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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Theater News 3/26/19


The national tour of the 2017 Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! will arrive at Shea’s Buffalo on March 20, 2020. The Broadway revival starring Bette Midler began playing in March 2017 and closed in August 2018. Bernadette Peters took over for Midler in January 2018 and played until July 2018 when Midler returned for the show’s closing. Buffalo native and Niagara University alum Carmen Ruby Floyd was part of the Broadway ensemble, also understudying for Midler. The national tour starring the fabulous Betty Buckley (pictured above) kicked off on September 25, 2018 at the Stanley Theatre in Utica before its official opening in Cleveland. Currently playing Las Vegas, Buckley is slated to stay with the tour until August 2019 when she will play Boston. Buckley has reportedly lost almost thirty pounds since the tour began and has had to go to New York to have costumes refitted. Buckley made her Broadway debut in 1969 playing Martha Jefferson in the musical 1776. Before becoming a TV star in Eight is Enough, she appeared at Studio Arena in Buffalo. For trivia fans, Hello, Dolly! was produced by Loraine O’Donnell’s new pal Scott Rudin.

Speaking of 1776, Pamela Rose Mangus will be in drag, once again, playing John Adams in the all-female version of the musical which will be presented by O’Connell & Company. Mangus appeared as Falstaff in Shakespeare in Delaware Park and was also featured in the all-female version of Macbeth. Coincidentally, Mangus played Abigail Adams in a summer stock production back in 1976. Directed by Steve Vaughan, with musical direction by Donald Jenczka and choreography by Terri Fillips Vaughan, the O’Connell production opens on April 25th. It will star, among others, Mary Kate O’Connell, Melissa Leventhal, Mary Craig, Mary Moebius, Sara Jo Kukulka, Priscilla Anker-Young, Sam Crystal, and Emily Yancey.

Jeanne Cairns and Stephen McKinley Henderson presenting an Artie Award in 2002

Congratulations to the beloved actress and director Jeanne Cairns (aka Jeanne Hebborn) who will be getting her star in the Plaza of Stars this year. Now retired, Cairns was active in Buffalo theater for many years. Winner of the Artie for Career Achievement Award in 2002, one of her many accomplishments was originating the role of Sister Clarissa in Tom Dudzick’s Over the Tavern.

The Neil E. Garvey Foundation gave out its first awards on March 15th at the annual Green Tie Dinner at the Roycroft Inn. The Kavinoky Theatre received a grant to offset losses incurred because of the cancellation of To Kill a Mockingbird. The Brazen-Faced Varlets received the award for “their mission of being socially conscious while working to provide quality plays with artistic integrity.” The foundation was established by Garvey’s family “to continue Neil’s passion for the theaters of Buffalo and Western New York by raising money and awareness for the arts.”

On Tuesday April 30th Theatre of Youth will hold its annual fundraiser TOY Brew Bash. Tickets are $35 at the door, $30 presale (go to The event takes place at Resurgence Brewing Company, 1250 Niagara St., from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Ticket price includes two drinks, food, music, raffles and a silent auction. The event is always a lot of fun, and the auction items are great.

TOY and Shea’s have entered into a partnership by establishing The Actor’s Edge, a pre-professional summer acting program for teenagers, grades 9-12. The program will run August 12-23 at Shea’s Smith Theatre, culminating with a public showcase on the 23rd. Auditions for the program will take place on April 6th & 7th and June 21st & 22nd. For more information, visit

Now in its 28th annual version, Alleyway Theatre’s Buffalo Quickies will open on April 11th. The festival will include eight one-act plays, all written by local playwrights: Who’s Afraid of Donald Trump? by Justin Karcher; A Work Break Downtown by Jeff Z. Klein (winner of the 2018 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition); Over the Tears, by Mack C. Lloyd; Starting Out Strong by Samantha Marchant; Eleven Things that Almost Happened to Rick and Hannah ... And One Thing that Actually Did by Bella Poynton; One Man Show by Mike Randall; Pylon and Thunderthighs by j. Snodgrass; and The Arrangement by Jennifer Tromble. The production will star Stephanie Bax, Andrew Zuccari, Dylan Brozyna, Shawnell Tillery, Jaimee Harmon and Mike Starzynski. Director Joyce Stilson is joined by directors Samantha Marchant, Stephanie Riso and Carly Weiser (by the way, she will not be directing Karcher’s piece).

Speaking of plays and playwrights, last fall Alleyway Theatre created a Playwrights Circle seeking to nurture and develop local playwrights. Members j. Snodgrass, Bella Poynton, Mark C. Lloyd and Jennifer Tromble met in a workshop format to fine tune current work. They were challenged to create new one acts for this year’s Quickies and they succeeded in doing so (see titles above).

Raíces Theatre Company will present its annual Desde el Puente, April 19th – May 5th. This year it is a Musical Edition featuring short musicals with original scripts and mostly original music. They are all written, directed, and performed by the company’s ensemble members. This year’s cast includes Victoria Perez, Steven Brachmann, Smirna Mercedes, Maria Gomez, Alejandro Gomez, Rolando "Bebo" Gomez, Dewel Perez, Alexia Guzman, and Lissette DeJesus.

Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP) has announced a new annual fundraiser, Screen to Stage, a screenplay reading series. The series will kick off on April 6th with a staged reading of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Directed by Scott Behrend & Katie Mallinson, the reading will feature Anthony Alcocer, Cassie Cameron, Bob Grabowski, Jimmy Janowski, Dave Mitchell, Ben Moran, Brian Misliwy, Kristen Tripp Kelley, Lisa Vitrano, Barry Williams, Matt Witten, and Doug Zschiegner. Reading is at 7:30, tickets are $50.00. Call 629-3069.

Second Generation Theatre will hold its annual fundraiser, Page to Stage: Miscast on April 14th at Shea’s Smith Theatre from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The company has announced a very exciting line-up for 2019-20 that includes the musicals The Toxic Avenger and Cabaret, and Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women. Current season ends with the musical Nine, directed by Victoria Perez, starring Ben Michael Moran, Aimee Walker, Arianne Davidow, Kelly Copps, Lisa Ludwig, Sabrina Kahwaty, Nicole Cimato, Charmagne Chi, and Mary Gjurich. Nine was last revived on Broadway in 2003 starring Antonio Banderas and Chita Rivera (the part Ludwig will be playing).

And there is no truth to the rumor that BUA is organizing a fundraiser based on the popular Broadway Bares, titled BUA Bares.

April is Broadway Diva month in Buffalo. Kristin Chenoweth (the original Glinda in Wicked) will be appearing with the BPO on April 6th. Laura Benanti will be appearing at the Shea’s Black Tie Gala on April 29th. Benanti is currently starring in the Lincoln Center revival of My Fair Lady. She also played Claudia in Nine (the part Davidow will be playing at Second Generation.)

Congratulations to Emily Elkin who will be marrying in October. The younger Elkin now resides in California.


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