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Stagefright

Stage and TV star Dulé Hill (pictured above) is back on Broadway starring in the musical After Midnight. (The production also features a very prominent performance by Niagara University alumna and native Buffalonian, Carmen Ruby Floyd.) Hill currently stars on the USA network series Psych, which is airing its two-hour special Psych: The Musical on December 15. Hill, who was in last season’s play Stick Fly, made his Broadway in 1984 as the understudy for Savion Glover in The Tap Dance Kid.

When the Alleyway Theatre opens its 31st annual production of A Christmas Carol this week, David C. Mitchell will be stepping into the role of Scrooge. He will be the seventh actor to play the part over the years, taking over for British actor John Smeathers, who retired last year after having played Scrooge for 14 years. Scrooge was first played by Tom Martin, followed by Michael Ehrenreich, J. Brian Hayes, Tim Denesha, and John Buscaglia. Most recently seen in Road Less Traveled’s Clybourne Park, Mitchell has appeared in a number of Alleyway productions over the past decade and, for the past five seasons, has appeared in A Christmas Carol in the multiple roles of Jacob Marley, Topper, and Old Joe.

Next spring, Torn Space will present Mud, a drama by Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes. One of the founders of the off-off-Broadway movement in the 1960s, Fornes has written more than 40 plays, starting with The Widow in 1961. Her last completed work was Letters from Cuba in 2000, which was presented in New York City as part of the Signature Theater Company’s season-long festival of her work. Fornes was in Buffalo in 1988 directing her play Abingdon Square at Studio Arena and taking part in the First International Women Playwrights Conference. Now 83 years old, Fornes has had Alzheimer’s disease for more than 10 years. Mud will be directed by Dan Shanahan, starring Patrick Moltane, Bonnie Jean Taylor, and Willie Judson, who recently directed The Sunset Limited at the Paul Robeson.

And going in the other direction, from acting to directing, fresh after her star turn as Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes, Josephine Hogan will direct Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of no Importance for the Irish Classical Theatre Company. The production opens January 17 and will star, among others, Vincent O’Neill, Gerry Maher, Eileen Dugan, Kelli Bocock Natale, Kathleen Betsko Yale, Diane Curley, Jenn Stafford, Chris Kelly, and Doug Weyand.

Actor/director Christopher Standart will direct Kaleidoscope’s upcoming production, the thriller Murder in Green Meadows. Running January 31-February 1, the play will star Timothy Finnegan, Michael Seitz, Stephanie Bax, and Becky Globus.

While the Kavinoky is closing the very successful run of Tom Dudzick’s Miracle on South Division Street this week, Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre is opening Dudzick’s comedy Greetings also this week, running through January 25. Directed by Jay Desiderio, the show stars Marc-Jon Filippone, Cynthia Schmitt, Marie Costa, Rich Kraemer, and Jacob Marciniak. Future shows at Desiderio’s include Prescription Murder (the play that introduced the popular character, detective Columbo) and the Neil Simon comedy The Sunshine Boys.

Joe Donohue of The Albrights fame will play the title role in the rock-opera The Who’s Tommy which opens in February at Musicalfare, directed by Chris Cavanagh, with choreography by Kristy Schupp and music direction by Philip Farugia. The musical will also star Jake Albarella as Uncle Ernie, Louis Colaiacovo as Captain Walker, Michele Marie Roberts as Mrs. Walker, Steve Copps as Cousin Kevin, Ben Puglisi as Hawker, and Loraine O’Donnell singing Acid Queen.

Save the dates! The Irish Classical Theatre Company’s annual benefit The Wake will be held on March 7 at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s 20th Annual Fabulous Feast will be held on April 5.

Almost 50 years after its Broadway debut, Kander & Ebb’s musical Cabaret remains very popular. A Broadway revival is scheduled to open in April, 10 years after the last revival closed. Alan Cumming will return as the Master of Ceremonies. The Shaw Festival will also present Cabaret, April 10-October 26.

Speaking of Broadway, The Lion King became the fourth longest-running Broadway show on November 30, surpassing the original production of Les Miserables.

Terrence McNally’s (pictured below, left) new play And Away We Go! officially opened at New York’s Pearl Street Company on November 24. The play stars Donna Lynne Champlin (pictured below, center), a Rochester native with vast Broadway and off-Broadway credits. Back in the 1980s, Champlin appeared in a local production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, presented by the now gone Upstage New York. Up next for McNally, his play Mothers and Sons opens on Broadway in March, starring Tyne Daly.