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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Theater News, July 24, 2019

Stagefright by Javier

You know that summer is rushing by when it’s time for Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) to open its second production. Directed by Steve Vaughan, Love’s Labour’s Lost opens this Thursday, July 25th and runs through August 18th. The show plays Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:15 p.m., starring Ben Caldwell, Darryl Semira, Lucas Lloyd, David Wysocki, Rebecca Elkin, Marissa Biondolillo, Gretchen Martino, Jamie Nablo, Nathaniel W.C. Higgins, Tom Loughlin, Larry Smith, Charles Wahl, Nicholas Lama, Peter Horn, Melissa Leventhal, and Jay Wollin. As always, admission is free, but this year the company introduces a reserved seating option. For $25.00, you can have a beach chair reserved in the center of Shakespeare Hill. To reserve, call the office, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 716-856-4533. There are only 25 chairs available per show!

Matt LaChiusa, Executive/Artistic Director of American Repertory Theater of WNY (ART) and playwright Mark Humphrey are working on a project together targeted for the fall.

Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Lost in Yonkers, opens August 1st at Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre. Directed by Lisa Ludwig, the production will star Ellen Horst, Diane DiBernardo, Elliot Fox, Ayden Herreid, Timothy Whipple, Kevin Nagel, and Kelly Cammarata. The play also won the 1991 Tony award. This is the play for which Simon won his only Pulitzer Prize in a theatrical career that spanned over 50 years and included over 30 plays. He died last August at age 91. For reservations to Lost in Yonkers, call 716-395-3207.

Congratulations to director/choreographer Carlos Jones and actor Bill Lovern who got married on July 3rd. The couple have been together for 14 years. Jones will direct Lovern as Edna in Hairspray at the Kavinoky Theatre for Curtain Up!

The Gala dinner for Curtain Up will be at a new location this year. It will take place at 500 Pearl St., the Forbes Theatre, former location of the acclaimed Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP). This year, the $100.00 dinner includes open bar and an hors d’oeuvres reception.

And speaking of RLTP, they are accepting submissions to May the Fourth Be with You, the company’s second 10-Minute Play Festival, which will take place on Monday, May 4, 2020. To commemorate the date (May 4th is Star Wars Day), RLTP “encourages creative imaginings around the Star Wars Universe and accompanying themes, however short plays around any theme or topic are welcome to be submitted.” Plays should be no longer than 10 minutes, written by a regional playwright. To submit a new work for consideration, email completed script to Katie Mallinson, Literary Manager at Deadline for submission is October 1st, 2019. Final selections will be announced November 1st. Playwrights may submit up to three plays for consideration. A resume or biography should accompany submission.

The Brazen-Faced Varlets are back at the Buffalo Infringement Festival with their production of Girl Fight, conceived, directed, and choreographed by Stefanie Warnick, assisted by Anna Krempholtz. The show is a demonstration of choreographed fights between women, featuring different styles of fighting and weaponry, featuring Robyn Baun, Rachael Buchanan, Shelby Converse, Leyla Gentil, and Caroline Parzy-Sanders. Show takes place July 28th at 1:30 p.m. and August 3rd at 3 p.m. at Karpeles on Porter; and August 1st at 7 p.m. at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. Suggested donation is $10.00. For information call 716-598-1585 or email at Warnick is an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Academy of Fight Directors, Canada.

The fabulous Michele Ragusa is playing Elizaveta Grushinskaya, the Ballerina, in the The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival production of the musical Grand Hotel which is running now through July 31st at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in nearby Auburn.

Prior to going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it will play August 3rd – 10th, Diane Almeter Jones’s Forget Me Not will be performed as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, July 25th and 26th at 7:30 at the Andrews Theatre. Directed by Kristen Tripp Kelley, the production stars Anne Roaldi Boucher, Zachary Bellus, Nick Stevens, and Brittany Bassett. Tickets are $10.00 and may be purchased at the door.

The touring production of Scott Mann’s Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret will play Shea’s Smith Theatre on August 3rd and 4th. The show is produced by The Heroes Journey, a not-for-profit organization founded by Mann and his wife dedicated to helping military men and women find their voice and tell their story in transition with free books, workshops, and virtual training. The show features an all-veteran cast headed by Mann. The show’s director, Ame Livingston, is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia. She also appears in the show along with Bryan Bachman, and Leonard Bruce.

UB Associate Professor Anne Burnidge will be the new Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance taking over from Lynne Koscielniak. Burnidge is a contemporary dancer and choreographer who has been serving as the department’s Director of Graduate Dance Studies and Associate Chair.

Never too soon to think of the 2020-2021 season, the New Phoenix’s Richard Lambert

has commissioned Donna Hoke to write a two-person show based on the last meeting of Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Lambert will portray Vivien, and if all goes well, the fabulous Josephine Hogan will portray Sir Larry. And, designer Paul Bostaph, who returns to the New Phoenix this coming season, is in conversations to make his directorial debut, probably with an American classic about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.

You haven’t seen the last of her! The new Broadway musical The Cher Show will launch a national tour in October 2020, kicking off in Rochester. The Broadway production closes at the Neil Simon Theatre on August 18th. The show won Tony awards for best lead actress in musical, Stephanie J. Block; and Best Costume Design, Bob Mackie.

Javier and Stephanie J. Bloch


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