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A cloud of toxic tension hangs over the characters of "Skeleton Crew," Dominique Morriseau's powerful commentary on the human consequences of inhuman greed running through Feb. 11 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. The play, directed with a wide emotional palette by Paulette Harris, is the last in Morriseau's trilogy of works set in Detroit -- though it may as well be set in …

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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…

Family

1) T-Mobile Backyard Classic, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 20, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Ice at Canalside (Marine Drive). It's free to spectate, although registration is full. Commentary: Slide over to Canalside on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy small-sided hockey games featuring both kids and adults. Schedules for the 10th anniversary of the event - which is separate from…

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Attention, ladies and gentlemen: Intermission will be ending in five minutes. Please finish your drinks, return to your seats and settle in for act two of Buffalo's breathless 2017-18 theater season, which kicks off in earnest this week with five openings and continues through June with 45 more shows. (The Kavinoky Theatre's "Mamma Mia!" and O'Connell and Company's "An …

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There are certain existential questions only camp can adequately address. For starters: Does God exist? And if so, why is this almighty force so indifferent to human suffering? Here to answer these and other impossible queries is Joey Bucheker as He Himself, starring in David Javerbaum's unholy comedy "An Act of God," presented by O'Connell & Company in residence…

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Culture is canceled tonight. Unless you're an ABBA fan, that is. Ahead of Friday night's expectedly nasty storm, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center is postponing the planned opening of its exhibition "Tony Conrad @ Hallwalls" as well as its members' meeting. Hallwalls Curator John Massier wrote in an email announcing the postponement that this marks the first time in…

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It’s been a crazy start to 2018. The end of the drought leading to a playoff game against St. Doug Marrone. The introduction to the Cyclone Bomb and subzero weather. The announcement of a musical about Russ Salvatore. Clearly, anything is up for 2018. That got us thinking: What else would we like to see in 2018? Doesn’t matter how crazy or unlikely it might be. We posed …

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It would make life much simpler for true believers if God just dropped in and explained himself. That's the simple premise of David Javerbaum's play "An Act of God," a send-up of the Christian faith opening Jan. 11 by O'Connell and Company. The production stars Joey Bucheker as an actor whose body has been possessed by the big guy for the purpose of explaining the pu…

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For Buffalo theaters, January can pose challenges. As most local producers will tell you, drawing theatergoers through subzero temperatures and into the coziness of the theater requires a little something extra. That's just what the Kavinoky Theatre is attempting to deliver with its bright and enthusiastic production of "Mamma Mia," a lighthearted musical fueled by t…

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Few local businessmen are more colorful than Russell Salvatore, the restaurateur and philanthropist whose outsized personality and taste for the ostentatious have long fascinated Western New Yorkers. Among those who have closely followed Salvatore's work and reputation are the creative thinkers at Road Less Traveled Productions, an adventurous Buffalo theater company kn…

Art

1) Queen City Comedy Jam, 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 6 in Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle). Tickets range from $32.50 to $65 and may be purchased here. Commentary: Oscar winner Mo'Nique is the star of the Saturday night show in Kleinhans, where the comic - known for her positive material with "spicy notes" - is joined by Nephew Tommy, the co-host of the "Steve Harvey Mor…

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Few directors have shaped Buffalo's theater scene like Lynne Kurziel-Formato, the former University at Buffalo theater professor who plied her trade on local stages large and small before departing for North Carolina in the mid-aughts. While Buffalo's ever-expanding theater industry has soldiered on, her return in September to direct the Kavinoky Theatre's production of…

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"Waitress," the Tony-nominated musical coming to Shea's Performing Arts Center, is looking for two girls to play the role of Lulu. Lulu, the daughter of the waitress in the title, is described as a "sweet and carefree 4 to 5-year-old," who appears in the production’s finale. The character is being cast locally in each tour market and two girls will be chosen to share th…