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Stage and TV star John O’Hurley (pictured above) will be playing Billy Flynn when the touring production of the musical Chicago plays Shea’s, once again, February 17th—22nd. O’Hurley is best known to TV audiences for playing J. Peterman on Seinfeld and as the former host of Family Feud. He has played the role several times on Broadway. Mexican American TV and stage star Bianca Marroquín will be playing Roxie Hart. She comes from a recent turn as Roxie on Broadway where she first played the part in 2002 after having originated the part in the Mexico City production. She is very well known to Univision viewers for her role as one of the judges in Mira Quien Baila, the Latin version of Dancing with the Stars. Roz Ryan will play Mama Morton. Ryan holds the Broadway record for having played more performances of Chicago than any other leading actress in the show’s 18-year run. Chicago, the second longest running show on Broadway, opened in October 1996.

Speaking of long running shows on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will celebrate its 27th anniversary on January 26th. This is turning out to be a good year for Lloyd Webber. His new musical, School of Rock, based on the 2003 Jack Black film, will begin previews at the Winter Garden in November. It’s the first time since the 1971 premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar, that a new Lloyd Webber musical will open on Broadway prior to London. Cats is now playing an extended West End revival in London and its Broadway revival is also in the works. And Donna Murphy will play Norma Desmond in an upcoming reading of Sunset Boulevard, produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. The National Tour of Phantom plays Shea’s March 18-29.

It’s also turning out to be a good year for drag on the Buffalo stage. We begin with Artvoice’s Anthony Chase playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at Buffalo State (March 12th-20th). Christopher Standart takes film star Mary Dale in Charles Busch’s Red Scare on Sunset at Subversive Theatre (March 19th-April 11th). Joe Bucheker and Guy Tomassi will play sisters addicted to BINGO in The Queen of BINGO at O’Connell & Company (April 9-26). Chris Kelly plays Lady Julia Merton in Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime at ICTC (June 5th-28th). Shakespeare in Delaware Park will feature an all-male cast headed by Tim Newell as Olivia in Twelfth Night (July 23rd- August 16th). There is still the yet unnamed Jimmy Janowksi project at BUA in July. And now, Janowski has been asked to portray Madame Armfeldt in the ICTC Curtain Up! production of A Little Night Music, directed by Kelly. Should there be another category added to the Artie Awards? By the way, the 25th annual ceremony is scheduled for Monday, June 1st.

ICTC is also planning to present John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy/drama Outside Mullingar as part of its 25th anniversary season (2015-16). The four-character play was nominated for a 2014 Tony Award. The New York production starred Brian O’Byrne who performed with ICTC in the company’s early years before becoming a regular on the New York stage. O’Byrne won the 2004 Tony Award for his performance in Frozen. He made his Broadway debut in 1998 in The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

After the very successful run of Over the Tavern last fall, Tom Dudzick returns to the Kavinoky next season with his play King o’ the Moon, the second play in his tavern trilogy. The company is also looking at David Hare’s Skylight. The two-character play will have a limited Broadway run in the spring starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan who starred in the London revival of the play last year.

Mary Chase’s classic Pulitzer Prize winner Harvey (1945) will be presented by The New Phoenix next season. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream concludes the current season, directed by Kelli Bocock Natale, April 23rd-May 24th.

Red Thread Theatre will present Frank Gilroy’s Pulitzer Prize winner drama The Subject was Roses (1965) for Curtain Up! 2015. Prior to that, in May-June the company will present another Pulitzer Prize winner, Lanford Wilson’s Talley’s Folly (1980).

Topdog/Underdog, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner by Suzan Lori-Parks returns to Ujima February 20th-March 15th, directed by Roosevelt Tidwell, starring Preach Freedom and Amilcar Hill. Lori-Parks is the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

Paschal Frisina as Billy and Edie Grossman as Julie, will star in Musicalfare’s upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Directed by Randall Kramer, with music direction by Theresa Quinn, the show will also star Arin Lee Dandes, Dudney Joseph, Charmagne Chi, Greg Gjurich, Wendy Hall, and Celine Keefe. The show opens in April.

The theater community welcomed two new additions in January: Ruby June Behrend, born to Betsy and Scott Behrend, artistic director of Road Less Traveled Productions on the 10th; and Noah James Copps, born to actors Kelly (Jakiel) and Steve Copps of Second Generation Theatre, on the 12th. I see TOY subscriptions in their futures!