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Kavinoky mounts jukebox favorite 'Mamma Mia'

Few directors have shaped Buffalo's theater scene like Lynne Kurziel-Formato, the former University at Buffalo theater professor who plied her trade on local stages large and small before departing for North Carolina in the mid-aughts.

While Buffalo's ever-expanding theater industry has soldiered on, her return in September to direct the Kavinoky Theatre's production of "The Producers" was met with ecstatic reactions from fans and former acolytes. (She has also returned through the years to direct at Artpark.) Critical reception of the production also was positive, indicating a collective sense of relief at the director's return.

Now, Kurdziel-Formato is back again, this time to take on the highly fanciful jukebox musical "Mamma Mia," opening Jan. 5 in the Kavinoky. The show, which debuted on Broadway in 2001 and was later made into a candy-colored film starring Meryl Streep, tells the unlikely story of a young woman's attempt to discover the identity of her father.

The Kavinoky production, which will feature new "LED curtains" the theater recently acquired to amp up its sets, features Debbie Pappas Sham, Lisa Ludwig, Loraine O’Donnell, Arianne Davidow, Peter Palmisano and Matt Witten.

"Mamma Mia": Opens Jan. 5 and runs through Jan. 28 in the Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. Tickets are $38 to $42. Call 829-7668 or visit

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