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Joel Grey

The legendary Joel Grey is back on Broadway this season, big time, starring in the revival of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes and directing Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. The musical is being produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company and is scheduled to open on April 7. The Normal Heart, which has never been seen on Broadway, opens on April 27. Grey won a Tony award for his performance in Cabaret back in 1966 and was last seen on Broadway playing the Wizard of Oz in the original Broadway company of Wicked, which opened in 2003 and is still going very strong. The touring production returns to Shea’s on April 27 for a four-week engagement. Also returning to Shea’s for their season opener will be The Lion King, which also keeps going strong on Broadway since its 1997 opening. The show was directed by Julie Taymor, who was replaced last week as director of the troubled new musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The show began previews in November, and after several postponements, will now open in June. Taymor, who also co-wrote the script, had been working the project for nine years.

The fabulous Barbara Link LaRou will play Katharine Cornell in the Kavinoky production of A. R. Gurney’s The Grand Manner, which opens on April 29. Directed by Robert Waterhouse, the show will also star Eileen Dugan, Andy Herr, and Richard Lambert as Guthrie McClintic, Cornell’s real life husband. In other news, planning out the next season, the Kavinoky will most likely mount Yasmina Reza’s hilarious God of Carnage and Time Stands Still, a wonderful play by Donald Marguiles that just closed on Broadway starring Laura Linney.

American Repertory Theater of WNY will feature regional writers in the Local Playwrights One-Act Showcase, March 24-April 16, at Buffalo East (1410 Main Street). Plays will include Mark Humphrey’s Leaving Boyletown, Matthew LaChiusa’s The Wheelbarrow, and Mark C Lloyd’s See the Screams. And coming in May, the company will present Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, directed by Thomas LaChiusa, starring Jeffrey Coyle, David Bondrow, Gary Darling, Jacob Albarella, Lisa Dee, and Andrea Andolina.

Playwright Larry Gray returns to the Alleyway with the world premiere of his play World’s Finest, opening on March 31. The production is being directed by Neal Radice and will star Bonnie Jean Taylor, David C. Mitchell, Dinash Lal and Jacquie Thomas. Gray is the author of Louisiana Trilogy, Upstream Downstream, Mother Ginger, Yours Truly, and The Julia Set, all seen at the Alleyway in previous seasons.

Arianna Boykins

Susan Drozd will play Portia in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of The Merchant of Venice, which Brian Cavanagh is directing, with Saul Elkin as Shylock. The production will also star Peter Palmisano, Steve Copps, John Kaczorowski, Leah Russo, and Christopher LaBanca. And after her success directing Macbeth last summer, Eileen Dugan returns to direct As You Like It, which will star, among others, Gerald Brown, Morgan Chard, Steve Vaughan, Anne Roaldi, Tim Newell, Norman Sham, Gerry Maher, R.J. Voltz, Patrick Cameron, and Chris Kelly in his Shakespeare in the Park debut.

After appearing in several shows in Buffalo, Arianna Boykins moved to New York to pursue her acting career. Now sporting a new look, Boykins is currently working at the Roundabout Theatre in the ticketing services department. As a perk of the job, she will be attending the opening of Anything Goes, including a posh party rumored to be taking place on a real ship!