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The Fall Theater Season

The Grapes of Wrath at Subversive Theatre

The first sign of fall in the theater world is not the turning of leaves or an abundance of fresh apples. It’s the kick-off of numerous theater seasons, culminating with Curtain Up! on September 19th.

A quick look at the On the Boards theater listing in this issue of Artvoice proves this observation. Three shows will open this week, and momentum builds in the weeks to come with a dozen more.

In a live medium, it is difficult to know what will be a “highlight,” but at this point, certain announcements do catch the eye.

Tom Dudzick seems to have settled in at the Kavinoky Theatre quite comfortably with a 20th anniversary production of his beloved Over the Tavern, following last year’s big hit production of his play, Miracle on South Division Street.

This appears to be director Robert Waterhouse’s year of World War I, beginning with All Quiet on the Western Front at the New Phoenix, to be followed by Journey’s End at the Kavinoky later in the season.

Jimmy Janowski proves, once again, that you can’t keep a good gal down, with the return of his Artie nominated performance in Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire at BUA, for four shows only for Curtain Up! He portrays Blanche Dubois, a born survivor.

Road Less Traveled will take respite from a steady diet of new works with a tried and true Broadway thriller, Deathtrap!

Out in Lancaster, Jay Desiderio proves that the dinner theater format is un-killable with a most unlikely choice, Lisa Ludwig as a high priced call girl on trial for murder in Nuts.

Theatre of Youth goes Broadway, big time, with Seussical the Dr. Seuss musical.

The Paul Robeson shakes things up with a world premiere blues opera, Shake Em On Down by R. Skye Kamiyo, directed by Mary Craig.

O’Connell & Company showcases Anne Gayley in Uta Hagen’s final role, Six Dance Lesson in Six Weeks, about a widow who fights loneliness by enrolling in dance lessons, also starring Gregory Gjurich

But to focus on the immediate offerings, the following shows open this week:

BALLOONACY is one-man play without words by Barry Kornhauser, presented by Theatre of Youth’s Theatre for the Very Young that is being staged out at The Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre at the Jewish Community Center in Getzville. This is part of a brand new series at TOY for very young children, ages three and four. This is the Red Balloon, but featuring a reclusive man who is lured back into life and the world by a friendly and insistent red balloon. Kurt Guba plays the role.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is an adorable homage to those obsessed with Broadway musicals of the past. A man in a chair, fanatical about musicals, listens to an old album, and as he describes a forgotten show from a by-gone era, the walls of his apartment fly away and the show comes to life before our very eyes. MusicalFare has assembled, almost without exception, a perfect cast.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH is the widely admired stage adaptation of John Steinbeck’s great novel about a family during the Great Depression. Subversive Theatre takes on the epic tale under the direction of Gary Darling at The Manny Fried Playhouse.

For details about these, and other offerings in the new fall line-up, see the On the Boards section of this issue.