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Ben Siegel


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I fell in love with this show before it even started. Before artistic director Meg Quinn took to the apron of the Allendale Theatre stage to introduce “Stellaluna” to its audience of tiny people. Before the small, agile ensemble sang their first notes of Guus Ponsioen’s lush, harmonic score. Before we met Adam Kreutinger’s latest ingenious puppet creations, this t…

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In “Blackberry Daze,” the latest production in Paul Robeson Theatre’s 50th anniversary season, we find a theater company working at its very best levels. The show is confident, dense with talent, and well rehearsed for its run. With only minor flaws, it has a lot to be proud of. The musical is based on Ruth P. Watson’s novel “Blackberry Days of Summer,” one in a series…

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This is the first time I’ve mentioned this in a review, but it’s most relevant in the case of Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians,” the striking new satirical drama at Road Less Traveled Productions. It has to do with the performance you decide to attend. Every performance of live theater is unique, of course, and privy to a host of factors. I’m not speaking to this productio…

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In the quiet Irish town where a local guy meets a foreign girl, and they meet over a moment of music, and that moment blooms into an immediate partnership, and that partnership turns into a life-aligning realization and momentous turning point, everything that feels impossible suddenly appears within reach. In between those sparks breathes the lovely “Once,” an effervescen…

Our personal identities and brands are often mistaken as portraits, preserved snapshots of a single moment, but in application they are much more like a composite. As Jews, we like to marinate in our histories, to reconcile and reconstitute our past selves. This can be a blessing and a curse. In Donald Margulies’ “Sight Unseen,” now onstage at Jewish Repertory Theatre, …

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They do! They do! That’s the delightful Mary Coppola Gjurich and Gregory Gjurich, who tirelessly, and not effortlessly, work their butts off at O’Connell and Company right now in the 1966 musical “I Do! I Do!” Oh, how they do. They play a charming couple experiencing the highs and lows of a marriage, as told around the gathering totem pole of their four-poster bed…

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Junie B. Jones is back, and going through a rough patch. She’s lost her favorite fuzzy mittens. The black ones that give her comfort, that she wears proudly, that she uses to gain the attention of friends and romantic interests. But now they’re gone, and her carefree kindergarten days just aren’t the same. With “Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook,” the latest from Theatre…

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It’s strange to think that it’s been just 12 years since the eye-opening debut of “Spring Awakening,” the punk-folk musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play about teenage sexuality. The show made overt attempts, with rock star microphones and tightly wound corsets, to align the various aggressions that all teenagers, throughout history, have faced. Their struggle t…

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Get ready for this: Some people don’t like musicals. I’ll give you a minute to collect yourself. It’s true, and their arguments are valid. The random singing, the overextended gestures, the dramatic overtones. Musicals are a little absurd, fine. Take them to “Something Rotten!”, now at Shea’s through Sunday evening, and they might get it. And laugh their heads off…

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It never gets any easier to watch, to absorb the horrifying reality depicted in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Anne’s story, and felt both worry and awe. Each time, it rattles a nervous bone, and by lights down, it strengthens my spine a little more. And yet, the fear of redundancy, of complacency or, worse, irrelevance lingers. So whe…

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Theater is great for “what ifs.” I love when a playwright pontificates on the unknowable, imagines the impossible. For those wondering about God, the New Phoenix Theatre has got your curiosity covered. “Way Back When” is an evening of one-act plays about faith that pairs the work of two local Jewish playwrights with a spirited ensemble. The results are enjoyable and ins…

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It’s a fortunate coincidence for local audiences that two extraordinary plays about the same difficult topic have opened in as many days. At Subversive Theatre, Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “How I Learned to Drive” looks at the sexual abuse of a minor through the lens of its survivor, a grown woman reaching toward healing, catharsis by memory. At Road Less Tr…

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Paula Vogel’s Putlizer Prize-winning “How I Learned to Drive” is not an easy play. But it is a necessary one. Buckle up. It describes the sexual relationship between Lil Bit, a young woman in rural Maryland on the verge of adulthood, and Uncle Peck, a relative by marriage. There should be no other qualifications on that fact; this is an illegal kind of relationship. But…

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There’s a special gift waiting for you at the Manny Fried Playhouse, where Raíces Theatre Company’s one-act play festival, “Desde el Puente: Christmas Edition,” has opened. Do what you must, in the bustle of your holiday plans, to get yourself a ticket before it closes on Dec. 17. Yes, it’s a perfect way to ring in the holiday season, but it offers something much more l…

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It’s common this time of year to visit our loved ones at the cemetery. There we plant flowers, mind hedges, leave stones and, perhaps, tell stories of life above ground. But in an annual production at Forest Lawn, it’s Buffalo’s famous loved ones who do the visiting. “It Was a Wonderful Life” is a unique piece of theater: part history lesson, part holiday concert, pa…