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New Phoenix Theatre takes on Gurney’s elegaic ‘Buffalo Gal’

Plenty of people are coming home to Buffalo lately and finding the place not exactly how they left it. That’s more or less the idea behind A.R. Gurney’s play “Buffalo Gal,” in which a successful Hollywood actress comes home, only to find the city she thought she was returning to had all but vanished. When the play first opened in Studio Arena Theatre in 2002, before the city entered the period of improved morale in which it is now fully immersed, the play had a strong whiff of elegy about it.

Perhaps its new production, opening Friday in the New Phoenix Theatre (95 Johnson Park) and starring Barbara Link LaRou, will feel more appropriate to the city’s burgeoning optimism and hoped-for economic revival. In the show, a regional theater company not unlike Studio Arena brings one of Buffalo’s famous daughters home to star in “The Cherry Orchard.” Both the city and the aristocratic family at the center of the Chekhov play, as one character notes, are “both going to seed, both looking for some way to face the future.”

New Phoenix founder Richard Lambert directs. The production also features Gary Earl Ross, Steve Borowski, Brittany Kucala, Willy Judson and Mary Moebius.

Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 853-1334 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski

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