Coming up in the 710 Main Theatre: A season of Buffalove.
Three plays by Buffalo-born writers will make up the bulk of the theater’s 2015-16 season, which will kick off on Sept. 17 with a production of Laura Pedersen’s Buffalo-based family drama “For Heaven’s Sake!” and end with the touring version of A.R. Gurney’s immensely popular show “Love Letters” next May.
In between, Buffalo theatergoers get the chance to re-experience hit plays from the recent past: A Buffalo Laboratory Theatre production of Gurney’s “Sylvia,” slated for November, and a remount of the raunchy, puppet-based musical “Avenue Q,” produced by MusicalFare Theatre, in April 2016. “Wiesenthal,” Tom Dugan’s one-man show about the famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, will play for a five-day run in March 2016.
The five-show subscription season is the third since the 710 Main Theatre opened under the auspices of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in the former Studio Arena Theatre.
Shea’s President and CEO Anthony Conte said that he and his team at Shea’s are making progress at determining what works in the large venue, which seats more than 600.
“What we tried to do was find product that we thought would be a good variety for the theatergoing patrons in Buffalo and hopefully they’ll agree that we’ve achieved it,” he said, emphasizing the season-ending production of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” that closed on Broadway in December. “I’m pretty excited about it. I think the final show right off Broadway, with two stars in it, is kind of the crowning glory. It was a lot of work to get it, but we’re very pleased that we were able to bring the show to Buffalo.”
Three years into programming the 710 Main Stage, Conte is confident the audience is growing.
“We’ve seen a great growth in our audiences there. A lot of people don’t realize, opening 710 for us is a whole new business. It’s different from what we do at Shea’s,” he said. “One of the things we’re trying to do with the building is make sure we’re serving every part of the community and not just limiting it to one narrow band or one small group.”
A breakdown of the season:
“For Heaven’s Sake!” by Laura Pedersen, Sept. 17 to Oct. 4. This show, which ran as “The Brightness of Heaven” off-Broadway in 2014, has a plot about a Buffalo Irish-American family sure to strike a chord with fans of Tom Dudzick’s “Over the Tavern.”
“Sylvia,” by A.R. Gurney and produced by Buffalo Laboratory Theatre, Nov. 5 to 15. A classic comedy by the playwright laureate of Buffalo’s upper crust, “Sylvia” and its canine central character has been charming audiences since its 1995 debut.
“Avenue Q,” by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and produced by MusicalFare Theatre, April 7 to 24, 2016. MusicalFare Theatre is bringing back its hit 2012 production of the cheeky and catchy musical that is equal parts “South Park” and “Sesame Street” with its original cast.
“Love Letters,” May 11 to 22, 2016. A.R. Gurney’s famous two-hander, frequently trotted out by theater companies across the country for the Valentine’s Day slot, wrapped up its most recent Broadway run in December. The 710 Main production, directed by Gregory Mosher, features Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw from the film “Love Story” for the first time together onstage.
Tickets for the season are on sale. Call 847-0850 or visit sheas.org/710main.