It's not the best play in the world. It's not the best cast in the best of all possible worlds. It's not a great production. It's not really a production at all. It's a staged readers' version. It doesn't even sell tickets. Yet each year it has either sold out or come so close no one is counting and in bigger and bigger theaters. It has become a Christmas-time event. "It" is the Holiday Performance to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York. In three short years it has become one of the warmest and most spirited evenings of theater in all of Buffalo all year around. This is the fourth annual performance since Mary Ann Powell, costume designer at the Studio Arena Theatre, proposed the idea to the theater community. This year's play is in Rockwell Hall on the Buffalo State College campus. The play is the warm, funny, sentimental "I Remember Mama" by John Van Druten, adapted by Gail Golden and directed by Tim White. Among a large willing cast are Barbara Link LaRou, Jack Hunter, Laverne Clay, Eileen Dugan, Jean Marie Lally, Bess Brown, Claudia Catalano, Rosalind Cramer, Ann Gayley, Richard Hummert, Michael Karr, Carl Kowalkowski, Joseph Natale and Darleen Pickering-Hummert. All are familiar to Buffalo theatergoers. The performance is Monday at 8 p.m. Admission is 5 pounds (or more) of non-perishable foodstuffs. Collection of the food starts at 7 p.m. It is one of the bargain performances. And the spirit is right.
-- Terry Doran