The fabulous Angela Lansbury (pictured above), who is back on Broadway this year appearing in the starry revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (now extended through September 9), won her fifth Tony award in 2009 for her performance as Madame Arcati in the revival of Blithe Spirit. She is tied with the previous record holder, Julie Harris, who won her fifth Tony in 1977 for her performance in The Belle of Amherst. Last Sunday, at this year’s Tony awards, Audra McDonald (at age 41) became the third actress to win five Tony awards. Harris, who is actually the performer with the most Tony nominations (10), also received a 2002 Special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award. Both Harris and Lansbury will turn 87 this year!
How time flies! The Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY will kick off its 10th anniversary season in October with The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez, a drama set at the end of the Civil War starring Stan Klimecko, Dee Lamont Perry and Greg Howze. In February 2013, Tim Newell will once again portray Jack Benny in Mark Humprhy’s very entertaining Mr. Benny. And in May, the season will conclude with Aaron Posner’s My Name Is Asher Lev based on the novel by Chaim Potok. The company began its first season 10 years ago with Posner and Potok’s The Chosen, starring Peter Palmisano and Tom Loughlin.
Starting on June 22, Buffalo United Artists will present BUA Takes Ten: GLBT Short Plays, a festival of 11 10-minute, one-act plays that were chosen from more than 170 entries from all over the country. Local selections include Write this Way by Donna Hoke, The Top and the Bottom by Stefan Brundage, and M&M by Matthew Crehan Higgins and Marc Sacco, who also will star, directed by Laura LaValley. Other directors include Lisa Ludwig, Drew McCabe, Victoria Perez (who will also perform), and Jessica Rasp. The list of actors includes Caitlin Coleman, Jonathan Shuey, James Steiner, and Alisse Sikes, who appeared with BUA back in 1992 in Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.
Subversive Theatre will present its sixth installment of Subversive Shorts, June 21-July 15, featuring 14 new American political plays from all over the country, including The Quality of Mercy by Buffalo’s Christopher LaBanca, who also directs, starring Charlene Budziszewski and Danica Riddick.
Jenn Stafford will play the lead in the Irish Classical Theatre production of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal, which opens in September for Curtain Up! Directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, the production will also star Renee Landrigan, Jacob Albarella, and Patrick Cameron. Two more parts are yet to be cast.
Verneice Turner will direct and star in From the Mississippi Delta, the play by Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland that began its life in Buffalo at Ujima Theater Company and went on to New York, London, and all over the US. The production, which opens at Road Less Traveled in September, will also star June Duell and Danica Riddick.
Barbara Link LaRou returns to A. R. Gurney (she won an Artie for Gurney’s The Grand Manner) next season at the New Phoenix to appear in his play Buffalo Gal, co-starring with Mary Moebius, Gary Earl Ross, and Willie Judson. The company will open the season with Keith Waterhouse’s Mr. and Mrs. Nobody, a 1986 play that starred Judi Dench in London. The local production will star Josephine Hogan and Richard Lambert. The New Phoenix production of In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl (pictured below with Michael Cerveris, who starred on the Broadway production and is now playing Peron in Evita) won this year’s Artie Award. Ruhl’s comedy The Clean House will be part of Road Less Traveled Productions next season.
(Editor’s Note: Stagefright goes on hiatus until September).
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