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Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler does not suffer fools gladly. This point is sledge-hammered into audiences' heads in the opening scene of Richard Strand's "Ben Butler," a lighthearted play about a heavy period in American history running through March 25 in the Kavinoky Theatre. In that scene, Butler (John Fredo) berates and belittles his West Point-trained li…

Theater

If it's possible for a piece of theater to serve both as a timeless commentary and a perfect embodiment of its era, "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" fits the bill. The wildly entertaining 1971 musical revue about the lives and struggles of black Americans, with music and lyrics by Mikki Grant, has received a spirited makeover by Buffalo choreographer and director Carlos …

Theater

Laughter. Loneliness. Violence. Death. There is a lot to like about Irish Classical Theatre's production of  "The Night Alive," Conor McPherson's dark comedy about a clutch of life's losers trying to make a go of it in modern-day Dublin. McPherson has a sure hand with dialogue and gift for knowing just how much fear and despair he can pile an audience before giving them…

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For most young men growing up in Brooklyn, going out for a beer with friends is an activity as natural as breathing. But the first beer Afrim Gjonbalaj drank in public, as an observant young Muslim testing the boundaries of his faith, caused a miniature crisis of conscience. The 35-year-old actor, who stars in Road Less Traveled Theatre's production of Ayak Akhtar's …

Art

1) Shamrock Run, 9 a.m. day-of registration, tentative noon start time March 3 at Old First Ward Community Center (62 Republic St.). Late registration fee is $40 and may be purchased online here and picked up at the OFW by EOB Friday. Commentary: The 40th anniversary of the pre-St. Patrick's Day race is a 5-mile jaunt through the Old First Ward, with runners donning a r…

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Regret is a recurring character in the work of Irish playwright Conor McPherson, a favorite of the Irish Classical Theatre Company and its audiences. McPherson’s dark and somewhat mystical work returns to the Andrews Theatre stage on March 2, when the company opens a production of his 2013 play “The Night Alive.” (It last produced a play of McPherson’s, the devastating …

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Irish Classical Theatre fondly remembered the life of fictional character Hugh R. Boxworthy, a notorious party animal, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in the Atrium at Rich's. Browse shots of the crowd.

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LehrerDance, Buffalo's only professional dance company to regularly perform outside Western New York, closed in early February. In a statement emailed to The Buffalo News Thursday, the company's Board of Directors announced it had terminated founder and artistic director Jon Lehrer Feb. 7. The board's statement also said the company was in the process of "determining t…

Columns

“The past is always present,” the narrator says in the opening of the harrowing play “The Auction Block.” The challenge is reaching those who’d prefer not to believe that pithy summation of history’s lingering impact. The conclusion was hard to escape for anyone attending last weekend’s performances of the short but affecting play in which a slave family having Sunda…

Comedy

Few Buffalo performance spaces are quirkier than the tiny Main Street Cabaret. That quirkiness -- views are sometimes obscured by columns and you can often hear the Metro Rail clanging during performances -- makes it totally appropriate for its next iteration as a comedy club. The cabaret, housed in the Alleyway Theatre's complex in a renovated former bus depot, will…

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The Pazinskis are back. And this time they're singing. Tom Dudzick's "Christmas Over the Tavern," a holiday musical featuring the beloved clan of working-class Catholics from the playwright's popular "Over the Tavern" series, is set for MusicalFare Theatre's 2018-19 season. "For years I've had this idea to do a Christmas story with these guys, with the Pazinskis," Du…

Dance

For nearly 50 years, Rochester-based choreographer Garth Fagan has been honing his signature style of contemporary dance. The Tony-winning artist is perhaps best known for his work on the 1997 Disney musical "The Lion King," which recently played in Shea's Performing Arts Center. But equally impressive is his century-spanning career with his eponymous dance company. …

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Caryl Churchill’s “Far Away” is a modern day Greek drama in all the best ways. Her spare dystopian tale of a society and world at war with themselves has echoes of Aeschylus and Euripides, still, after thousands of years, addressing issues of morality, hypocrisy and mortality. Even with those ancient echoes, “Far Away,” now onstage at Torn Space Theater, has a distinctl…

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Roland isn’t a bad guy, but he isn’t much fun to be around, either. His negative attitude borders on the cynical, and he does all he can to keep people at arm’s length. In fact, he can be so condescending it’s a wonder anyone will talk to him. Luckily for him, in “Beginning Again,” playwright David Alan Brown introduces Roland to people who recognize his irritable…

Featured

Since the mid-1990s, Buffalo's theater scene has been running on steroids. Over the past 20 years, the number of professional and semi-professional theaters has approximately doubled, to about two dozen. Those companies, not including community theaters or the nearby Shaw Festival, mount more than 100 productions per year. The growth has come with challenges: As volu…