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CRITIC'S CHOICE

POP MUSIC
Together again

They say this could be the last time. Talas waited nearly 15 years for a reunion last Thanksgiving weekend, and now the guys say they'll give it one more chance and that's it. "We wanted to do it one more, final time for the people who couldn't come last year," said Mike Faley of Metal Blade Records, a driving force behind the reunion.

Talas was the dominant Buffalo rock bar band for much of the 1970s and early '80s. Billy Sheehan, Dave Constantino and Paul Varga made up the first group ever to be inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. Sheehan left the band in the '80s and went on to fame and fortune with the likes of David Lee Roth and his own current group, Mr. Big. Buffalo Billy returned last year for the Talas reunion and things went so well that the band cut a live album, "If We Only Knew Than What We Know Now." It sold nearly 30,000 copies in Japan, where fans revere Sheehan the way the French worship Jerry Lewis.

Faley assures fans that this year's concert, which will be held Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall, is not a repeat of last year's show: "We're adding material that was not in last year's concert." Constantino and Varga, meanwhile, have formed a new band called Shy Boy and are playing local gigs. For veteran followers of the local rock scene, however, nothing can replace Talas. Last year's show was a sellout, and this year's likely will be, too.

-- Anthony Violanti
MUSIC
In the family
When the unusual family ensemble called the Weilerstein Trio walks out onto the stage of Kleinhans' Mary Seaton Room on Tuesday evening, it will represent a homecoming of sorts for two of its members. Violinist Donald Weilerstein and pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein lived in Buffalo from 1970 to 1976 when the Cleveland Quartet was in residence at the University at Buffalo and Donald was its first violinist. The third member of the ensemble, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, is the 15-year-old daughter of Don and Vivian, and wasn't born until seven years after the Cleveland Quartet and the senior Weilersteins had left Buffalo for residence at Rochester's Eastman School of Music. It might seem, therefore, that this will be Alisa's Buffalo debut, but that's not true, because the Weilerstein Trio were soloists in January with the Slee Sinfonietta and conductor Magnus Martensson in Beethoven's Triple Concerto.

Perhaps the must unusual thing about this family trio is its longevity. They first played together publicly in 1989 at Texas' Round Top Festival when Alisa was a mere 6 years old. They have subsequently toured the country many times, and their first recording, the Ives Piano Trio, is expected to be released this winter.

Even the program they will offer as featured artists on the Buffalo Chamber Music Society series at 8 p.m. Tuesday will be unusual. It opens with the Debussy Cello Sonata, featuring Alisa and her mother, then goes on to an arrangement for piano trio by Edward Steuermann of Schoenberg's "Verklaerte Nacht," originally written for string sextet. Their program will conclude with the highly conventional, passionately emotive Schumann Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 63. Audience members curious about any aspect of the program may come at 7:15 to hear Donald Weilerstein and Edward Yadzinski in a pre-concert discussion and question-and-answer session.

-- Herman Trotter
THEATER
Our story continues
When last we heard, young Rudy Pazinski was having an immune reaction to Sister Clarissa's rigid, frowning instructions in the Catholic faith. His Irish mother and Polish father living over the family bar on Buffalo's East Side were aghast. Ten years later, Rudy is 22 and the 1960s meltdown of obedient society is in full swing. More importantly, Rudy has made a deathbed promise to his father to go into the priesthood. Over the past three seasons in Buffalo theater, probably no play has been more popular with audiences than Tom Dudzick's gentle comedy "Over the Tavern." Dudzick, now working in New York City, is from Buffalo. When he sat down to write about how it was for a boy of 12 in a Catholic family on the East Side working to make ends meet, he didn't have to look far material. That was where and how he grew up. The response to the play gave the Studio Arena Theatre the happy choice of commissioning a sequel. In what must be a first, a Buffalo playwright writing about a Buffalo family has the next play in sequence commissioned and first performed in a Buffalo theater. The new play has been given the practical title of "Over the Tavern: Part II." Previews begin Sunday and the formal opening is next Friday.

Once again Terrence LaMude will direct. He has directed all of Dudzick's work here: the first production of "Over the Tavern" in 1995, its revival in 1997, another Dudzick comedy, "Greetings," last year, and this new installment of "Over the Tavern." Actors new to the Studio will play featured parts: Sean Maher as Rudy, Stephen Kunken as his brother, Gavin Hawk as his other mentally impaired brother, Judith K. Hart as his mother, Jenn Thompson in the role of Maureen. Two who have appeared here previously, Donald Christopher and Stacey Lynn Brass, complete the cast. Performances continue through Jan. 3.

-- Terry Doran

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