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Polishing the MusicalFare gem

There is a lot to be enthusiastic about when it comes to the Western New York art scene and the anticipated expansion of MusicalFare Theatre only adds to that energy. As recently reported, the largest local theater expansion since Shea’s Performing Arts Center was renovated in 1999 was announced as the Amherst playhouse unveiled a $900,000 plan for a cabaret space, an expanded lobby and a new exterior.

As anyone who has been to the theater on the Daemen College campus will attest, attendance has been growing. Although greatly anticipated performances can make for a miniature traffic snarl, the trouble is worth it for one of the region’s few suburban theaters.

Indeed, patrons should appreciate growing demand that forces expansion. Work is expected to begin in the fall and be complete by February. In its place when done will be an artistic structure to replace the theater’s bland exterior. It will include glass panels and a prominent new entrance. Plans are to triple the size of the small lobby. A larger lobby should be a relief to those who crowd the currently diminutive space prior to shows and during intermissions.

Another delightful part of the plan includes the expanded lounge doubling as a new, 75-seat cabaret performance space. The sheer uniqueness of this feature should bring a host of visitors.

As Randall Kramer, MusicalFare’s artistic and executive director told a News reporter, the expansion project will enable the theater to earn more money from concessions and expand programming beyond the musicals it presents in its 136-seat main theater.

MusicalFare hired the Buffalo architecture firm Lauer-Manguso to design the project. The firm also is responsible for Daemen’s new Center for Visual and Performing Arts and nearby Walker Center, in addition to MusicalFare’s backstage addition in 2008.

MusicalFare is filling a niche in providing a dedicated cabaret performance space while adding to the artistic landscape in suburban Buffalo. It is another cultural gem in the area’s crown.