And one of Buffalo’s most enduring Christmas traditions returns to the Alleyway in November. It is the 40th anniversary production of Neal Radice’s A Christmas Carol. Radice’s adaptation will be directed, as usual, by Radice. This year, Radice will also make a comeback and play the role of Dickens. Also in the cast, husband and wife Trevor Dugan and Madeline Allard-Dugan, and David Mitchell as Scrooge. Rumor has it that Chris Handley will be one of the carolers.
Speaking of husband and wife, Jamie Nablo and Ryan Kaminski are reprising their roles in the annual production of Rocky at the Riv: Rocky Horror Picture Show Party at the Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda, October 28th at 10 p.m. It will be the first time the show has been back at the Riv since the pandemic. If you didn’t know, Kaminski proposed to Nablo in 2018 on the Rocky stage.
Musicalfare’s beautiful production of All is Calm that played last November to full houses, will return December 1st-18th at Shea’s 710 Theatre, once again directed and staged by Susan Drozd with music direction by Theresa Quinn. The cast has been expanded from nine to twelve, and now features Christopher Andreana, Kyle Bassett-Baran, Christian Brandjes, Louis Colaiacovo, Chris Cummings, Alex Anthony Garcia, Matthew Gilbert-Wachowiak (too bad Michael is not in the cast or I could have said husband and husband), Bob Mazierski, Ricky Needham, John Panepinto, Marc Sacco, and Dave Spychalski. Drozd won the 2022 Artie Award for her direction and the cast won Best Ensemble. Is there an Artie for Best Revival?
Brazen-Faced Varlets’ first production in Buffalo was the hilarious spoof of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Ramona and Juliet by Shawn Northrip, earning Kelly Beuth an Artie for best supporting actress back in 2007. The Varlets are now getting ready for their first ever musical, Northrip’s Titus XX, based on Shakespeare's bloodiest play, Titus Andronicus, a punk rock musical with an all-female cast and band, directed by Lara Haberberger, musical direction by Lucas Colon. The musical will open in November at TheaterLoft on Elmwood. Next on their agenda it the one-woman play Ann, starring Priscilla Young-Anker. Ann was written by the fabulous Holland Taylor who starred in it on Broadway and all over the country, portraying Ann Richards, the Democratic Governor of Texas. For trivia fans, Taylor played the daughter in the original New York production of A.R. Gurney’s The Cocktail Hour, set in Buffalo, with Buffalo’s gal Nancy Marchand as her mother.
After the successful production of Rock of Ages at the Kavinoky, director/choreographer Lynne Kurdziel-Formato is back in Chicago directing and choreographing the Drury Lane Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical. The show will open on November 9th and stars our own Artie winner Lorenzo Parnell who plays several roles and is the understudy for Santa Claus. Reportedly, Parnell will be back in Buffalo to star in Musicalfare’s production of Kinky Boots to be performed at Shea’s 710 Main Theater.
Renée Fleming returns to the Met in the world-premiere production of the opera The Hours by Kevin Puts, adapted from the novel by Michael Cunningham which was made into a movie in 2002 starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman. Kelli O’Hara and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will be joining Fleming as the opera’s trio of heroines. All these ladies, except DiDonato, are Broadway veterans.