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The fabulous Vanessa Williams (pictured left) will be appearing at the Seneca Niagara Events Center on December 28th at 8 p.m. Tickets went on sale last week. After several Grammy nominations for her recordings, Williams made her Broadway debut in 1994 taking over for Chita Rivera in the original production of Kiss of the Spider Woman. In 2002 she received a Tony nomination for playing the Witch in the revival of Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Earlier this year she co-starred with Cicely Tyson in the revival of The Trip to Bountiful.
Speaking of Broadway, a few new milestones! The revival of the musical Chicago, which now stars Buffalo’s Paul C. Vogt as Amos Hart, played its 7,000th performance in late September. This week, Roz Ryan, who plays Mama Morton, broke the longstanding record for the most performances played by a principal actress in the show’s 17-year run: 224 weeks and counting! Wicked is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Broadway this month, and in September it became the 11th-longest-running show, surpassing Miss Saigon. The touring production of Wicked will be back at Shea’s January 8-26. Tickets go on sale October 28. The Spanish version of Wicked opened in Mexico City on October 17.
Second Generation Theatre, which made its Buffalo debut this past June with an acclaimed production of Into the Woods, will continue its first season with Neil LaBute’s Some Girls. Directed by Steve Copps, the show will run January 30-February 16 at the New Phoenix. It is slated to star Brendan Cataldo, Meghan Gomez, Jessica Wegrzyn, Diane Di-Bernardo-Blenk, and Kristin Bentley.
Another new theater company, Buffalo Public Theatre, will arrive on the Buffalo scene in December with a production of The Wizard of Oz, directed and conceived by Kelli Bocock-Natale and starring Loraine O’Donnell, the company’s co-founders. The show, also starring Eric Rawski, Brian Riggs, Bobby Cooke, and Cecelia Barone, will run at Ujima’s TheaterLoft, where BPT will be in residence for the next three years. On Monday, October 28 at 7:30pm, Ujima and BPT will present a reading of Our Town, as a benefit for both companies. The Thornton Wilder classic premiered on Broadway 75 years ago. Tickets are $25.
Wilder’s classic The Matchmaker was the inspiration for the Broadway classic musical Hello, Dolly! TV and stage star Sally Struthers is now heading a 50th anniversary tour of the musical. London and Hamilton, Ontario are scheduled stops in November.
On Sunday November 3, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will present its Eighth Annual Fall Fundraiser, Hail to the Henrys, a staged reading adapted and directed by Saul Elkin. The reading will take place at 7pm at the Buffalo Seminary, with 6pm wine and hors d’oeuvres. For tickets call 856-4533. Next summer, the company will present Henry V and Comedy of Errors.
Theater Jugend opens its fourth season November 7 at the ALT Theatre in the Great Arrow Building with the dark comedy Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Directed by Drew McCabe, the production will star Jacob Albarella, Kevin Craig, Andrea Andolina, Jessica Wegrzyn, Kristin Bentley, Maura Nolan, and James Wild.
Colm Wilkinson, the original Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway in 1987, returns to UB’s Center for the Arts with his show Broadway, Christmas, & Beyond on December 10. Classical crossover recording star Alfie Boe is also coming to UB on February 22. Boe appeared on Broadway in 2002 in La Boheme. In 2010, he took on the role of Valjean in London to commemorate the show’s 25th anniversary. The popular Les Miz is heading back to Broadway in a newly re-imagined production set to open in March at the Imperial Theatre.
Broadway star Linda Eder will be back in Western New York, this time at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. She will perform on December 20.
Congratulations to actress/educator Kate Olena (pictured below, center), who was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Education at the New York State Theatre Education Association’s annual conference. Olena, who has taught theater for more than 30 years, mostly at Nichols Middle School, was presented the award by 2010 recipient Roger Paolini (pictured below with Artie award winning actress Kristen Tripp Kelley, Western Region chair of the association).
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