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Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine (pictured) who turned 94 on January 24, received the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild this past Sunday. Once married to Mexican star Katy Jurado (he speaks Spanish very well) and briefly to Broadway star Ethel Merman, Borgnine made his Broadway debut in 1952 in the comedy Mrs. McThing, which starred Helen Hayes. Still active, in a recent interview on NPR, Borgnine expressed his support for marriage equality. He won the Oscar for playing the title role in the 1955 film Marty, a role that also gave Norm Sham an Artie in a 2002 Buffalo Ensemble Theater production directed by Sheila McCarthy.

After showcasing her formidable acting skill in the current production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, McCarthy will return to the directorial chair in O’Connell & Company’s upcoming Over the Pub. The play is an adaptation of Tom Dudzick’s very popular Over the Tavern. The adaptation was commissioned by a theater company in Cork, Ireland, where it had a very successful run. The Pazinkis are now the Murphys, and Sister Clarissa is now Sister Mary Agnes and will be played by Tess Spangler. Greg and Mary Gjurich will also star as the parents. Over the Pub opens, coincidentally, on March 17. It will be the American premiere of this version of Dudzick’s play.

And O’Connell & Company’s revue Hooray for Hollywood, scheduled to open late February, has been postponed until August when the company will kick off its new Summer Series with the newly installed air-conditioning at their ECC North home.

Torn Space and the Irish Classical Theatre Company are collaborating on two projects. First, Steven Berkhoff’s adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher, directed by Vincent O’Neill, with original sound score by Todd Lesmeister, opens on February 11 at the Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle, home of Torn Space. The production stars David Oliver, Cassie Gorniewicz, and Andrew Kottler. Next, Dan Shanahan will direct Caryl Churchill’s Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen as part of the ICTC Sundays at Seven Series. Starring Kristen Tripp Kelley, Keith Elkins, and Dechen Dolkar, this play will run May 8-22 at the Andrews Theatre.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Alleyway Theatre’s Buffalo Quickies. Once again directed by Joyce Stilson, this annual festival of new one-act plays will run March 3-19 and will star Michael Starzynski, Kate Olena, Sheila Connors, Jerry Hudson, Andrea Andolina, and Andy Herr. Among the plays this year is local playwright Lawrence Gregory’s Jump 2:Conclusions.

BUA’s Cabaret Series continues February 17-20 with Songbird, starring Katy Miner and Chuck Basil, featuring songs from Blossom Dearie, Maltby/Shire, Kate Bush, and others. The show will also feature cellist Emily Elkin.

Charles Fuller’s Zooman and the Sign will be presented by Alemaedae Theater & Xavier Films at Ujima Company’s TheaterLoft. Directed by Willie Judson, the production will run March 5-27.

The Scavenger’s Daughter, a play by Gary Earl Ross, just had a reading in New York City at Urban Stages Theater. Part family drama and part murder mystery, the play might also have a reading at Ujima later in the season. Ross’s Murder Squared was seen there last fall.

Robert Waterhouse will direct the upcoming Kavinoky production of A. R. Gurney’s The Grand Manner. The show will open on April 29. Gurney’s latest play, Black Tie, opens this week in New York.

Rebecca Ward will star in the upcoming Subversive Theatre Collective production of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis. This was the last play written by British playwright Kane only days before she committed suicide. Directed by Brian Zybala, the production opens February 18.

Welcome to Christi Allen, who is the new managing director of the Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY. Up next for the JRT, a staged reading of the comedy Jest A Second!, the second annual JRT Night with the JCC. The event will take place March 5th at the U.U. Church of Amherst, 6320 Main Street in Williamsville. For tickets call 688-4114 ext. 391. Directed by and starring Saul Elkin, the reading will also star Todd Benzin, Louis Colaiacovo, Jeffrey Coyle, Darleen Pickering Hummert, and Linda Stein.

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