STAGEFRIGHT by JAVIER
Pulitzer Prize winner playwright Paula Vogel (pictured) who has been active in the American theater since the late ‘70s, finally made it to Broadway in 2017 with her play with music Indecent. The play was nominated for three Tony awards, including Best Play, and won for its director, Rebecca Taichman, and for its lighting design by Christopher Akerlind. Indecent was inspired by the controversy around the 1923 Broadway production of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, which portrayed a love story between two women. Some of Vogel’s notable plays include The Baltimore Waltz, The Minneola Twins (both produced by BUA); Desdemona, A Play about a Handkerchief (recently produced by Brazen-Faced Varlets); and her 1997 Pulitzer winner How I Learned to Drive (recently produced by Subversive, and first produced in Buffalo by Studio Arena at the Pfeifer).
Indecent (March 6th – 29th, 2020) will be part of the Kavinoky’s 40th anniversary season, produced in collaboration with the Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY, directed by Kristen Tripp Kelley. Lynne Kurdziel-Formato will be movement consultant and Saul Elkin will serve as Yiddish coach. Other plays in the season include Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep (May 1st-24th) starring Brian Mysliwy and Norm Sham; and To Kill a Mockingbird (November 8th – December 8th), directed by Kyle LoConti. This is the new adaptation by Aaron Sorkin, which is currently running on Broadway and the rights were obtained through an exclusive deal with the Broadway producers, as a kind of compensation, and maybe even an apology for forcing the cancellation of the Kavinoky production of the Christopher Sergel version earlier this season. The musical Hairspray will open in September with Billy Lovern as Edna, John Fredo as her husband Wilbur, and Marc Sacco as Corny Collins. Carlos C. Jones will direct and choreograph. Michelle Roberts will star in the sublime musical Bridges of Madison County (January 10th – February 2nd), which will be directed by Loraine O’Donnell and choreographed by Kelly Copps. We will have to wait for the thriller Misery, which was also being considered for the season.
By the way, Aaron Sorkin's acclaimed adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, currently breaking all attendance records at Broadway's Shubert Theatre, will kick off a national tour in August 2020 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Scott Rudin, the Broadway producer, is also working on a documentary for HBO, which will touch upon Lee’s novel and its constant resonance, the 2015 publication of her sequel Go Set a Watchman, the 1962 film, and the current play.
In the meantime, the Kavinoky closes its 39th season (a quite eventful one) with the play Equivocation, a kind of political thriller set in the Shakespearean era, written by Bill Cain. Directed by Katie Mallinson, the show opens April 26th starring Guy Balotine (pictured) as Shakespeare, Arianne Davidow as his daughter Judith, with Christoper Avery, Christopher Guilmet, Adriano Gatto and Darryl Semira.
The Arts Service Initiative of WNY will present the 6th annual Spark Awards, honoring outstanding individuals and organizations in the WNY arts community on May 22nd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hotel Henry. Among several other awards, Aimee Levesque will be presented with the Rising Star. Levesque is the founder of Inclusive Theater of WNY, “a theater company that is open to everyone no matter their age, physical condition, race, nationality, or gender.” Last October the company presented local playwright Baroness von Smith’s And Where Will You Put the Things You Save? at the Alleyway. The finalists for Organization of the Year are National Comedy Center, Sugar City, and Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP).
Up next at RLTP, The Undeniable Sound of Right Now by Laura Eason. Set in a legendary rock bar in 1992 Chicago, the owner is trying to keep it going amid changing tastes and times. Directed by David Oliver, the production opens April 26th and stars Peter Palmisano, Christine Turturro, Johnny Barden, Diane Dibernardo, Jeff Coyle, and Nick Stevens. Eason is the author of more than twenty produced plays and also served as writer and producer of the Emmy-winning series House of Cards.
David Lundy will reprise his popular portrayal of Harry S. Truman in Give 'Em Hell, Harry! the one-man play by Sam Gallu, at the Kenan Center's Taylor Theater in Lockport on April 26th & 27th at 7 p.m., and April 28th at 2 p.m. Lundy, won an Artie Award for his performance in Donald Margulies’ Sight Unseen at JRT last year, and previously performed Give 'Em Hell, Harry!, to great acclaim, at the New Phoenix. This production is organized by the Carriage House Players. For tickets call 433-2617
UB Department of Theatre & Dance will present The Threepenny Opera May 2nd-May 5th at the Center for the Arts Drama Theatre. Directed by Nathan Matthews, with music direction by Alison D’Amato, the production will be choreographed by John Fredo. This will be the US premiere of a new adaptation by Tony and Olivier Award winning Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2016. Next season the Department will present the musicals Guys & Dolls and Company, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the latter directed by Vincent O’Neill.
By the way, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will have its Buffalo premiere in March 2020 at Shea’s 710 Main, presented by All For One Theatre Productions, the same group that brought us last year’s The Three Musketeers. Besides winning the 2015 Tony for Best Play, Curious Incident also won for Best Director (Marianne Elliott), Best Actor (Alex Sharp), Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting. Elliott was most recently nominated for directing the revival of Angels in America.
Geva Theatre in Rochester will kick off its 2019-20 season with the musical La Cage Aux Folles (September 3rd – October 6th). Non-Equity local auditions will be held on April 27th (singing auditions 1-3p.m., dance auditions 3-4 p.m.). An accompanist will be provided. Non-Equity callbacks will be held on April 28, 12-2 p.m. Auditions will take place at the theater, 75 Woodbury Blvd., Rochester All auditionees must bring a headshot and resume. Mark Cuddy celebrates his 25th Anniversary as Artistic Director with the 2019-2020 Season.
Raíces Theatre Company presents Desde el Puente Musical Edition, April 19th – May 5th. The production features nine new 10-minute musicals written, directed and performed by members of the ensemble. The impressive line-up includes: Llega la Hora, by Maria Pérez-Gómez and Victoria Pérez; Plena Cautiva, by Dewel Pérez; El Closet Magico, by Maria Pérez-Gómez, music by Adrian Güadalupe & Pérez-Gómez; Sin Palabras, by Victoria Pérez, music by Lilliangina Quiñones, lyrics by Pérez & Quiñones; Good Night Puto, by Alexia Guzmán, music by Carolyn Miranda; Padrinos de Boda, by Anthony Alcocer; Es mi Voz, by Lissette DeJesús, music by Sara Rodríguez; Don Pedro y Yo, by Rolando Martín Gómez; Just in Time, by Alejandro Gómez, music by Daniel Williams.