STAGEFRIGHT by Javier
CODA (acronym for child of deaf adult), the Oscar-nominated film that centers around a hearing child of deaf parents who wants to pursue her interest in singing, is being developed into a stage musical by Deaf West Theater in Los Angeles. The company was founded in 1991 and focuses on what it calls “deaf-centered storytelling.” Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (pictured) and CODA co-stars Oscar nominee Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant have all appeared on the Deaf West Theater stage. The company has previously transferred two musicals to Broadway, Big River in 2003, and Spring Awakening in 2015, both nominated for Tony Awards for best revival. Matlin made her Broadway debut in the latter. Let’s hope she can play the mother again in the musical version of CODA. It wouldn’t be the first time that an actor has repeated their movie role in the musical version on the stage. Think way back to when Melina Mercouri from Never on Sunday appeared in the musical version, Ilya, Darling! Lainie Kazan did both the film and musical versions of My Favorite Year. Julie Andrews did Victor,Victoria. There are quite a few others.
And speaking of Matlin, I heard that Tribes star Dave Wantuck, who is now making his stage debut at Road Less Traveled, is a close friend of hers and she has always been ready to give him advice and support throughout the process.
Well, I guess I should wish you all Happy World Theatre Day (March 27th). We are definitely running out of dates in the calendar. This “holiday” was created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute. Since 1962, the day has been celebrated by the international theater community by circulating the World Theatre Day Message which is traditionally delivered by a figure of world stature, such as Jean Cocteau (1962) and Arthur Miller (1963). Last year it was Helen Mirren. This year it will be opera, theater, and festival director Peter Sellars.
Coming up next at the Alleyway, it’s the world premiere of the dark comedy Berserker by Bruce Walsh, winner of the annual Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition. This “is the story of an idealistic teacher who comes face-to-face with a bear in the wilderness, only to find himself spiraling into a mid-life crisis.” Directed by Robyn Lee Horn, the production stars Patrick Cameron, Kelly Copps, Sarah Kow-Falcone, and Haleigh Curr. Set and costume design is by Collin Ranney who is now based in Buffalo and previously worked in Washington, D.C., where he earned several Helen Hayes Award nominations for set and costume design. FYI, the theater’s lobby and bar will open one hour prior to curtain, with happy hour at the bar following each performance. The show opens on March 31st.
The Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY concludes its 2021-2022 season with the comedy Modern Orthodox by Daniel Goldfarb. Directed by Steve Vaughan, the production opens May 5th and is now set to star R.J. Volz, Robyn Baun, Kayla Storto and Adam Yellen. Next year, the company will open the season with a revival of the very popular The Chosen.
Actor/director Michael Galante has retired from his, I was going to say “real” job, but I guess “9 to 5” job truer to the man’s passions. So now he is coming back to the theater with a bang. He appeared in O’Connell & Company’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus this past December, and he is now starring in the musical Working that opens this week, also at O’Connell & Company, directed by Neal Radice, with musical direction by Donald Jenczka, stage management by Ann Perno, costume design by Todd Warﬁeld, wait a second, this seems like an Alleyway/Radice reunion. Radice also designed lighting, sound, and set, and I hear that (as usual) he was very particular about lighting and has redone the entire theater. Oh, I digress, Galante will also be in O’Connell’s Damn Yankees! and he will be co-directing The Play that Goes Wrong at the Kavinoky next season, with Adriano Gatto. By the way, Gatto will be also co-starring with Loraine O’Donnell in the Kavinoky’s production of Misery. Gatto will be bed-bound. By the way, the current version of Working was updated in 2009 and brings the stories into Western New York and the present day. And since Radice and O’Connell are working so well together, maybe she should bring to the stage the never seen “Imagine The World Over…forty years of words and music by Neal Radice,” the revue that was never produced because of the pandemic.
And speaking of Damn Yankees!, Joey Bucheker will be directing the O’Connell production, which will also star Kris Bartolomeo as Applegate, Aimee Walker as Lola, Kevin Deese as Joe Hardy, Jenny Marie McCabe as Gloria, and Katy Miner as Meg Boyd. Since they have all the baseball outfits, Bucheker is thinking about a production of Take Me Out.
Speaking of the Kavinoky too, their fundraiser Kavinoky Kabaret has been postponed until July. That is good because there will certainly be no snow then, or will there?
Andrew Garfield (pictured), currently Oscar-nominated for his portrayal of Jonathan Larson in tick, tick...BOOM!, recently expressed his desire to return to Broadway as George Seurat in Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George. Let’s hope his wish doesn’t block Starring Buffalo from keeping the rights to perform this musical in June. That company, which does staged readings of musicals with local professionals, actors who have worked on Broadway, and local high schoolers, recently announced the same title. The rights game can be tricky. Starring Buffalo shows have actually prevented local professional companies from presenting a show or two in the past.
So, the Irish Classical Theatre will open next season with John Patrick Shanley’s masterpiece Doubt. The amazing Cherry Jones created the role of Sister Aloysius off Broadway and later transferred to Broadway. For the film, Meryl Streep (of course, who else?) played the role. Lisa Ludwig played the part for BUA and Ellen Horst played the part for Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. The Irish will also present the Irish play The Mai by Marina Carr, a play that premiered at the Abbey in 1994. One man and seven women in the cast.
Musicalfare just scored a big hit with American Rhapsody, their exploration of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," so it makes perfect sense that they'd stick with a winner. The popular musical theater will open next season with Nice Work if you Can get It!, a musical featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin, with a book by Joe DiPietro.
Desiderio's Dinner Theatre has opened The Love List, by that prolific Canadian, Norm Foster. the show stars Jeremy Kreuzer, Elliot Fox, and Suzie Hibbard. It's a long run, but you should probably book early, if you want to see the final performance, which is on Mother's Day!