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ROCHESTER – On a frigid night in late January, Edward Joseph Mahoney straggled into a high school gym on the outskirts of this Rust Belt city to take a look at his own life. The rock star, looking slightly bedraggled in jeans and a black hoodie bearing his stage name, settled into a folding chair beneath the basketball net. He nervously tucked his Big Mac under his seat…

Festivals

1) Cupid's Undie Run, noon Feb. 10 in and around Thin Man Brewery (492 Elmwood Ave.). Tickets are $40 and may be purchased here. Commentary: At first glance, Cupid's Undie Run is a chance to enjoy a few local craft beers before running - scantily clad and quite chilled - around downtown before warming up with a few more drinks (we recommend Thin Man's Bliss, even if you…

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The sweet aroma of freshly baked pies greeted visitors to Shea's Performing Arts Center, where the popular Broadway confection known as "Waitress" opened its six-day run on Feb. 6. As theatergoers filtered into the auditorium, a gigantic backdrop of a lattice-top cherry pie announced the all-American nature of what they were about to see. Even a singsong warning about t…

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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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In 1964, Bruce Jackson took a tape recorder to Texas and rescued a dying piece of history. The University at Buffalo professor's 1965 album, "Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons," features spirituals, work songs, poetry and scripture sung by inmates toiling in the state's agricultural prison farms. Many of the songs and styles Jackson preserved, carried on slave …

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Nothing in the world of "Rose," a one-woman show now playing in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, is clear-cut. Not the title character's recollections of her youth in a Ukrainian shtetl or her escape to Warsaw. Not the moral compromises facing those, like Rose, who escaped Warsaw through the sewers. And certainly not her full embrace of the Jewish tradition of cons…

Deaths

March 20, 1953 to Feb. 1, 2018 Richard Wesp was called to the stage the way some are called to the priesthood. The Buffalo-born actor, who died Thursday in Buffalo General Medical Center after battling prostate cancer, was a dominant figure on Buffalo stages in the 1980s and 1990s and among the most sought-after actors in the city’s recent history. He was 64. Mr. …

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Sara Bareilles is halfway between happy and exhausted. In a phone interview from New York City, where she recently returned to lead role in the Broadway hit "Waitress," the California-bred composer, lyricist and pop artist bluntly described what it was like to be back performing her own music and lyrics eight times a week. "I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck t…

Bills

Jennie Fagen, a Buffalo Bills fan with a passion for musical theater, has been on a roll this season with a series of Broadway sendups about her favorite team. There was "The Bills Are Alive" and "Bills are Sixteen Going on Seventeen," both from "The Sound of Music." There was "Somewhere Over New Era," adapted from Buffalo-born composer Harold Arlen's famous song about …

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Among the myriad indignities borne by gay men in America, few are more disconcerting than the bachelorette party invitation. In certain circles that I have avoided up to this point, it is customary for women to invite their gay friends to such events. For some reason, we are considered both one of the girls and a key part of the entertainment, counted on to dispense cut…

Buffalo

The president of Shea's Performing Arts Center is concerned about the limited availability of downtown parking for patrons, and particularly whether the recent reports of price-gouging by private lots will affect theatergoers. "There are people who get very concerned about the price of parking, and they express to us that it's not fair and very high for Buffalo," said M…

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There's a comforting American theory that all problems can be solved through pie. While this theory has problems, it certainly works that way for Jenna Hunterson, the main character of Adrienne Shelly's 2007 film "Waitress" and its 2016 Broadway adaptation. Her life isn't going the way she planned. But through her love for the ultimate comfort food, and her skill in cre…

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Fredonia-based actor Christina Rausa has a knack for taking on strong women. It doesn't hurt, of course, that she is one. In 1993, it was the iron-willed Hedda Gabler. In 2008, it was Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier. And now, for the second time in a decade, it's a fictional Holocaust survivor whose deep intelligence and inner strength led her from a Russian shtet…

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Second Generation Theatre, the young theater company whose deal to move to Shea's Seneca Theatre in South Buffalo fell through last year, announced Monday that it will take up residence in Shea's Smith Theatre. The highly adaptable space has hosted a wide range of theatrical productions over the years, from the former Eclectic Improv to this week's performances of "Sex …

The world premiere of a new musical created by and starring legendary rocker Eddie Money is being choreographed by Niagara University associate professor Terri Filips Vaughan. "Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical,” will take the stage Feb.14-18 at the Kodak Center in Rochester. Vaughan, who has taught at NU since 2000, has been working on the production with Money …