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Stagefright

Stage and screen star Denis O’Hare (pictured left) was the toast of New York a couple of seasons ago when he co-wrote (with director Lisa Peterson) and starred in An Iliad, a modern-day retelling of Homer’s classic epic. O’Hare won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. Well known to television audiences for his appearances in True Blood and American Horror Story and currently starring in the film Dallas Buyers Club, O’Hare won a Tony in 2003 for his performance in the drama Take Me Out. Other Broadway appearances include the musicals Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Assassins. He also played the Baker in the 2012 Public Theater production of Into the Woods at Central Park in New York.

On March 7, Road Less Traveled Productions will present the Western New York premiere of An Iliad, and it will now be Matt Witten’s turn to embark in this one-man tour de force. Directed by David Oliver, featuring a new original score by Al Kryszak, the production will run through March 30. The company’s final production of this season will be David Mamet’s Race, directed by Scott Behrend, starring Doug Zschiegner, Pete Johnson, Danica Riddick, and Dave Hayes. The 2014-15 season will kick off with Ira Levin’s thriller Deathtrap, directed by Behrend, starring Oliver. Only one new local play will be part of the new season’s lineup: Jon Elston’s After America: Wasteland 2015.

And speaking of Behrend, he will be working at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in May, serving as assistant director to acclaimed Broadway director Dan Sullivan for a new play by Donald Margulies, The Country House. Inspired by the pastoral comedies of Anton Chekhov, the play will run June 3rd-July 13th. Margulies’s Pulitzer Prize winning Dinner with Friends is currently enjoying a successful New York revival directed by Pam MacKinnon. Should we expect Margulies or Sullivan to join RLTP’s National Advisory Board?

In between local directing and acting gigs, Doug Zschiegner is now in Virginia at the Roanoke Children’s Theatre, directing Teen Brain, a musical by Linda Daugherty and Nick Martin that deals with, among other issues, underage drinking and driving, social media, divorce, and teen sex. Daugherty is the author of the popular play The Secret Life of Girls and she serves as resident playwright for Dallas Children’s Theater, where Teen Brain had its world premiere. The musical opens in Roanoke this week followed by a West Virginia tour.

And in Buffalo, our own Theatre of Youth continues its season with the exciting, legendary Robin Hood. Directed by Chris Kelly, the production stars Megan Callahan, Alan Trinca, Anthony Alcocer, Adam Yellen, Billy Horn, and Adam Rath as the title character (in tights). The show opens March 21.

Matthew LaChiusa’s new play Shine, about a moonshining family in Tennessee during the 1960s, will have its world premiere at American Repertory Theater of WNY in April. Directed by Mark C. Lloyd, the production will star Michael Wachowiak, David Mitchell, Priscilla Young Anker, Billy Horn, Brandon Williamson, and Michael Leszczynski. The company will hold its annual Mardi Gras Celebration on March 1, 7 pm-midnight, at Bittner Hall (16 Linwood Avenue). The evening features food, musical entertainment, and readings from the Louisiana book of folktales, Gumbo Ya Ya. Among the readers: Christopher Standart, Gail Golden, Betsy Bittar, and Deborah A Krygier.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will no longer be on stage this season at O’Connell & Company. In its place, the company will present the musical Godspell (April 24-May 25). For next season, musicals under consideration are Jerry’s Girls and Ring of Fire.

Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan is back in New York, but this time on Broadway and starring Daniel Radcliffe, who was also in the London production of the play last year. McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane may be back in Buffalo next season as part of the Irish Classical Theatre’s lineup. Leenane opened on Broadway in 1998 and was presented at Studio Arena in 2000, directed by Vincent O’Neill, starring Josephine Hogan. The New Phoenix presented the play in 2009, directed by Joe Natale.

After all these years, The Phantom of the Opera is back on tour and will play Rochester’s Auditorium Theatre April 16-27. Another favorite, Disney’s The Lion King, will play the Princess of Wales in Toronto, April 30-June 15. The Actors Fund in New York is hosting a special fund gala in April to celebrate 20 years of Disney on Broadway. Disney Theatrical Productions was formed in 1994, the year Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway. Since then we have had Aida, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and Newsies. Aladdin begins previews this week, and Frozen is already in the works.

Current Broadway shows that are launching national tours this year include Kinky Boots, Pippin, Motown, and Cinderella. A new non-Equity production Annie will also hit the road, directed by the show’s book writer, Martin Charnin.