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Wacky and wild<br> Alt Theatre, O'Connell go for laughs next season

O'Connell and Company Productions opens its 12th season Sept. 23 with "Working," a musical based on Studs Terkel's best-selling book of interviews with American workers. Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso transformed the book into a popular Broadway show chronicling the hopes and dreams of the working class through song and dance.

Other shows filling out the season are "Once Upon a Celtic Christmas," "Nunset Boulevard," "Over the Pub," "Mame," "Buffalo Zings! Hot, Tedium and Wild!!" "Story of Daniel," "Hooray for Hollywood: A Musical Salute to the Silver Screen" and "Gentlemen's Gentlemen."

It's a pretty wacky collection of productions. "Buffalo Zings!" is drenched in spicy satire, songs and skits. "Nunset Boulevard" is the latest installment in Dan Goggin's series of cabaret shows that follow the hilarious adventures of a group of eccentric nuns. The season concludes with Jerry Herman's musical "Mame," a classic dealing with the Great Depression.

The season will also include a signature show at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays: "Diva by Diva: A Celebration of Women."

O'Connell and Company was founded in 1995 by Buffalo award-winning actress Mary Kate O'Connell. In 2009 the company announced its innovative arts partnership with Erie Community College North Campus with shows taking place on the campus in Gleasner Hall. For information, visit www.oconnellandcompany.com.

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Alt season

Alt Theatre and the New Alt Performance Group (NAPG) open its 2010-11 season with "Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non-Musical" by Shaun McLaughlin (based on his graphic novel of the same name). The production takes audiences through the slow disintegration of a college Shakespeare company and emphasizes the importance of ambition in hard times.

Other shows include "Evil Dead: The Musical," "The Bald Soprano," "Medea" and "Gutenberg!: The Musical!" They run the gamut from absurdist tale of linguistic destruction to crude musical spoof -- one song in "Evil Dead" is titled "All the Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons." In short, there's a lot of silliness this season.

NAPG was formed in the summer of 2008 and exists to provide the resources necessary for 21st century artists to flourish. Its purpose is also to help multidisciplinary artists of various backgrounds collaborate on different projects while still granting them the freedom of expression they deserve. For more information, visit www.alttheatre.com or call 868-6847.

e-mail: aeck@buffnews.com

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