The last and only time that William Inge’s Come Back Little Sheba was revived on Broadway, S. Epatha Merkerson of TV’s Law & Order fame (pictured) played the suffering wife Lola, a role created by Shirley Booth when the play first opened back in 1950. Merkerson was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award. Booth won the 1950 Tony and an Oscar for reprising her role in the 1952 movie version. Kelli Bocock Natale will play Lola in the upcoming New Phoenix production to be directed by Joe Natale. Scheduled to open on March 30, the production will also star Richard Lambert, Jen Leibowitz, Margo Davis, Murray Galloway, James Wild, James Robert Steiner, Nickalaus Koziura, Keith Elkins, Jess Abel, and Michael Seitz.
Back in 1923, The God of Vengeance, the English language version of Sholem Asch’s 1907 Yiddish play, was the first drama on Broadway to feature a lesbian love scene. The play’s producer and cast, and the theater owner were arrested on obscenity charges. Now the Brazen-Faced Varlets will let us see what the controversy was all about with their upcoming production of The God of Vengeance, which opens March 8 at Rust Belt Books. Directed by Lara D. Haberberger, the production will star Chris Best, Diane DiBernardo Blenk, Jenny Gembka, Heather Fangsrud, Kelly M. Beuth, Lawrence Rowswell, Brittany Kucala, Mike Beiter, Amy Wrzos, and Angel Jacques.
Manny Fried’s Elegy for Stanley Gorski will be Subversive Theatre Collective’s sixth installment of the annual Workers’ Power Play Series. Directed by Kurt Schneiderman, the production will open March 15 at the Manny Fried Playhouse. Based on Fried’s real-life experiences as a Buffalo labor organizer, the play tells the story of a victim of the McCarthyite witch-hunts of the 1950s. The production, which runs through April 7, will star, among others, Victor Morales, Christina Rausa, Richard Hummert, Jane Cudmore, and Todd Fuller.
Donna Hoke’s Black and White and Larry G. Smith’s Autumn’s Door are among the short plays included in this year’s Buffalo Quickies at the Alleyway Theatre. Now in its 21st year, the festival of one-act plays will also feature the winner of the 2011 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, Love Liza? by Jay C. Rehak, and the return of Ted Hoover’s As You Liked It, which premiered in 1999.
Coming next at TOY, A Wrinkle in Time, John Glore’s adaptation of the children’s classic book by Madeleine L’Engle. Directed by Meg Quinn, the production opens on March 23 and will star Cassie Gorniewicz, Simon Blu Randle, Linda Stein, Joyce Carolyn, RJ Voltz, and Bobby Cooke. TOY will conclude its 40th anniversary season with the timeless classic Charlotte’s Web.
And the much-in-demand Cassie Gorniewicz will play Jeanie in the upcoming Musicalfare summer production of Hair. The show will also star, among several others, Patrick Cameron, Dudney Joseph, Anthony Alcocer, Arin Lee Dandes, Kurt Erb, and Jonathan Young. Hair opens on July 5.
Dinner theater returns to Desiderio’s with the comedy Let’s Murder Marsha. Directed by Jay Desiderio, the production will run March 9-May 20.
Road Less Traveled Productions concludes its A. R. Gurney cycle with his play Ancestral Voices, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Bob Grabowski, Lisa Vitrano, Dave Hayes, Joe Natale, and Kathleen Betsko Yale. The production, which runs April 20-May 13, coincides with the company’s annual spring gala on May 5, at which Gurney will be the guest of honor. The gala reception will be at the Saturn Club following the performance. For information to this event call 629-3069.
The Kavinoky will hold its annual fundraiser Kavalcade, on April 21, also at the Saturn Club. The event runs 7-10pm. For tickets, call 829-7668.
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