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Marat/Sade at Subversive Theatre

A play within a play, Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade tells the story of the 1793 murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday during the French revolution. The tale is acted out by mental patients in Charenton Asylum as part of their therapy in a production supervised by the hospital’s chief administrator, Coulmier, and directed by the Marquis de Sade—yes, the same marquis whose name gives us the word “sadism.” DeSade actually was confined to the historic asylum and actually did stage performances there. Indeed, the complete (but seldom used) title of Weiss’ play is The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.

Floyd Collins

It is hard to believe that the celebrated 1994 Adam Guettel-Tina Landau musical, Floyd Collins, is only now having its Buffalo debut. Under the assured direction of Jeffrey Coyle and musical direction of Allan Paglia, American Repertory Theater of Western New York has taken on the piece with an intimate and appealing production, smartly designed by Matthew LaChiusa, and beautifully lit by Emma Schimminger.

Barefoot in the Park at Kaleidoscope

It says something about Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions and the audience they seek to entertain that they are opening their season with Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. This endearing 1963 comedy by the American master of set-’em-up and knock-’em-down laughs originally starred the consummately charismatic young Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford as Corie and Paul Bratter, newlyweds moving into their first apartment. Corie is eccentric, fun-loving, and debatably irresponsible. Paul is…an attorney. After their first argument, divorce seems inevitable—but also, in the world of this sweet comedy, impossible.

Cool Blues at Paul Robeson Theatre

Following the community-based mission of its home at the African American Cultural Center, the shows at the Paul Robeson Theatre fall roughly into two categories: the artistically ambitious (impressive productions like Bluest Eye and Crumbs from the Table of Joy); and the historically educational (entertaining shows like Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting and Simply Simone). Cool Blues falls into the second category, as it tells the tale of B, a thinly veiled version of jazz musician Charlie Parker, and Xan, a baroness who can only be the Baroness Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter, his patron and friend, at whose Manhattan home Parker died in 1955.

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