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Rarely has the notion of war seemed more quaint or attractive than in "South Pacific," Rodgers and Hammerstein's propaganda poster of a love story set on a remote Pacific island during World War II. And quaint is the overwhelming feeling of David Bondrow's production of the classic show, which employs a cast of Western New Yorkers and out-of-towners to mixed effect. …

The title of the play "Painting Churches," onstage for a two-week run at O'Connell & Company, refers not to putting a fresh coat on houses of worship but to seeing with fresh eyes family members who have changed with time. It is like being an artist who wants to capture her subject's essence on canvass, and has to get to know the person first. Or, again. It is…

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This nun can really work a room. Nonie Newton-Riley, the Second City-trained actress starring in the Catholic-themed comedy "Late Nite Catechism 3: Til Death Do Us Part," is not an actual nun. But you would hardly know that from the visceral reactions of the crowd of former Catholic school students, lapsed churchgoers and the odd pagan who attended the show's opening in…

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The "Babysitting Mafia" of Maeve Binchy's "Minding Frankie" is relegated to background noise as the popular Irish author's hefty novel moves to the stage. Instead of Binchy's cast of dozens raising little Frankie in a Dublin neighborhood, we have the baby's father, Noel, parrying efforts by one person -- a no-nonsense social worked named Moira -- to find him unfit and take…

When it comes to conversations about race, the “sticks and stones” adage holds no weight. Words do matter, and they do hurt. In Greg Kalleres’s 2014 play “Honky,” we enter a discussion about race through the lens of language. It offers not an easy way through the issues — easy isn’t helpful — rather a productive, reparative one. A new production of …

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For some, the mention of Arthur Miller’s 1953 play “The Crucible” will call to mind the halting voices of timid teenagers reciting Miller’s lines in high school English class. For others, it recalls a dark period in American history, when neighbor turned against neighbor amid a growing tide of anti-communist paranoia. And for others still, its unmistakable Mc…

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There’s a breath of fresh air on stage at MusicalFare right now. It’s a musical that’s never been seen in Western New York and one you probably have never heard of, despite it debuting off-Broadway 20 years ago. It’s called “Violet,” and in a beautiful new production from director Susan Drozd, it offers a much-needed salve. By its closing number, I felt like…

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Certain times call for certain playwrights. And local artistic directors preoccupied with the uncertainties of the current political moment have been reaching back, with increasing desperation, to the work of Arthur Miller. The Kavinoky Theatre, which produced Robert Waterhouse's stripped-down version of Miller's "A View from the Bridge" last season, is opening "The …

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Born in Buffalo in 1905, Harold Arlen never grows old. Celebrate his songs at 2 p.m. Nov. 5, when the Theatre of Youth (203 Allen St. in the historic Allendale Theater), plays host to an Arlen tribute featuring the Buffalo Jazz Collective. In an afternoon of singing, moving and learning, you'll enjoy "Over the Rainbow," "I've Got the World on a String," "Come Rain or Come …

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It may take a village to raise a child. But under the right circumstances, it only takes two actors to bring that village to life. In the Irish Classical Theatre Company's production of Shay Linehan's play "Minding Frankie," that task falls to two of Buffalo's most experienced performers: Christian Brandjes and Kirsten Tripp Kelley. They drive the action and take on all…

Obituaries

May 26, 1922 – Oct. 25, 2017 Long before Nike adopted its famous slogan, Buffalo director and SUNY Buffalo State professor Warren Enters was spreading it like gospel through Buffalo's theater community. "He would just say, 'Do it! Stop talking about it. Do it,' " said television writer and producer Tom Fontana, Enters' former protégé and Buffalo State student. "H…

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In the world of "Glengarry Glen Ross," if you aren't a winner, you're a loser. A bleeping, bleeping loser. And you're fired. Sound familiar? When writer David Mamet debuted this tough play back in 1983, it was shocking for its relentless profanity and disturbing for its unfiltered vision of the dark, abusive side of American business. Not anymore. Mamet could have…

Buffalo

A special performance of "Free Fred Brown!" will be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. The play by Ujima Company, Inc. is about a young African-American who becomes the reluctant face of a movement while in prison for theft of services from a gas company. The story, set in a rust-belt cit…

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Second Generation Theatre, an ambitious local company launched by three young performers in 2013, is scrapping plans to establish a permanent space in the soon-to-be-restored Shea's Seneca building in South Buffalo. "After a great deal of due diligence, we have determined that the Shea’s Seneca space is not a financially viable site for Second Generation Theatre," com…

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Sometimes it takes a little gestation for a theater production to reach its full potential. Take, for example, Jeanine Tesori's musical "Violet," which tells the story of a young woman who sets out on a cross-country journey in desperate search of a cure for her condition. It premiered off-Broadway in 1997 and but did not make its Broadway debut until 2014 in an acclai…