by Anthony Chase
You can only see it through this Sunday, so act quickly if you want to catch the truly sensational tour of the Kander and Ebb musical, Chicago, now at Shea’s. The show tells the story of two jazz-era murderesses who turn they run-in with the law into show-business celebrity. It’s a timeless story.
Anne Reinking’s reinvention of Bob Fosse’s choreography is taut and thrilling, and the actors in the lead roles are absolutely splendid.
Biana Marroquin, the original star of the Mexico City production is irresistible. Possessing childlike innocent and vulnerability, coupled with brass-lined cuts and murderous determination, she navigates the role as artfully as any performer I’ve ever seen. (And I saw Gwen Verdon!)
Terra C. MacLeod is similarly fine as a contrasting Velma Kelly, and legs and languorous sexuality and scheming treachery. The chemistry between the two women is fantastic, and the rest of the company, right on down the line, is perfect.
Watch a review of Chicago on Artvoice TV.
For locally produced shows this week, Neil Wechsler’s new play, Grenadine, is an absurdist comedy about a man’s quest to regain lost love now playing at Road Less Traveled. Directed by Scott Behrend, the show stars Gerry Maher, who tours a fantasy landscape on his quixotic journey accompanied by equally deranged pals played by David Oliver, Jay Pichardo, and Luke Wager. Peter Jaskowiak, Bonnie Jean Taylor, Lisa Vitrano, and Chris Corporandy double in numerous roles in a show that is alternately funny, affecting, and bewildering. Road Less Traveled Theater, Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre, 639 Main St. (852-5000).
Watch a review of Grenadine on Artvoice TV.
Revenge of a King
Now at the Paul Robeson Theatre in the African American Community Center on Masten, Revenge of a King is a an update of Hamlet set to hip-hot and R&B music in contemporary urban America. Paulette D. Harris has directed a smart cast, mostly of newcomers. We watch as Hamilton seeks to avenge the death of his father at the hands of a local community leader who has now married his mother. I was especially impressed by the talents of several young men who are entirely new to the Buffalo theater scene, as they work alongside Robeson regulars. 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013).
Watch a review of Revenge of a King on Artvoice TV.
2 Pianos 4 Hands
Randall Kramer and Jeffrey Rockwell are adorable joy in this two-hander about boyhood friends who pursue their love of playing the piano in 2 Pianos 4 Hands. A great deal of the fun is derived from the virtuosity of these two men on the keyboard, as we identify with the life lessons they learn and the disappointments they endure. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). See a clip from 2 Pianos 4 Hands on Artvoice TV.
Watch a clip from 2 Pianos 4 Hands on Artvoice TV.
Dan Shanahan has revisited his play, Area, about two women who end of in a tragic narrative beginning with their efforts to sell a car. The production stars Kara Gabrielle McKenney and Rebecca Globus who appear on stage and in video with voice over by Melissa Meola. Shanahan explores his fascination with identity and with beautiful women as McKenney’s character mulls over the tragic events of one evening in her life, the events that lead up to it and the painful aftermath. Experimental, non-linear, and poetic, some of the visuals are eye-popping and the piece overall in inexplicably affecting. Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave. (812-5733).
Watch a review of Area on Artvoice TV.
From the very modern to the ancient, ALT take on Euripides with an all-female cast for Electra. Candice Kogut plays the title character, who is determined to avenge her father’s murder. Joy Scime plays the mother who committed the deed, and who sees her actions as justified. Drew McCabe has directed a faithful rendering of the story with this smart production, in which the chorus is especially polished and compelling. ALT Theatre, 255 Great Arrow Ave. (868-6847).
Watch a review of Electra on Artvoice TV.
I Hate Hamlet
Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions inaugurates its new space at Medaille College with an agreeable production of I Hate Hamlet, Paul Rudnick’s play about a television actor hired to play Shakespeare’s most famous character. The comedy escalates when said actor moves into an apartment once occupied by legendary Hamlet and womanizer John Barrymore, and unwittingly unleashes his ghost in a séance. Jeanne Cairns directs a production that features winning performances by Thomas LaChiusa as the ghost of John Barrymore and Keith Wharton as the would-be Hamlet. Medaille College, Lecture Hall in the Main Building at Medaille College, 18 Agassiz Circle (479-1587).
Watch a review of I Hate Hamlet on Artvoice TV.
Victoria Perez, who was marvelous in another one-woman vehicle, No Child, last season at Theatre Plus, approximates that success again with Anna Deavere Smith’s docu-drama about the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles. She deftly portrays a huge range of LA residents, from Korean merchants, to government leaders. Virginia Brannon directs. The Manny Fried Playhouse, Great Arrow Building, 255 Great Arrow Ave. (408-0499).
Check this week's On The Boards for theater listings.
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