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Buffalo playwright’s show gets closer to New York City production

A Hamburg-born theater production that allows audience members to determine the plot via remote control is inching closer to a major New York City production.

“Mystery of the Silver Chalice,” a play by Buffalo Laboratory Theatre founder Taylor Doherty that debuted in February 2010 at the 710 Main Theatre, will receive a pair of staged readings at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre in New York City on Feb. 16.

A staged reading such as the one planned for February is an important step in the evolution of the show from a Buffalo hit to a New York-ready theatrical property. They are designed to gauge audience response and gather feedback that will help the playwright and producers tweak the show for a potential production.

The show was optioned last summer by Tilted Windmills Theatricals, a consortium of producers who have had a hand in many popular Broadway productions, for a possible new production or tour.

Doherty, who will direct the reading and successfully pushed for it to include original cast member John Kaczorowski, said the producers are in talks with what he called an “amazing” New York theater for a planned summer production. He did not name the theater or elaborate on those plans.

“It’s all surreal,” Doherty said. “And honestly, what playwright hasn’t dreamed about Tony-winning Broadway producers swooping in, calling you a ‘mad genius’ and optioning your show for New York and a National Tour?”

The show concerns the romantic misadventures of a young man, who the audience guides through a series of increasingly absurd comic scenes with a female counterpart of the audience’s choice. Every performance is different, though the comic thread of the hapless young man in love runs through all the possible permutations of the story.

In its Buffalo production, “Silver Chalice” was filled with references to local theaters and other cultural touchstones that a national tour or New York production would ostensibly have to dispense with. Otherwise, Doherty suggested, he’s looking forward to shaping the show for bigger and broader audiences.

“Getting a chance to direct the reading myself allows me to refine the show, and the branching narrative, even more,” Doherty said. “The show might seem all ‘mad-cap comedy’ on the surface, but there is a important balance to how certain choices affect other choices, and how the characters develop depending on the choices the audience makes. I want to protect and develop that balance.”

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com