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Stagefright

The fabulous Megan Hilty (pictured above) will be part of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra 2014-15 Pops Series. The star of TV’s Smash and the now canceled Sean Saves the World will appear in concert with the BPO on March 14, 2015. Hilty made her Broadway debut as Glinda in 2005 in Wicked, and in 2009 she starred in the musical 9 to 5. The BPO Pops series will also feature Broadway veterans Matthew Morrison, Debbie Gravitte, and Ben Vereen. The BPO season kicks off with its opening night gala on September 13, An Evening with Renee Fleming. The great opera diva turns 55 on February 14.

Incidentally, Fleming will be making her legit stage debut at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer. She will play an opera diva in the comedy Living on Love, adapted by Joe DiPietro from Garson Kanin’s last play, Pecadillo. Among her many upcoming appearances this year, Fleming will be in Los Angeles in May playing Blanche DuBois, a role created for her by André Previn in his 1998 opera A Streetcar Named Desire. Once aimed for Broadway in the mid 1980s, Pecadillo was performed in a revised version in 1989 at Rochester’s Geva Theatre. Kanin (1912-1999) was born in Rochester; Fleming grew up there, and attended the Eastman School of Music. Widely known for his play Born Yesterday, Kanin’s 1980 novel Smash was the inspiration for the TV show of the same name.

Alleyway Theatre’s 23rd annual Buffalo Quickies will open on March 27. Among this year’s selections of one-act plays, there will be two world premieres by Mark C. Lloyd (I’m not Sure and Roses are Red) and one world premiere by Donna Hoke (For a Loop). Directed by Joyce Stilson, the production will feature Michael Starzynski, Darryl Hart, Jacquie Cherry, Patty Hannel, and Tyler Brown.

For its second collaboration with Ujima Company, Buffalo Public Theatre will present the Greek tragedy The Trojan Women, starring Lorna C. Hill as Hecuba. Co-directed by Joe Natale and Kelli Bocock-Natale, the production will also star Shatinna Moore, Andrea Profeta, Caitlin Coleman, Marie Hasselback Costa, Annette Taylor Daniels, Diane Curley, Michael Seitz and Eliza Vann. The Trojan Women opens March 28 at TheaterLoft.

Jonathan Young will portray Lee Harvey Oswald and the Balladeer in Second Generation Theatre’s production of Sondheim’s musical Assassins. Following their great success last year with Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Second Generation will perform Assassins June 26-July 13 at the New Phoenix. Directed by Chris Cavanaugh, the musical will also star Ben Puglisi, Phil Farugia, Steve Copps, Geoff Pictor, Jacob Albarella, Nick Lama, Arin Dandes, Michele Benzin, and Eric Rawski. The ensemble will feature Renee Landrigan, Sophie Howes, Matthew Iwanski, Kevin Kennedy, and Christopher Andreana. Assassins first opened off-Broadway in 1990 and made its Broadway debut in 2004, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival. Neil Patrick Harris, who returns to Broadway as Hedwig this spring, played Oswald and the Balladeer.

Aiming to present the must-see show of the summer in Buffalo every year, Second Generation Theatre has plans to mount Andre Lippa’s musical The Wild Party in 2015. Nothing better than being able to plan in advance!

The Kavinoky will finish the current season with the hilarious musical Pete ’n’ Keely, directed by Joe Demerly, starring Norm Sham and Loraine O’Donnell as a divorced singing duo from the 1960s getting together for a TV reunion special. O’Donnell won the 2003 Artie for her performance in that show when it was produced by Musicalfare.

Following Sweet Street and Fillmore, Richard Lambert completes his trilogy of musicals about Buffalo with Buffalo Moon. With original music by Steve Borowski, this last installment deals with families and finding a home, and tells of how Lambert got to Buffalo. Directed by Drew McCabe, the production will star Wendy Hall, Tom Makar, Gary Andrews, Todd Fuller, Michele Costa, Eric Mowery, and Franklin LaVoie, with choreography by Amy Taravella. Buffalo Moon opens March 21.

Buffalo’s Steve Henderson and Roslyn Ruff (pictured below) are headed to Broadway again. Ruff will portray Coretta Scott King in All the Way, a play about the first years of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. Henderson will play Bobo in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which just lost one of its stars, Diahann Carroll. She will be replaced by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Richardson has also a Buffalo connection: She was in the original Negro Ensemble Company production of Endesha Holland’s From the Mississippi Delta in 1988.