SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, musical by Jason Robert Brown, presented by Batavia Players, directed by Amanda Melissa Taylor and Drew Stebbins-Williams. May 19-21 at 7:30. Harvester 56 Theater, 56 Harvester Avenue, Batavia (622-2747). www.BataviaPlayers.org
DIAL M FOR MURDER, thriller by Frederick Knott presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Linda Silvestri, starring Drew Krause, Jaclyn Tronolone, Phil Weld, Mike Leszczynski, Tom Turici, Bob Priest. May 13-22, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun. at 2:30.
Broadway legend, lyricist Sheldon Harnick (pictured above) will receive a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s ceremony. Harnick, who turned 92 this past April 30th, has two of his musicals running on Broadway this season.
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, comedy classic by Joseph Kesselring presented by The Alden Christian Theatre Society, starring Lynn Errington, Sue Kubick, Bob Aquila, Dylan Brozyna, Danielle Burning, Chris Best, Mark Jablonski. May 6-14, Fri & Sat at 7:30, plus May 15 at 2:30. ACTS Theatre, 1470 Church St., Alden (937-7770).
Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990) was one of the great entertainers of the 20th century. If you are of a certain age, and the 1960s, ‘70s, or ‘80s loom large in your cultural memory, chances are that Sammy was a big part of your life.
DIRTY DANCING, The Classic Story on Stage, touring production of the musical based on the popular movie, presented by Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino. May 3-8, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2 & 7. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000). www.sheas.org
Three of the most popular movie musicals of the 1980s, Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984), and Dirty Dancing (1987) have been adapted for the stage but only one of them ever made it to Broadway. Footloose opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on October 1998 and ran for almost two years.
Shen Yun, the world touring Chinese Performing Arts Company will be returning to Shea’s this weekend. The talented company presents a story-based performance of Chinese classical dance combined with ethnic dance, folk dance and featured solo performers. A western philharmonic orchestra that interestingly integrates traditional Chinese instruments accompanies the dancers.
This weekend, the Irish Classical Theatre Company’s will open The Yeats Project: Two Plays by W.B. Yeats, a three-way collaboration with Lehrer Dance and Torn Space Theater. The production offers a relatively rare opportunity to take in two plays by William Butler Yeats: The Land of Heart’s Desire, the first of his plays to be performed publicly; and At the Hawk’s Well, one of his “Four Plays for Dancers.” Both plays reflect Yeats’ fascination with Irish mythology, and are remembered for their association with the Irish Literary Revival undertaken by Yeats, Lady Gregory, and others.
Artvoice caught up with Michele Ragusa shortly after she completed a triumphant run as the title character in Hello Dolly! at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida. From Broadway, to Florida, to Kleinhans, the Western New York native and Niagara University graduate works all the time.
Play by Irene O’Garden at O’Connell & Company
New Phoenix Theatre on the Park
Terrence McNally, four-time Tony Award-winning playwright, will visit Buffalo on April 1 and 2, 2016 as a guest of Buffalo United Artists (BUA), the Dramatists Guild Fund, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site, and Just Buffalo Literary Center. During his stay, McNally, one the most highly regarded and widely celebrated playwrights in the world today will participate in two events to support theater in Western New York.
The annual evening of one-act plays features world premieres of recent finalists and one-act winners of the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition. Alleyway calls it, a “smorgasbord of tasty theatrical tidbits flavored with the spice of life!” The plays are suitable for adults and teens.
On The Boards is presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company
From its opening shot which captures middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta’s towering presence as he shadowboxes in the ring set to the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticano to its final moments of LaMotta, now a flabby failure, reciting Brando’s “I coulda been a contender” monologue from On the Waterfront before a dressing room mirror, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull achieves grandeur despite its grounded realism. The rise-and-fall sports biopic explores how a man copes with jealousy through violence, ensuring his self-destruction.
World Premiere of a play by Donna Hoke
by John Guare at the new American Repertory Theater space on Amherst Street
The Happiest Song Plays Last
A play by Quiara Alegria Hudes
presented by Raices at the Manny Fried Playhouse
As unlikely as it might seem, I must confess that I found a show called Never Wear A Tube Top While Riding A Mechanical Bull (And 16 Other Things I Learned While I Was Drinking Last Thursday) to be very engaging. The show stars “Dixie Longate,” the drag persona of gifted comedian, Kris Andersson, as an Alabama housewife, who shares her down home wisdom in a 90 minute show set in a honky-tonk saloon as we wait out a storm.
The fabulous Diane Lane (pictured above) recently announced that she will fund a grant for arts educators to honor director/composer/writer Elizabeth Swados who died on January 5th. Buffalo born Swados wrote the music for Lane’s acting debut in a production of Medea at New York’s La MaMa back in 1972 when she was six years old.
This week's local theater productions.