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Curtain Up! 2012

Friday, September 14 marks the 31st annual celebration of Curtain Up! in Buffalo, representing the official start of the live theater season. Sixteen theaters will present shows as part of the festivities.

I remember the night of the first Curtain Up!, 31 years ago. New to the city, I didn’t know anyone. A college friend and I stumbled upon the Curtain Up! after-party entirely by accident. Main Street was torn up for the construction of the Metrorail. There were plywood planks to allow people to cross the street, and orange plastic snow fence to keep them from falling into the debris. I remember, in particular, a cardboard sign with the words “Curtain Up” written in Magic Marker, with party balloons attached.

I never dreamed that I would stay in Buffalo, and that 30 years later I would be the honorary chair of this very same event, which has grown and continued from that humble beginning to become one of this city’s most time honored traditions.

When I think about it, of course, Curtain Up! is a large part of the reason I stayed in Buffalo in the first place, and why I knew I could make my life here. This is a great theater town. Not every city can say that.

Before a city can be a fertile center for theater, there needs to be a population mass that values community. It must be a place where neighbors want to come together and experience human creativity and expression together, to laugh together, and maybe even cry together. Buffalo is that kind of place.

The arts in Buffalo have been a source of economic and social stability. Even in a shrinking city, theaters here have thrived and multiplied, and the public taste for converging upon our local theaters for live entertainment has never waned.

The event is presented by the Theatre District of Western New York and M&T Bank, in cooperation with the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo, Curtain Up! The evening always follows a Three Act format.

Act I: Cocktails/Dinner/Entertainment

5-5:45pm—Cocktail reception in Shea’s Grand Lobby, open to the public, with a cash bar.

6-7:30pm—The annual Curtain Up! Black Tie Gala Dinner on the Shea’s stage, with additional seating on the balcony level. Tickets must be purchased in advance for $100. Call 716-847-1410 for tickets and information.

Act II: The Curtains Rise! Theatrical Performances

8pm—Performances at 16 participating theaters

Act III: Party!

10pm—A free community celebration follows the performances, and runs until approximately 1am. Various outdoor entertainment and post-parties will be held on the 600 block of Main Street in the Theatre District, from Chippewa to Tupper.

The Shows

(See “On the Boards,” for locations and ticket information.)

Seth’s “Big Fat Broadway Show”

Seth Rudetsky is a nationally known radio personality and host of a popular show on the Sirius/XM radio Broadway channel. An actor, writer, and pianist, he brings his new touring one-man show to Buffalo, where he be will be doing his web-famous deconstructions of all the Broad-way belters he’s obsessed with, as well as giving tons of inside scoop. At 710 Main Theater—formerly Studio Arena and before that it was the Palace Burlesque. Time marches on!


by Karen JP Howes

Time moves in reverse as a small country diner plays host to a series of surprising characters and mysterious goings on. Nobody seems to be running the place and, to make matters worse, the fat lady in the bathroom won’t open the door! Neal Radice directs this world premiere of the Winner of the 2011 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition. At Alleyway Theater.

The Guys

by Anne Nelson

“The Human Side of 9/11.” A New York City writer volunteers her writing skills for a firehouse captain who must deliver 8 eulogies for men he lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Powerful, visceral and touching, this work reminds us of the human side of one the deadliest terrorist’s attacks on American soil. Presented by American Repertory Theater of WNY.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

by Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard’s clever retelling of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet as told from the perspective of bewildered and beleaguered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. Starring Ray Boucher, Taylor Doherty, and Katie White. Presented by Buffalo Laboratory Theater.

Next to Normal

music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey

The powerful story of a family’s well-meaning but flawed attempts to take care of each other and allow love to triumph over adversity. A deluded mother refuses to accept the death of her child and continues to hallucinate the boy as if he were alive and growing up. Presented by the Irish Classical Theater Company, directed by ICTC producing director Fortunato Pezzimenti; music director Jason Bravo.

The Fox On the Fairway

by Ken Ludwig

A charmingly madcap adventure about love, life, and man’s eternal love affair with golf by the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo. Set at a private country club, the play is an homage to the great English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, filled with mistaken identities, slamming doors, and over-the-top romantic shenanigans. Presented by Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions.

Same Time Next Year

by Bernard Slade

Hugely popular romantic comedy of the 1970s, Same Time, Next Year ran four years on Broadway. The plot follows a love affair between two people, Doris and George, married to others, who rendezvous once a year. Presented by Lancaster Opera House.

The Music Man

by Meredith Willson

Masquerading as a boys’ band conductor, con artist Harold Hill meets his match when he tries to pull the wool over the eyes Marian Paroo, the small town librarian in River City, Iowa in 1912. This is one of the great American musicals, with a clever score that is alternately witty and lusciously romantic. Presented by MusicalFare Theatre.

The World Goes 'Round

by John Kander and Fred Ebb

A revue of the music of one of the greatest Broadway song-writing teams in history. Bobby Cooke, J. R. Finan, Pamela Rose Mangus, Katy Amy Miner, Victoria Perez deliver songs from Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Funny Lady, New York, New York, among others. Presented by O’Connell & Company.


by Regina Taylor

A moving and celebratory musical play in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Presented by Paul Robeson Theater.

From the Mississippi Delta

by Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland

Three actresses play all of the citizens of a small Mississippi town to tell the story of one girls rise from poverty to personal triumph during the era of the Civil Rights Movement. Presneted by Road Less Traveled Productions.

The Accidental Death of an Anarchist

by Dario Fo

To celebrate their 10-year anniversary Subversive Theatre Collective brings back the first show they ever presented, a wild farce by the Nobel prizewinning Italian playwright based on a real life incident.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

by Rupert Holmes

Charles Dickens died before he completed his final novel, a murder mystery called The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In this marvelously engaging musical a Victorian musical troupe stages a flamboyant rendition of the story and each night invites the audience to vote on the ending. A Who’s Who of Buffalo musical theater performers take on this gem of a musical in the exquisite Kavinoky Theatre.

Mr. and Mrs. Nobody

by Keith Waterhouse

Josephine Hogan and Richard Lambert star as the Pooters, an oddball couple trying to climb the Victorian social ladder from their new home in north London. This US premiere is directed by Robert Waterhouse, son of the author, with original music by Steve Borowski. Presented by New Phoenix Theatre on the Park.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical

by Mo Willems and Michael Silversher

Trixie, Knuffle Bunny, and Daddy take an adventurous trip to the neighborhood laundromat, but their excitement takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes “somebunny” was left behind! Adapted from his beloved Caldecott-honored picture book Knuffle Bunny, six-time Emmy Award winning animator and author Mo Willems joins Grammy Award winning composer Michael Silversher for this big-hit musical full of adventure, song, and gigantic dancing laundry! Recommended for ages 4+. Presented by Theatre of Youth.

A Streetcar Named Desire

by Tennessee Williams

How does an avant-garde company take on an American classic? The story of the trials and decline of Blanche Dubois will be viewed through the lens of Herbert Selby Jr.’s scorching Last Exit to Brooklyn to examine a post-war America. Presented by Torn Space Theater.