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The fabulous Jessie Mueller (pictured above) who won the 2014 Tony Award for playing Carole King in the musical Beautiful: The Carole King Story, will be back on Broadway this season starring in the new musical Waitress. Based on the popular 2007 film of the same name, the music and lyrics for the show were written by singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles (of 2007 Love Song fame), and is being directed by Diane Paulus who received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for Pippin (coming to Shea’s January 26th – 31st). Both Bareilles and the current Broadway cast of Beautiful (headed by Chilina Kennedy) were present to celebrate the legendary Carole King at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Waitress will start Broadway previews on March 25th and open on April 24th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Mueller will also be playing a recurring role in the upcoming new ABC drama The Family which premieres in March and stars Joan Allen. The touring production of Beautiful will play Shea’s March 15th – 20th. Abby Mueller (Jessie’s sister) is playing Carole King.

Speaking of new musicals, it will be a crowded field for the Tony Awards this year, although Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton seems like the sure winner. Now also playing: Allegiance, starring George Takei, set during the period of the Japanese-American internment during World War II; On Your Feet!, based on the life story of Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio; School of Rock, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber piece based on the 2003 hit movie. Coming up: Bright Star, with a book by Steve Martin; American Psycho, a British import featuring a score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening); Tuck Everlasting, based on the novel by Natalie Babbitt, directed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon); Shuffle Along, a backstage musical about the creation of Eubie Blake’s musical of the same name, starring Audra McDonald (FYI, just in case, McDonald will not appear June 20th September 25th). Already closed: Amazing Grace (June – October 2015).

Shea’s Bufalo turns 90 in 2016 and to celebrate, the Free Family Film Series will present the 1922 silent film Sherlock Holmes starring John Barrymore, accompanied by Bruce Woody on The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Show time is Sunday, January 17th at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. Tickets are available one week prior at Wegmans and at the theater’s box office.

Up next for The Brazen-Faced Varlets, Claire Chafee’s comedy-drama Why We Have a Body. Directed by Elizabeth Oddy, the production will star Jennifer Fitzery, Heather Fangsrud, Lara Haberberger and Jeanne Vuich. The show will run January 30th through February 14th, on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. (only matinees) at Rustbelt Books on Grant Street.

BUA will present the world premiere of the play with music Load More Guys by Todd Warfield at Alleyway Theatre opening on February 19th, starring Michael Seitz, Tyler Brown, Joey Bucheker, Sean Marciniak, Aaron Mrowka, Sean Murphy, Chris Robinson, David Spychalski and Bebe Bvlgari,

More world premieres on our way by Artie Award winners Donna Hoke and Gary Earl Ross. Road Less Traveled will present Hoke’s Safe (Mach 11th-April 3rd), directed by Kyle LoConti, starring Michele Benzin, Matt Gilbert, Chris Evans, Jesse Tiebor, and Lisa Ludwig. Subversive Theatre Collective will present Ross’ The Mark of Cain (March 31st-April 30th), starring Dee Lamont Perry, Greg Howze, Candace Whitfield, and Lawrence Rowswell.

Laverne Clay will direct the upcoming Paul Robeson Theatre production of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man, a play about the true story of the unlikely friendship between Muhammad Ali and comedian/film actor Stepin Fetchit. The play will run February 5th-28th, starring Johnny Rowe, Joe Giambra, Leon Copeland, Courtney Turner, and Fisher.

Joshua Harmon’s 2013 off-Broadway’s comedy hit Bad Jews will be up next for Jewish Repertory Theatre. Directed by Steve Vaughan, starring Arin Lee Dandes, Jamie Nablo, Adam Rath, and Nick Stevens, the show will open February 4th.

Besides being busy promoting the movie The American Side, which was shot in the Queen City, Buffalo’s Greg Stuhr has returned to the New York stage to star off-Broadway in These Paper Bullets!, a rip-off of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Reportedly, Stuhr is hilarious playing the leader of a group of British agents.

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