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The supercute Jonathan Groff (pictured) has been in the news lately as part of that controversial Newsweek article regarding gay actors who can or cannot play straight roles. Groff was convincingly heterosexual in the original company of the musical Spring Awakening and has recently appeared on TV’s Glee. By the way, UB’s Center for the Arts is getting the touring production of Spring Awakening next April.

The 20th annual (!) Artie Awards will be held on June 7 at the Town Ballroom. There will be anniversary buttons for all previous winners and nominees.

The Irish Classical Theatre Company concludes its current season with Brian Friel’s Lovers, starring Josephine Hogan, Gerry Maher, Patrick Cameron, Colleen Gaughan, Diane M. Cammarata, and Cassie Gorniewicz. Directed by Vincent O’Neill, the production will open on June 4. O’Neill won the first Artie Award (in 1991) for an Actor in a Play for his performance in Joyicity. At this year’s Artie Awards, he will receive the Career Achievement Award. Incidentally, the opening night of Lovers will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Andrews Theatre.

Theatre of Youth will kick off next season with an original play by Meg Quinn, Inside Out. Intended for children over seven, the play’s goal is to motivate them to eat healthier foods and to exercise. The company will also present A Little Night Christmas, Number the Stars, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and the musical How I Became a Pirate. Also in development, Heads on Wheels, a street theater style production about helmet safety that will tour throughout Western New York in summer 2011. Now mostly dedicated to directing, 20 years ago Quinn won the first Artie Award for Supporting Actress in a Play for her performance in Equus.

Playwright Larry Gray returns to the Alleyway Theatre next season with the premiere of his World’s Finest, scheduled for March 2011. Gray was previously represented at the Alleyway with his Louisiana Trilogy and The Julia Set. The company will open the season with the winner of the 2009 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, the comedy Mookie Cranks a Tater!, by Joseph Palka. Directed by Neal Radice, the production will star David C. Mitchell, Joyce Stilson, Andréa Andolina, Chris Standart, and Maria Pendolino. The season will also include the premiere of Pirandello’s Wife by Lynn Elliott, and the 20th edition of the Buffalo Quickies. No longer a category at the Arties, the Alleyway Theatre received the first Artie for Outstanding Season. Back in 1991, the award came with a check for $1,000!

Ellen Horst, Tom Owen, Katy Miner, Keith Ersing, and Paschal Frisina will join Michele Ragusa and Jeffry Denman in the Buffalo Philharmonic presentation of The Music Man in concert, May 29 at 8pm at Kleinhans. Randy Kramer directs.

Artpark reunites the team of Randy Kramer, Lynne Kurdziel Formato, and Eric Alsford once again for its summer production of the musical All Shook Up, which will star Sally Struthers (of All in the Family fame). Based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and featuring the music of Elvis Presley, with a book by Joe DiPietro, the show will also star Chris Critelli, Keith Ersing, and Robert Insana. DiPietro is nominated for a Tony award this year for his book for the musical Memphis. Insana won the first Artie Award for Actor in a Musical 20 years ago, for his performance in Pump Boys & Dinettes.

There will be a 25th anniversary production of the musical Nunsense in New York, June 15-July 18. The show will run at the Cherry Lane Theatre, where the musical made its debut back in 1985. Musicalfare (back then Summerfare), now celebrating its 20th anniversary, won the first Artie Award for a Production of a Musical for its production of Nunsense, starring Mary Kate O’Connell, Lisa Ludwig, Loraine O’Donnell, Linda Reitberger, and Sheila McCarthy. O’Connell won the first Artie Award for an Actress in a Musical for her performance in Closer Than Ever.

Join the MusicalFare celebration on June 5 at 4pm and 8pm with MusicalFare 20, a 20th anniversary celebration production featuring almost 100 performers who have appeared with the company throughout the years. Many performers are no longer living in Buffalo and will be making a special trip for the occasion, including Buffalo’s own Broadway Babies, Jeffry Denman, Eric Jordan Young, and Anne Nicole Biancofiore.

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