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Happy New Year! South Buffalo native John Kennedy Kane (a.k.a. Circ, pictured above) does an outstanding job as the ringmaster for the fabulous Big Apple Circus in New York City. Before embarking on a national tour, the circus will be performing under the Big Top in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center through January 12. Kane is the author of a one-man show, Life in the Basement, based on his childhood memories staging circus acts in his basement. He’ll perform the show for one night only, under the Big Top at Lincoln Center at 6:30pm on Monday, January 6. Tickets are available at the door. Let all your days be theater (or circus) days!

We lost several theater stars in 2013. They say stars go in threes. Stage, film, and TV star Eileen Brennan, 80 (above left), died in July. Best known for her movie work (Private Benjamin, Clue, The Cheap Detective, The Sting), Brennan created the role of Irene Malloy in the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! in 1964. In 1998 she appeared in the New York premiere of The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. That production also featured Aisling O’Neill, daughter of the late Chris O’Neill. Karen Black, 74 (above center), died in August. Best known for her movie work, including Hitchcock’s last film Family Plot and Airport ’75, Black made her Broadway debut in 1961 and was last seen there in 1982 in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, starring opposite Sandy Dennis, Kathy Bates, and Cher (in her only Broadway appearance). The fabulous Julie Harris (above right) also died in August at age 87. Winner of five Tony awards, Harris was last seen on Broadway in 1997 in a revival of The Gin Game. Both Brennan and Harris starred in a production of Ladies in Retirement at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in the early 1990s.

2013 saw a number of weddings in the local theater community with cause for multiple celebrations. At one occasion, several cast members of BUA’s production of A…My Name is Alice (1992) posed for a reunion photo: Pictured below, left to right, they are Lori Jacobs, Tammy Hayes, Mary Kate O’Connell, Gail Golden, Debbie Pappas, Sheila McCarthy, and Anne Hartley Pfohl. BUA will be celebrating its 22nd anniversary on January 26 with a reading of Charles Busch’s Psycho Beach Party, reuniting Chris Kelly (pictured right as the lead character Chicklet in the original BUA production) and Jimmy Janowski. The reading will be held at the Evergreen Commons (262 Georgia Street).