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No worries here. At 20 years old, "The Lion King" still roars with all the magic that made it one of the most popular musicals ever. If anything, the production now onstage at Shea's Performing Arts Center is more confident than ever, embracing its legendary status and doing nothing to tarnish it. It is, in every sense, a "show." Its power remains in its visuals, in its…

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The latest round of grants from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council will fund a wide range of cultural projects, ranging from major renovations of cultural destinations in Erie and Niagara counties to new part-time positions at smaller theaters and galleries. The grants, announced on Thursday, are part of $68.8 million distributed to groups around…

Art

The two prime events sold out for this weekend could not be more different: Every Time I Die's holiday show at Buffalo RiverWorks, which The News just highlighted as a surging multi-purpose venue, and the commissioning of the U.S.S. Little Rock LCS 9 on Saturday at Canalside. Fortunately, there's still plenty on Buffalo's event agenda. 1) Kerfuffle Before Christmas: …

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Studio executives often have bad ideas. This was the case one day in the early 1990s, late in the development of "The Lion King," when Disney boss Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted on shoehorning a comic version of "Stayin' Alive" into the 1994 film. Co-director Roger Allers and writer Irene Mecchi were not on board with Katzenberg's suggestion for a comic song sung by Tim…

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In 1997, Disney's production of "The Lion King" opened on Broadway, redefining the visual possibilities of the form and ushering in an era of Disney dominance on the Great White Way. The path for its success was partly paved by Disney's Broadway adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" in 1993, but its unprecedented success opened the door for a stream of  Disney screen-to-…

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In the past 35 years, Buffalo has experienced its share of ravages and revivals. Back in the winter of 1982, when Buffalo director Neal Radice launched his annual production of "A Christmas Carol," AM&As and its elaborate window displays still drew shoppers downtown. The clanging Metro Rail had yet to appear on Main Street. A one-bedroom apartment in Allentown went …

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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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For decades, Buffalo's theater scene and college theater programs have produced a steady stream of performers who pick up the necessary tricks in the 716 before going on to wider fame. Many of them return from time to time for the odd fundraiser, speech or honor bestowed upon them by the community they left behind. But few return as often, or with as much fresh material…

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Theatre of Youth's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is exactly that: a live re-enactment of the animated television program that was inspired by a popular comic strip. Charlie Brown has been picking out his sad little "real" Christmas tree for more than 50 years, which more than qualifies the story as a holiday classic, and it is impressive to see how well the story holds up…

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The circle of life is circling back to Buffalo. The theatrical adaptation of "The Lion King," one of the most technically and visually innovative musicals of the past quarter-century, returns to Shea's Performing Arts Center this week for a monthlong run. It last played Buffalo in 2011. The production, based on the 1994 animated film and conceived by director Julie T…

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The celebrations that pile up at Christmastime, when we think of faith, family and friends, all deliver the warm comfort of familiarity in a cold, dark season. We feel it when we open that big box of holiday decorations and pull out the much-loved ornaments. And for company, anyone can turn on the television that's as big as the front door, and welcome in old friends li…

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Few American songwriters were more prolific or successful than Irving Berlin, the Russian-Jewish immigrant whose songs embodied the rhythm, spirit and optimism of his adopted country. You may have heard of a little ditty called "God Bless America," which Berlin wrote in the dawning days of World War I and revised 20 years later into an anthem that still endures. As w…

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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…

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In the Currier and Ives postcard that is Niagara-on-the-Lake in wintertime, there is one significant drawback: the dormancy of the Shaw Festival. It seems a shame that up to this point wintertime visits to the town have offered little more than window-shopping for holiday trinkets, sipping local wines in front roaring fireplaces and eating haute cuisine behind picturesq…

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When it comes to Christmas classics, few productions tug harder at our nostalgic heartstrings than " A Charlie Brown Christmas." And just on time, Theater of Youth opens its production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on Dec. 2. Suitable for nostalgic adults and young “Charlie Brown” neophytes alike, this is an adaptation of the 1965 animated TV special, which in turn was…