Curtain Up! has arrived: This Friday, September 16, the regional theater season opens with a celebration in three acts:
Act I: You eat and drink at a restaurant in Buffalo’s Theatre District. (See our map on page 23 for a handful of suggestions.) Or you can spring for the black-tie gala dinner on the main stage of Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
Act II: You see a play. (Curtains rise at 8pm.) If you can still get tickets to one, that is. If you can’t, never fear: Most of the Curtain Up! shows continue beyond this weekend. You might choose instead to continue carousing, until…
Act III: A full-on street festival on Main Street in the Theatre District: live music, dancing, street performers, and other shenanigans. It’s free, and continues until 1am (officially) and much longer than that (unofficially).
Here’s a quick look at what’s playing now and what’s coming soon to same area theaters:
Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley, 716-852-2600
A world premiere by Louisiana playwright Larry Gray: “An ex-sportswriter turned agoraphobic advice columnist must face and conquer his own fears to save someone he loves.” Gray’s work should be familiar to Buffalo audiences: This is the ninth of his plays that Neil Radice and Alleyway have staged.
UP NEXT: Buffalo’s longest-running holiday attraction, Neil Radice’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, December 8-18.
AMERICAN IDIOT: THE MUSICAL
American Repertory Theater of WNY, 330 Amherst Street, 716-634-1102
A rock opera with songs by Billy Joe Amstrong of the pop-punk band Green Day and a book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer, who directed the Broadway production, which was nominated for the Tony for best musical and won a Grammy for its Broadway cast album.
UP NEXT: How to Make Friends Then Kill Them by Halley Feiffer, October 27-November 19. Sharp, dark, and witty.
WONDER OF THE WORLD
Buffalo Laboratory Theatre at Shea’s 710 Theatre, 710 Main Street, 1-800-745-3000
Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s comic tale of a woman who leaves her husband, runs off to Niagara Falls, and falls in with a crew of quirky characters.
6 X 8
Brazen-Faced Varlets at Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant Street, 716-771-6277
World premiere of a piece written by the Brazen-Faced Varlets, part of a series dealing with women in prison.
UP NEXT: Midsummer Dyke Dream by Shawn P. Northrip, a co-production with BUA, marks 10 years of the Varlets queering Shakespeare. November 18-December 10 at Alleyway Theatre.
For BUA, it’s another play about theater people, following this summer’s production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play. The New York Times calls this one, by Jeff Talbot and co-presented with Ujima, a “perky tale of racial pride and prejudice in the theater.”
UP NEXT: For BUA, Christmas in July, a comedy by Matthew Crehan Higgins. October 14-November 6.
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
Irish Classical Theatre Company, 625 Main Street, Buffalo, 716-835-1380
In which aging gigolo Chance Wayne demonstrates that you can, but probably shouldn’t, go home again. By Tennessee Williams.
UP NEXT: Two well-known works in a row by Peter Shaffer, Equus and Amadeus, which Shaffer brought out one after another—in 1973 and 1979, respectively.
DON’T TALK TO THE ACTORS
Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Avenue, 716-829-7668
The adventures of a young playwright, beloved of Buffalo dinner theater set, getting his first play produced on Broadway.
UP NEXT: The 39 Steps, a comedic melodrama adapted by Patrick Barlow from the Hitchcock spy thriller, itself adapted from the short novel by John Buchan.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, 716-683-1776
The Sondheim classic keeps ’em laughing. David Bondrow stars as Pseudolus.
UP NEXT: Jekyll & Hyde, the musical version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s story.
MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main Street, Amherst, 716-839-8540
And more Sondheim! MusicalFare promises a reinvention of the classic, under the direction of Chris Kelly, who has a gift for that.
UP NEXT: Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, which has a songbook sure to please fans of the great American popular singer and pop culture personality. Opens November 2.
LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART
New Phoenix Theatre on the Park, 95 Johnson Park, 716-853-1334
Terrance McNally is having a bit of a moment in Buffalo right now, thanks in part to BUA. The New Phoenix joins the action with this 1991 play about two straight couples spending a July 4 weekend on Fire Island.
UP NEXT: Give’em Hell, Harry, a one-man show written by Samuel Gallu and starring Peter Palmisano as Harry S. Truman.
GENTLEMEN PREFER DIVAS
O’Connell & Company at Shea’s Smith Theatre, 660 Main Street, 1-800-745-3000
A cabaret show conceived by Mary Kate O’Connell playing three dates only: Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17 at 8pm, and Sunday, September 18 at 2pm.
UP NEXT: Breast in Show, a musical about five characters, each of whom has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Opens September 28.
Paul Robeson Theatre at African American Cultural Center, 716-884-2013 x103
The great August Wilson’s eighth entry in his 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, this one set in a gypsy cab.
UP NEXT: Christmas Is Comin’ Uptown, a reimagining of A Christmas Carol, opening December 8.
Red Thread Theatre at Jim Bush Photography Studio, 44 17th Street, 716-331-2469
By Robert Waterhouse: “Voodoo and vengeance descend on a small Louisiana town when a mysterious preacher bewitches the local women and confronts a county sheriff about his past.” Based on the tragedy by Euripides.
UP NEXT: The Unfortunates: It’s 1888 in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London, and Mary Jane Kelly is broke and alone. Coming in October.
DINNER WITH FRIENDS
Road Less Traveled Productions, 500 Pearl Street, 716-629-3069
Donald Margulies’s play about the two couples, old friends, who are made to confront the reality of their relationships when one couple announces they are getting divorced.
UP NEXT: Sam Shepard’s brother-versus-brother drama, True West. Opening October 28.
Subversive Theatre Collective at Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Avenue, 716-883-0856
It’s really about time that Subversive pulled together a production of the ultimately subverting Broadway hit. Through October 15.
UP NEXT: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, adapted from Ken Kesey’s novel by Dale Wasserman. Starring Thomas LaChiusa as McMurphy. Opens November 3.
Our Fall Arts Preview begins with a Curtain Up! roundup followed by galleries, film, and music.