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TV’s Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens (pictured above) is currently making his Broadway debut playing the handsome suitor in the revival of the 1947 drama The Heiress, which also stars Jessica Chastain and Judith Ivey. The third season of Downton Abbey began airing last Sunday on PBS, and the fourth season will begin shooting in England this winter, reportedly without Stevens. The Heiress will finish its limited engagement on Broadway on February 10.

Road Less Traveled Productions was the last local theater company to perform at Studio Arena before it closed its doors in 2008. It seems befitting for the company to be the first to perform at the same space, now called simply 710 Main Theatre. The comedy Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, about a creative drama class for adults, will play there February 1-17, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Lisa Vitrano, Dave Hayes, Morgan Chard, Robert Rutland, and Kelsey George Mogensen. The play won the Obie Award for Best New American Play in 2009.

Theatre of Youth will revive the popular James & the Giant Peach, January 25-February 10. Directed by Meg Quinn, this production will star Kurt Guba, Simon Blu Randle, Linda Stein, Tilke Hill, Marc-Jon Filippone, Arin Lee Dandes, and Adam Rath. Designer Ken Shaw will incorporate Betsey Baun’s 1996 Artie Award winning costume designs for James’s insect friends into his design. “Her fantastical insects are so charming, wonderful, and have endured in such a timeless way,” he said.

Brazen-Faced Varlets have received a Pro-Choice Foundation grant to produce and present Words of Choice 2, a collection of excerpts of the works of numerous advocates for reproductive freedom. The piece has been showcased all around the country; its first Buffalo presentation will be directed by Kelly Beuth. Performances will take place at Hallwalls, January 18-20 at 7:30pm.

Up next for Kaleidoscope, A Night With Schwartz, an original musical revue developed and directed by Beth A. Gerardi-Wharton and Thea Fenton Wheeler. The revue features more than 20 songs written by Stephen Schwartz, who wrote, among others, the musicals Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, and Children of Eden. The show stars Bethany Burrows, Kelly Kroese, Melissa Leventhal, Christian Riso, Mary Ryan, Shawn William Smith, Robert “Ernie” Insana, and Gerardi-Wharton. The company has also invited members of the Buffalo theater and arts community to perform a musical number at every performance. The show will run February 1-16.

The touring production of the Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert launches this week in Minneapolis and will arrive at Shea’s on February 19. Based on the popular movie, the musical won the 2011 Tony Award for costume design. Still to come in Shea’s Broadway season are the musicals Sister Act and The Book of Mormon. The latter has been breaking box-office records in every city it plays. The London production opens on February 25.

Buffalo’s Jeffry Denman has joined the New York revival of Sondheim’s Passion. The show runs February 28-April 7 at the Classic Stage Company.

It seems that Chuck Basil will take up the musical direction of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite, which is scheduled to open in March at American Repertory Theatre. Basil was also scheduled to perform at the New Phoenix production of Jazz Hot Mama, starring Kelli Bocock Natale but that production has apparently been postponed. Also, gone from the Alleyway schedule (February 7-March 2), the previously announced Night Work by Neal Radice, which will instead be presented for Curtain Up!

Tickets are already on sale for both the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival. Over the fall the Stratford dropped “Shakespeare” from its name and welcomed Antoni Cimolino as artistic director. Outgoing artistic director Des McAnuff will return to direct his production of Tommy.

Next for BUA, the New York premiere of Fucking Men by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro. Based on Schnitzler’s La Ronde, the play previously ran in London, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The cast, pictured below, back row: James Wild, James Mikula, Michael Seitz, Stephen Brachmann, Brant Adamczyk, Richard Fanning; front row: Jimi Konidis, Joey Bucheker, J. R. Finan, and Matthew Crehan Higgins. Performances begin February 1.