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710 Main features two Shaw Festival shows, diverse lineup

The 710 Main Theatre, which has been experimenting with a mix of local and national programming since it reopened in 2012, has put the finishing touches on another eclectic lineup for its 2017-18 season.

Highlights include two productions from the Shaw Festival, Athol Fugard's " 'Master Harold' ... and the Boys" and a compilation of stories for children by Oscar Wilde, as part of Shea's five-year partnership with the Canadian repertory company. The season also will feature a September appearance from veteran actress Loretta Swit, who will appear in the comedy "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks."

Shea's practice of working with local theater companies also will continue, with three planned productions from Buffalo theater groups: a radio play version of "It's a Wonderful Life" from Road Less Traveled Productions and productions of the edgy musical "Spring Awakening" and "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery" from MusicalFare Theatre.

Dates have yet to be announced. The subscription season includes five shows. The only special engagement announced so far is a remount the Shaw Festival's current kid-friendly production of "Wilde Tales" slated for October, but there are likely to be more.

A look at the subscription season:

"Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," September

Loretta Swit, known among other roles for playing Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the television show "M.A.S.H.," will appear in this two-person comedy by Richard Alfieri. It's the story of a retiree woman who hires a young, gay dance instructor. Each of the characters have tragic backstories and bitter dispositions, which eventually melt into mutual understanding.

"It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play," November and December

Road Less Traveled Productions will mount a pre-holiday production of Joe Landry's popular adaptation of the famous film. It was most recently seen in Buffalo on the Kavinoky Theatre stage in 2008.

" 'Master Harold' ... and the Boys," February 2018

South African playwright Athol Fugard's striking and often harrowing take on race relations in his native country was a critical hit at the Shaw Festival in 2016. Philip Akin's production comes to the Shea's stage early next year as part of the festival's expanding efforts to reach into new markets.

"Spring Awakening," March 2018

There is a frenetic, nervous energy to this 2006 musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, which explores the frustrations and crises of conscience that affect teenagers in the midst of a collective sexual awakening. It was last seen here in 2011 at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.

"Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery," May 2018

This take on Sherlock Holmes' most famous mystery comes from the author of the much-produced farce "Lend Me a Tenor." It is a rare foray into straight plays for the musical-theater savvy folks at MusicalFare Theatre, which brought the Mark Rothko bio-play "Red" to the 710 Main Stage in 2014.


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