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All the following qualify as new plays. There are a lot of them. The Alleyway Theatre's Festival of Short-Works (11 small plays), Buffalo Ensemble Theatre's Area Playwrights' Series (one down, two to go), Rochester's GeVa Theatre's New Plays Festival (three), and a bid for a long-running tourist musical in Niagara Falls Convention Center's Greek Theater (a show called "Whirlpool," originating in Pittsburgh).

Festival of Short-Works opens Thursday and continues through June 13, performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 Sundays in the downtown Alleyway. There are two evening programs. Program 1 on Thursday, June 5, 11 and 13 consists of Norman Beim's "Shakespeare Revisited"; Alice E. Gerard's "Do Yuppies Bite?"; Charles Skowronek's "Execution Tonight"; Susan Hodge Anner's "Fairy Tale"; Scott Gorcey's "Flushing." Program 2 next Friday, June 6, 10 and 12 consists of Edna Pelonero's "Cats & Hamsters", Susan Hodge Anner's "Invisible Man"; Steven Luther's "A Kitchen Sink Drama"; Judith Barlow's "Orlando at Dawn"; Susan Lichtblau's "Souvenirs," and Susan Hodge Anner's "Yellow Ribbon."

BET's 11th annual series continues with the full-length plays "The Gratz Delusion" by Rebecca Ritchie, directed by David Granville, Thursday through June 13 in the theater in the Jackson Building, 220 Delaware Ave. Closing this year's series is Susan Chledzinski's "The Master Passion" directed by Douglas A. Dugan, June 17 to 27. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays.

GeVa's fourth annual New Plays Festival began Thursday evening with Jane Martin's "Criminal Hearts" (author of "Talking With," which played Buffalo), directed by Anthony Zerbe. It continues Saturday with "What Is Art?" by William S. Leavengood, directed by John Bishop, and "A Penny for the Guy" by Lanie Robertson (author of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" and "Alfred Stieglitz Loves O'Keeffe"), Wednesday. Performances are in repertory through June 27 in the theater at 75 Woodbury Blvd., Rochester. For details, call 232-4382.

The musical meant to capture the fancy of tourists to Niagara Falls is "Whirlpool," about a determined woman set on going over the falls as a feminist statement in 1923 (she is modeled on Annie Edson Taylor, who did it in a barrel in 1901). The music is by J. Robert Manuel, lyrics by Graham L. Hodgetts and book by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts, all from the Pittsburgh area. It opens this evening and is scheduled to continue through Sept. 54, performances performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and at 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

-- Terry Doran


Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown serves up a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, blues, zydeco, Cajun and calypso. The Gate man can dish out jazz and blues guitar licks with anyone. He learned that style from his father while growing up in Orange, Texas. Gatemouth, in his late 60s, started playing professionally in the 1940s. He briefly retired but came back strong in the 1970s. Brown carries on the tradition of the old-time bluesman hitting the road and making his music. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown will play tonight at 9 in the Marquee at the Tralf, 100 Theater Place.

-- Anthony Violanti


Currently on a three-month tour of North America, the 18-voice Akafist Russian Male Chamber Choir will stop in Buffalo on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. concert in SS Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, 45 Ideal St., between William and Lovejoy. Akafist is a Greek word meaning "supplication to a saint." The choir was organized in 1990 by Andrei Malyutin, who is conducting it on the tour. Proceeds from the tour will be used for restoration of the Danilovsky Monastery just outside the Kremlin walls, one of many churches that have reopened in a resurgence of interest in organized religions after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

-- Herman Trotter

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