With the opening of another vibrant season of the performing arts in Buffalo, here’s the A to Z of what’s in store:
Alleyway Theatre (1 Curtain Up Alley) offers the world première of William Orem’s The Seabirds. Two strangers (played by Ray Boucher and David Hayes) take uneasy refuge in a lighthouse during the American Civil War.
The venerable Buffalo Philharmonic’s season gets off to a spectacular start with a performance by pianist Van Cliburn of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent first concerto. Other highlights include a complete set of the Brandenburg Concerti, Verdi’s Requiem and an evening with flautist extraordinaire, Sir James Galway.
Curtain Up! (September 14) has everything: cocktails in Shea’s Grand Lobby, Black-Tie Gala Dinner on stage (surreptitious bows permitted), a choice of 13 simultaneous performances from participating companies and then a street party until the wee hours. Now that’s an opener!
Tom Duzdick’s Don’t Talk to the Actors is Studio Arena’s first production of 2007-2008. The comedy follows a Buffalo playwright’s quest to make it big on Broadway. Let’s hope art imitates life.
Entertainment abounds: Lou Diamond Philips stars in Camelot at Shea’s (November 6 -11), it’s preceded at Shea’s Smith Theatre (September 13 – October 7) by The Musical of Musicals plot crafted and styled five-times over in the manner of Rodgers & Hammerstein through Andrew Lloyd Webber.
First night make this month extra special.
A.R. Gurney fans are in for a generous helping of the Buffalo playwright’s ever-popular takes on life. Crazy Mary sets up shop at the Kavinoky Theatre for a month starting November 9; Indian Blood is Studio Arena’s December offering; not to be outdone, Niagara’s own Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects will get into the act with Love Letters in December. Hopefully a “Gurney pack” will be offered.
Artistic director Charles Haupt has fashioned a typically engaging and eclectic collection of chamber music and poetry to launch “A Musical Feast” for another year. Distinguished former University of Buffalo professor, Max Wickert will read selections from his soon-to-be published translation of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Conquistata (1581). Music includes works by Paolo Cavallone, David Felder, Debussy and Mendelssohn. Crossover extraordinaire!
The Irish Classical Theatre is finely balanced with laughs (The School for Scandal, September 13 – October 14) and drama (Faith Healer plays in February). The latter has been penned by Brian Friel who, in the words of ICTC artistic director Vincent O’Neill, is “the greatest living Irish playwright.”
The Jewish Repertory Theatre’s 5th season chronicles the lives of 10,000 Jewish children rescued on the eve of WW II and raised by English families (Kindertransport, November 29 – December 23), then looks at Jewish/Catholic friendship (Halpern & Johnson, February 21 – March 16) and winds up (June 5 – June 29) with the one-woman show, Golda’s Balcony.
Also part of the Kavinoky’s collection of “Music, Morals, Memories & Masterpieces” will be Hank Williams: Lost Highway—country twang comes to the stage—(opens September 14), Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men—more relevant than ever in this era of litigation—(starts January 4) and Peter Quilter’s Glorious (a Buffalo première that reminds us just how much Pavarotti will be missed).
The Lancaster Opera House (a busy road house in Lancaster) is home for nearly forty shows ranging from Barefoot in the Park to An Evening With Tom Stahl.
Musicalfare Theatre has a subscription series that begins in mid-September with Off-Broadway favourite, Altar Boyz, followed by A Brief History of White Music (sounds impossible!), Sweeny Todd (one of Sondheim’s best), Victory: The Father Baker Story (to cure the March blahs) and finishes with Beyond the Rainbow: The Life of Judy Garland. It all sounds grand.
The New Phoenix Theatre (95 Johnson Park) will be well into its run of Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story (September 7-29) when this hits print but promises 5 further productions (not least of which is the “Eric Bentley New Play and Workshop Series” in December).
On Golden Pond (September 13 – October 14) lifts off O’Connell & Company’s season.
The many premières cited above demonstrate a healthy incubator for emerging and established talent.
Quintessential work has to include Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten (ICTC November 2 – December 2).
Reed Martin’s All the Great Books Abridged (Kaleidoscope Theatre, Williamstown) is bound to tickle the back-to-school funny bone.
September 23, Road Less Traveled Productions concludes its 48-Hour New Play Project with the grand unveiling of four 15-minute plays.
Theatre of all shapes and forms is alive and well across the Peace Bridge.
Variety is the norm; sameness nonexistent.
Wicked says it all: Shea’s has that in June.
Xceptional quality and content—make your choices now while seats remain.
Youth have special prices and productions for it Dudes!
Zingers: From Arsenic and Old Lace (Lancaster Opera) to Charley’s Aunt (ICTC), those who long for relief from either world terror or workplace monotony can find their instant “satisfaction” by partaking of this remarkable array of energetic talent and dedicated presenters. JWR