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Happy birthday to the fabulous Christine Baranski (pictured), who turned 61 on May 2. Winner of two Tony awards (Stoppard’s The Real Thing, Neil Simon’s Rumors) and an Emmy for her performance in Cybill, Baranski made a welcome return to the New York stage this past weekend to star in the Encores! production of the 1936 Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes. Now occupying most of her time in the small screen (The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory), she was last seen on Broadway in 2008 in the British farce Boeing, Boeing. Baranski, who will celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary to actor Matthew Coles this fall, is featured in the New York State television ad promoting Buffalo as a place to do business. Rumors are still circulating that she will join the movie version of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, playing the Wicked Stepmother. Her Mamma Mia co-star Meryl Streep has been cast as the Witch, and Johnny Depp will play the Big Bad Wolf.

Steve Copps will be the Big Bad Wolf, who also doubles as Cinderella’s Prince in the local production on Into the Woods which will be presented by Second Generation Theatre June 6-23 at the New Phoenix Theatre. Cinderella is played by one of the company’s co-founders, Kelly Jakiel Copps. Others in the cast include Jacob Albarella (Rapunzel’s Prince), Ben Puglisi (Narrator), and Kristen Krip Kelley as the Giant.

The New Phoenix will kick off its 2013-14 season with Venus in Fur, the two-person play by David Ives, to be directed by Robert Waterhouse. Adriano Gatto will play the male lead, a playwright/director who is casting the female lead in his new play, based on the classic erotic novel. The part was originated on Broadway by Hugh Dancy. The New Phoenix season will also include The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, directed by Loraine O’Donnell, starring Zoe Diana (of the Abel clan, she is Kerrykate Abel’s daughter) and Arin Lee Dandes; Mutiny on the Bounty, directed by Waterhouse, starring, among others, Richard Lambert, Chris Kelly, and Christian Brandjes; and A. R. Gurney’s Buffalo Gal which was postponed from earlier this year. Also in the lineup, the world premiere of the musical Buffalo Moon, written by Lambert and Steve Borowski, under the supervision of Drew McCabe.

After performing at different locations this past year, Theater Jugend will set up residence for its fourth season at the ALT space located in the Great Arrow Building. The company begins its three-show season in November with the black comedy Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, followed in February by the comedy Orgazmo, based on the film by Trey Parker, one of the creators of South Park. Lastly, Captain Jett Bettington and the Adventures on Planet Earth: A Space Odyssey in 3 Episodes, a new play by Jacob Albarella and Jason Kaiser, will have its world premiere in May 2014.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, a punk-rock musical that played on Broadway in 2010-11, will make its Buffalo debut next season courtesy of American Repertory Theater of WNY. The musical reinvents the seventh US president as an emo rock star who kicks major ass. The ART season will also include new plays by Mark Humphrey and Matthew LaChiusa, and the classic Hatful of Rain.

The Irish Classical Theatre Company finishes its season with Hugh Leonard’s A Life this June, and will present Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels June 2014 as part of its 2013-14 season, which will also include Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance, and the return of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars. As we previously announced, the season will open with Moliere’s The School for Husbands.

Making its world premiere at the Alleyway in September, Neal Radice’s Night Work. Based on true facts, the play tells the story of Buffalo restaurateur Joe Radice (Neal’s great grand uncle) who opened the old Rotisserie Restaurant on Main Street in 1917, and the legal case he took all the way to the Supreme Court. The season will also include two other world premieres, Dan Noonan’s comedy Set Up, directed by Todd Warfield, starring Joyce Stilson; and the drama To the Top by Ron Radice (no relation to the other two). And yes, it is true. After 15 years, John Smeathers played Scrooge for the last time this past December in A Christmas Carol. David C. Mitchell takes over the role December 5-22 for the company’s 31st annual presentation. And what would an Alleyway season be without Buffalo Quickies, the 2014 version opens in April.