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Movie star Jake Gyllenhaal (pictured left) made his American stage debut this season in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, a British play by Nich Payne that premiered in London in 2009. The play, which is currently running (through December 23rd) at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre in New York, also stars Tony winner Brian F. O’Byrne (Frozen) who appeared at the Irish Classical Theatre company in Buffalo many years ago. Widely known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain (2005), Gyllenhaal made his stage debut in London back in 2002 in This Is Our Youth.

Casting has been finalized for the WNY premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s chamber musical First Lady Suite. Presented by American Repertory Theatre, under the direction of Tom Dooney, the musical is composed of four vignettes about former first ladies: Katy Miner as Jackie Kennedy; Charmagne Chi as Eleanor Roosevelt; Jenn Stafford as Mamie Eisenhower; and Guy Tomassi as Bess Truman. The cast will also feature Mary Ryan, Stephanie Bax, Annie Deck-Miller, Joyce Carolyn, Shayna Raichilson-Zadok, and musical director Theresa Quinn (as Amelia Earhart). The show opens March 1. LaChiusa’s new musical Giant just opened at the Public Theatre in New York after having tryouts in Virginia and Dallas. Based on the Edna Ferber novel (which was the basis for the popular film), Giant has a book by Sybille Pearson, who wrote the book for the musical Baby, a collaboration with another Western New Yorker, David Shire.

Road Less Traveled Productions continues its Emanuel Fried New Play Workshop readings on Monday November 26 at 7pm with Susan Fenster’s Remembering Andy (that’s Andy Warhol, mind you), directed by Virginia Brannon and Tamara Hopersberger. Admission is free and there is also free coffee. The series continues on December 3 with Donna Hoke’s Flowers in the Desert, directed by Chris Kelly, starring Beth Donohue and Guy Balotine. By the way, the company is now accepting applications for the 2013 Workshop. Deadline is January 7.

Theatre for Change is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this month and will be presenting the stage adaptation of The Blue Rose by Gerda Weismann Klein on November 27 at 7pm at Mount St. Mary Academy. Holocaust survivor and recipient of the 2010 Medal of Freedom, Klein will be a guest speaker at the performance.

The Holiday Guys are back! After a very successful run last December, Jeffry Denman and Mark Kudisch will be returning to Musicalfare to perform their holiday show, December 6-9. After the Buffalo run, the show moves to the Signature Theatre in Virginia and then to off-Broadway’s York Theatre (December 18-31).

BUA turns 21 in January and to celebrate, it will present the “adult” play Fucking Men by Joe DiPietro, starring Brant Adamczyk, Steven Brachmann, Joey Bucheker, Richard Fanning, J. R. Finan, Matthew Crehan Higgins, Jimi Konidis, James Mikula, Michael Seitz, and James Wild. The play is an all gay men adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. Incidentally, LaChiusa adapted the play into a musical, Hello Again, in 1994.

Playwright/actor Tracy Letts is concentrating on the latter these days, enjoying glowing reviews for his portrayal of George in the current Broadway revival of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Directed by Buffalonian Pam MacKinnon, the production has been extended through February 24. Letts’s Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County will open at the Kavinoky in April, directed by Robert Waterhouse with a cast featuring, among others, Sheila McCarthy, Eileen Dugan, Kelli Bocock, Kelly Meg Brennan, Kristen Tripp Kelley, and Brian Riggs. The length of the play will make for different starting times, 7:30pm instead of 8pm, and 2pm instead of 4pm on Saturday matinees. In the meantime, the Kavinoky opens a Pulitzer Prize finalist this week, Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz (pictured right). Baitz is known for several plays including The Substance of Fire and A Fair Country. He also created TV’s drama Brothers & Sisters.