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Stagefright

The musical First Date came and went on Broadway this season but its male lead, Zachary Levi (pictured left), will be the recipient of a Theatre World Award for his performance. First presented in 1945, the Theatre World Awards are the oldest awards given for Outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances. First Date opened last August and closed in early January. It did not get any Tony Award nominations. Levi is best known for his role as Chuck Bartowski in the TV series Chuck. He was most recently seen in the film Thor: The Dark World.

Lisa Vitrano and Michael Seitz have joined the cast of the Road Less Traveled production of Deathtrap, which will open in September. Vitrano will play the part originated by the great Marian Seldes on Broadway in 1978. The play ran for almost 1,800 performances and Seldes did not miss a single one. The company will present its fifth annual Buffalo Young Writers Night on May 21 at 7:30pm. The evening will feature winners of the 2014 Buffalo Young Writers contest, which recognizes outstanding student playwrights in the Western New York area. The 2014 Grand Prize winner is A Long Line of Strong Women, a play by Naomi Asch, a sophomore theater major at UB.

O’Connell & Company will open next season with the comedy Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, starring Anne Gayley and Greg Gjurich. The play had a short run on Broadway in 2003 starring Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill (of Star Wars fame), after it was originally performed at the Geffen Playhouse in 2001 with the great Uta Hagen. The movie version starring Gena Rowlands is due to be released later this year. O’Connell & Co. will also present Jerry’s Girls, Songs for a New World, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

Gary Darling will direct Subversive Theatre’s Curtain Up production, The Grapes of Wrath. The play is based on the John Steinbeck classic, which was written 75 years ago. Joy Scime is set to star.

A touring production of Menopause The Musical will play 710 Main Theatre for eight performances this summer, July 8-13.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park will hold acting classes for adults this summer, conducted by Eileen Dugan. The sessions will culminate with a performance in the park. For further details and to apply, call 856-4533 by May 23.

A staged reading of Countergirls, a comedy by Michael Russell, will be presented on May 17 at 7pm at Connections Café (107 Main Street, Hamburg). Directed by Tony Baksa, the reading will feature Brenda Mikolajczak, Anna Luce, Michaelene LaNave, Maria Marinaccio, and PJ Tighe. Admission is free.

The Catholic Church has just canonized two Popes with theater connections. St. John XXIII became the first pope in two hundred years to attend the theater. He had T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral performed for him in the papal apartments. St. John Paul II was interested in theater since his university days in Poland, when he helped set up a clandestine theater group that performed in unconventional venues. He was also an accomplished playwright.

John Fredo will play Willy Loman in the Irish Classical Theatre’s production of Death of a Salesman in the fall.

Our best wishes to actor Stu Roth, who is recovering from some cracked ribs he suffered after a fall. He is at Buffalo General. Roth received an Artie nomination for his performance as Willy in the first year of the Artie Awards back in 1991. This year’s Arties will be held on Monday, June 2, at the Town Ballroom.

This year, in the awards season, it’s all about our Buffalo gals at the Tony awards. Roslyn Ruff (pictured below left) is in the cast of the Tony nominated play All the Way. Carmen Ruby Floyd (pictured below right) is in the cast of the Tony nominated musical After Midnight. And, not to be left behind, Steve Henderson is in the cast of A Raisin in the Sun, nominated for Best Revival of a Play.