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Stagefright

The fabulous Lea Michele (pictured above) sang Sondheim this week on her TV show, Glee. The series is now following Michele’s character as she gets ready to star in a Broadway revival of Funny Girl. In real life, a few years ago, Michele was rumored to star in a Broadway revival of Funny Girl. She even got to sing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” at the Tony awards in 2010. The revival was then confirmed for 2012 with Lauren Ambrose and Bobby Canavale, but the show was canceled before its tryout in Los Angeles. Now it is rumored that Michele will star in the Broadway production of the musical Friends, in the role originally played by Jennifer Aniston in the popular TV show. Covering practically all media, her debut album, Louder, was released in March, and her first book, Brunette Ambition, is set for release in May. The screen adaptation of the 2006 Broadway musical Spring Awakening, which starred Michele, is already in the works.

Joyce Stilson will make her Irish Classical Theatre Company debut in the upcoming production of Sean O’Casey’s classic tragic-comedy The Plough and the Stars. The play stars, among others, Vincent O’Neill, Josephine Hogan, Matt Mooney, Anthony Alcocer, Beth Donohue, Andrea Andolina, Chris Kelly, and Gerry Maher.

On Sunday, April 13 at 4pm at Shadow Lounge (1504 Hertel Avenue), Theater Jugend will present a staged reading of Aaron Krygier and Justin Karcher’s Click Chamber. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the company’s trip to New York City, where the play will be performed as part of the Festival of the Offensive at the end of the month. In addition to Krygier and Karcher, the reading will also feature Peter Calieri, Bryan Patrick Stoyle, Hilary Walker, and Lamont Bellsarios. Tickets will be available at the door, food, drinks, and live music included.

The Paul Robeson Theatre will conclude its current season with Gee’s Bend, a play featuring gospel music, based on a true story about a family in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Directed by Thomas W. Jones, the show stars Annette Christian, Mary Craig, Denise Smith, and Leon Copeland. Gee’s Bend opens May 9.

After appearing in Torn Space’s production of Mud, Willie Judson will direct Ujima’s upcoming Bourbon at the Border by Pearl Cleage. The play will run May 30-June 22, starring Roosevelt Tidwell and Shantinna Moore. Cleage is the author of Flyin’ West and Blues for an Alabama Sky.

Theatre of Youth will open its 2014-15 season with the musical Seussical. In the mean time, hurry up and get your tickets for Pinkalicious: The Musical, which returns May 9-June 1.

The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women by lesbian playwright Carolyn Gage will be up next for the Brazen-Faced Varlets. This piece of interactive theater will be directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Heather Fangsrud, Kelly M. Beuth, Theresa DiMuro Wilber, Diane McNamara, Marisa Caruso, Sophie Howes, Kerry Alsheimer, Virginia Brannon, and Jane Cudmore. The show opens May 1 at Rust Belt Books.

Paschal Frisina and Debbie Pappas will play Mr. and Mrs. Banks in Artpark’s summer production of Mary Poppins, with Loraine O’Donnell as the Bird Woman. The show also stars Syndi Starr, Keith Ersing, and Maggie Zindle. After starring in The Sound of Music last year, and in Cinderella in 2011, Emilie Renier returns to play Mary Poppins.

Tony winner Michael McGrath (the Gershwin’s Nice Work If You Can Get It) will star in The Odd Couple at the Geva Theatre in Rochester, April 22-May 18. Next season, the theater will present the world premiere of True Home, an evening of story and song by Cass Morgan. Morgan appeared at Studio Arena in Ring of Fire, and is now on Broadway in The Bridges of Madison County. She also was the original Bird Woman in Mary Poppins.

Legendary movie star Mickey Rooney (pictured below) died of natural causes this past Sunday at age 93. In show business since the age of one, Rooney finally made his Broadway debut in 1979 in the hugely successful musical Sugar Babies, which also starred Anne Miller. The show ran for three years and then embarked on a national tour that had a stop at Shea’s. Rooney returned to Broadway in The Will Rogers Follies in the early 1990s.