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Patricia Heaton

Best known for her role in Everybody Loves Raymond, Patricia Heaton is back on prime time starring in the sit com The Middle which airs Wednesdays on Channel 7. Keaton’s previous TV venture was the not so successful Back to You which co-starred Kelsey Grammer and only lasted one season. Grammer was also back on prime time this season with the comedy Hank but that was canceled two weeks ago. With a successful series, Heaton has put her plans to look for a new theater project on hold (she was wonderful in The Scene a couple of years ago off-Broadway). Grammer will be heading back to Broadway in April to star as Georges in the revival of La Cage Aux Folles.

It appears that another new theater company will make its debut in Buffalo, this one headed by Joseph and Kelli Bocock Natale, Eileen Dugan, and Josephine Hogan. Plans are for the company to make its debut at the New Phoenix in February with the play Skirmishes by Catherine Hayes. The scene takes place in provincial England where an old woman lies on her deathbed attended by her two middle aged daughters. Bocock Natale will direct.

Up next for Musicalfare, the world premiere of the musical Crossroad Blues with a book by Randy Kramer based on a story by him and musician Jim Runfola. Richard Satterwhite is set to direct a cast that includes local blues singer Billy McEwen, Sharon Bailey, Terrie George, George Brown, and Don Hunley. McEwen was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 1989. Crossroad Blues runs January 6-February 7.

Kerrykate Abel and Loraine O'Donnell (photo by Michael Walline)

Road Less Traveled Emanuel Fried New Play Workshop will have a fundraiser at the theater on January 8 and 9 at 7:30pm with a staged reading of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo. Kyle LoConti will direct Gerry Maher, Lisa Vitrano and Brian Mysliwy. At Home at the Zoo pairs Albee’s landmark 1959 play, The Zoo Story, with a prequel, Homelife, which Albee wrote in 2004.

The seldom produced restoration comedy, The Relapse by John Vanbrugh, will be up next at the Irish Classical Theatre Company. Directed by Derek Campbell, the production will feature a very large cast, among them: Vincent O’Neill, Chris Corporandy, Todd Benzin, Jim Molloy, Peter Jaskowiak, Adam Rath, Beth Donohue, and Leah Russo.

The New Phoenix production of Dusty Springfield...With You, starring Loraine O’Donnell and Eric Rawski, will play the Riviera Theatre on Valentine’s day weekend. The bio-musical about the popular British singer was devised and directed by Richard Lambert.

Tickets are on sale for the touring production on the musical In the Heights which will play Shea’s January 26-31. This vibrant show about a Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City features an exciting hip-hop, salsa, merengue, and soul score, and won four 2008 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Save the dates! Tuesday, May 4 (five months from this week): Chita Rivera: My Broadway at UB’s Center for the Arts. Monday, June 7: 20th Annual Artie Awards.

BUA continues its cabaret series with Mommy’s Martini Hour starring Kerrykate Abel and Loraine O’Donnell, with Chuck Basil at the piano. The show runs December 11-19.

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