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The fabulous Nichelle Nichols (pictured above), most famous for playing Lieutenant Uhura aboard the Enterprise in the TV show Star Trek, just turned 83 this past December 28th. The show premiered in 1966 and Uhura was one of the first African American female characters on TV who was not a servant. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. personally praised Nichols’ work on the show and asked her to continue to play the role when she considered leaving Star Trek after the first season. And, coming to Shea’s on February 6th at 8pm, Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, a concert to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary featuring a live symphony orchestra with film and TV footage beamed to 40-foot wide screen. Tickets are already on sale.

Up next for Torn Space The Shipment, a play by Korean-American writer Young Jean Lee that premiered in January 2009 in New York. According to the playwright, “the play’s goal is to figure out how to engage with other people in a sensitive open communicative way. It’s about improving communication across racial lines.” Directed by Dan Shanahan, the production will star Dudney Joseph, Danica Riddick, Peter Johnson, Greg Howze, and Roosevelt Tidwell. The Shipment opens on February 18th.

Theatre of Youth’s production of Number the Stars will play for the general public one weekend only, February 6th & 7th at 2pm As both shows are almost sold out, a performance has been added on February 6th at 5:30pm.

On Monday, January 25th at 7:30pm at the Alleyway Theatre, BUA will present BUA Sings! a show to celebrate the company’s 24th birthday. Featuring songs from some of the musicals produced by the company in the past years, the evening will be hosted by Kerrykate Abel and Jimmy Janowski with Chuck Basil at the piano. Performers will include the following BUA veterans: David Butler, Louis Colaiacovo, Bobby Cooke, Timothy Patrick Finnegan, Matthew Crehan Higgins, Chris Kelly, Loraine O’Donnell, Anne Hartley Pfohl, Marc Sacco, and Michael Seitz. BUA began performing on January 2nd 1992 with the musical A...My Name is Alice, directed by Kelli Bocock Natale, with musical direction by Theresa Quinn.

Buffalo’s Michele Ragusa will return to town to headline her own cabaret show, Standard, Garland, and Broadway on Friday April 22nd at Kleinhans Music Hall’s Henry’s Restaurant which will be transformed into the Blue Room for the occasion. The show is scheduled for 8pm, preceded by dinner, catered by Oliver’s, at 6pm. Dinner and show tickets are $125; show only tickets with seating at the bar are $40. A portion of the proceeds goes toward restoration projects at Kleinhans (for tickets call 885-5000). Prior to that, Ragusa will be starring in Hello, Dolly! at The Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida.

Speaking of Hello, Dolly! it is now official, after months of speculation, that Bette Midler will be starring in the Broadway revival of the popular musical scheduled to begin previews on March 13th, 2017. The show was last revived on Broadway in 1995, starring the original 1964 Dolly, Carol Channing.

Also coming to Kleinhans in April, Buffalo’s Eric Jordan Young starring in his show Celebrating Sammy: Broadway to Vegas (April 30th). An Ithaca College graduate, Young’s professional career started in high school when he performed with the now gone Upstage company, first at Artpark (George M!, Damn Yankees) and then at Park School (Olympus on My Mind). Always an admirer of Sammy Davis, Jr. his show Sammy & Me premiered in a 2006 co-production between Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre and MusicalFare.

Roslyn Ruff is back on the New York stage appearing in Familiar at Playwright Horizons opposite Tamara Tunie of Law & Order SVU fame. Ruben Santiago-Hudson is directing Skeleton Crew for Atlantic Theater Company. By the way, Buffalo hasn’t yet seen his autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues, which would be a perfect fit for 710 Main. Michael John LaChiusa will be honored at New York’s Transport Group on March 7th. The company premiered his musical Queen of the Mist.

UB alum Michael Hartney (pictured below on stage at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York) is now making his Broadway debut in School of Rock—The Musical, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that opened this past December. Hartney, who is also an understudy for the lead Alex Brightman, is fabulous playing several different parts throughout the show. Hartney last appeared in Buffalo thirteen years ago in Musicalfare’s original production of Pageant. If you are in New York, School of Rock is offering a limited number of online discount lottery tickets on the day of the performance. Go to Student rush tickets are also available. Both go for $37.

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