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NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – The Shaw Festival’s version of “Enchanted April” is pure escapist theater, full of clever jokes and smart acting.What sets it apart are the sets. Few plays draw such a sharp difference between time and place. In “April,” Act I plays out in the rainy clubs and drawing rooms of drab, depressing post-World War I London. In Act II, the sun comes out…

Nearly 30 Buffalo Public Schools students have been rehearsing for weeks under the hot sun for a production of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” which opens a four-day run Friday night in Ujima’s TheatreLoft at 545 Elmwood Ave.The performance, part of Peace of the City Ministries’ “Shakespeare Comes to (716)” project, is meant to give students from disadvantaged background…

Lifestyles

STRATFORD, ONT. – The Stratford Festival’s 61st season is well under way with eight plays open at four venues and a quartet of works in rehearsal or preview mode, gearing up for late July or mid-August debuts. Four plays by William Shakespeare highlight the summer-fall schedule: “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Othello” and “Measure for Measure.”The slate als…

Gusto

What if a show could see itself? See and hear itself from the outside, supporting itself with positive and constructive feedback, forcing a mirror to its own problematic but promising life. Just like its characters are supposed to do. Just like we are all supposed to do.This would be nice, if not for us in the gallery then for its own merit. Theater is a living thing.For “…

Niagara County

The innumerable von Trapp children, clad in floral lederhosen and ready to sing their hearts out, will swarm the stage of Artpark’s Mainstage Theater for “The Sound of Music,” which opens at 8 tonight and runs through July 19.The annual Artpark musical, always family friendly and typically cast with a combination of local and national talent, has become one of Western New …

Amherst

When Gwen Stefani wrote her 2003 hit song “Just a Girl,” chances are she didn’t have the struggles of a 19th century female pianist in mind. But Randall Kramer and Theresa Quinn did.The duo collaborated on a new musical, “Talk to Me Now,” which opened on the MusicalFare Theatre stage Wednesday night. The bold show, which pulls from a broad swath of singer-songwriter materi…

Last summer, when local playwrights Donna Hoke and Matthew Crehan Higgins launched the inaugural version of Buffalo United Artists’ short-play festival, they received some 200 submissions. For its second version, now playing in the BUA Theatre, that number shot up to 300.It must have been grueling work to cull through so many submissions, but the results are nothing short …

As the 2012-13 theater season wraps up, several Buffalo-area theaters have nailed down plans for their upcoming seasons.Theatre of Youth will open its 2013-14 lineup with “A Year with Frog and Toad,” from Sept. 20 to Oct. 13, followed by “Madeline’s Christmas” from Dec. 6 to 15. In 2014, the theater presents “Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Crandall Jewels” from Jan. 31 …

Featured

The Shaw Festival’s lunchtime series, featuring bits of bite-sized theater on a menu otherwise filled with heavy entrees, rarely disappoints.The two choices for this year’s midday appetizer – just enough to whet your appetite for “Guys and Dolls” or “Lady Windemere’s Fan,” are Susan Glaspell’s haunting pint-sized thriller, “Trifles,” and Eugene O’Neill’s rickety but charmi…

Local News

George Bernard Shaw had a tricky relationship with fascism.In the 1920s and ’30s, as the idealism of his youth hardened into an all-consuming disgust over man’s inability to govern himself, and as Europe headed toward a second world war, Shaw allowed his mind and pen to wander into uncomfortable territory. In the leadup to the war, according to an excellent article by Stan…

Buffalo

Early one morning in 1992, while working as news anchor and reporter for a television station in Huntsville, Ala., Harold Fisher was roused from his sleep by a remarkable dream.He sat bolt upright in bed and went straight for his pen and a yellow legal pad, where he scribbled down his memories of the dream on the floor of his sparsely furnished apartment before they had a …

Lifestyles

Peter Hinton’s lush, cinematic and visually intoxicating production of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windemere’s Fan,” running through Oct. 19 on the Festival Theatre stage, is sure to be remembered as one more beautiful feather in the Shaw Festival’s already crowded cap.In this production, Wilde’s classic tale of marital strife and dissatisfaction among the hypocritical aristocracy…

What a rug!That’s one observation you will probably exclaim as you enjoy Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale,” being performed by Nickel City Opera this weekend.Without giving everything away, the rug on the floor of the grand set – a 1920s mansion – is priceless. So is the rug that sits on, and often flies off of, the head of Valerian Ruminski, who stars as the rich buffoon…

The Chautauqua Theater Company is gearing up for what may turn out to be the most ambitious season in its 30-year history.The centerpiece of the company’s 30th summer session, slated for July 27, is a massive co-production called “The Romeo and Juliet Project,” featuring 92 onstage performers and a 74-piece orchestra in the Chautauqua Institution’s amphitheater. The show, …

Gusto

Over the last five years, opera companies across the country have seen more ups and downs than a Rossini aria. But in Buffalo, Nickel City Opera is celebrating five years of high notes.Its fifth annual production, this weekend at North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre, is the comedy “Don Pasquale” by Italian bel canto composer Gaetano Donizetti. Valerian Ruminski, the barrel-vo…