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If you liked 'Hamilton,' you'll love what Buffalo theater has in store

Every decade or so, a blockbuster show emerges with the power to create new theater fans on a previously unimagined scale.

In the 1990s, "Rent" propelled legions of drama club teens toward the stage. In the early 2000s, "Wicked" minted a new generation of Broadway devotees who thrilled to the vocal acrobatics of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth and to the show's empowering message.

But "Hamilton"? In the inspiration department, "Hamilton" makes these Broadway blockbusters seem as quaint as your local middle school's production of "Oklahoma!"

If you find yourself hungering for more after your first viewing of "Hamilton," like hundreds of thousands of instant converts to the church of musical theater before you, know there is an outlet for that passion other than mortgaging your house to afford another ticket on StubHub.

It's called the Buffalo theater scene, and it is brimming with productions that will feed your need for thrilling live performance — albeit in ways more subdued than Lin-Manuel Miranda's masterpiece.

With "Hamilton" in mind, here are some suggestions for the second half of the theater season:

"Barceló on the Rocks," Nov. 30 to Dec. 16
Raíces Theatre, Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave.

"Hamilton" is an immigrant story, and so is this piece by Marco Antonio Rodriguez. It's about a man who made his way from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights — the neighborhood where Miranda grew up and the setting for his pre-"Hamilton" musical "In the Heights."

“1776: The Musical," April 25 to May 19
O’Connell and Company at the Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder

With music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, this piece chronicling the signing of the Declaration of Independence dovetails perfectly with “Hamilton.” O’Connell and Company presents it with an all-female cast.

"Native Son," Jan. 18 to Feb. 10
Paul Robeson Theatre, 350 Masten Ave.

Based on Richard White's classic novel, this play takes on prejudice and injustice in Jim Crow-era Chicago. Like "Hamilton," it makes a convincing argument about the true source of America's greatness: its cultural and ethnic diversity.

"Ragtime," Feb. 13 to March 17
MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst

American identity — polyglot and polyphonic — also takes center stage in this celebrated musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty with a book by Terrence McNally. It tells the story of European immigrants, the descendants of slaves and the upper class white hegemony — three populations who clash, vie and ultimately achieve a kind of strained harmony.

"Between Riverside and Crazy," March 8 to March 31
Road Less Traveled Productions, 456 Main St.

The language of the city streets is honored, enacted and elevated in Stephen Adly Guirgis' critically acclaimed play about a retired New York City policeman and his fractured family. If Lin-Manuel Miranda provides a voice for New York's clashing cultures through song, Guirgis channels them into literature.

"Frost/Nixon," March 1 to 24
Irish Classical Theatre Company, 625 Main St.

If you've got politics on your mind (and who doesn't, at this point?), this piece by Peter Morgan lives at the intersection of power and journalism. It tells the story of a disgraced Richard Nixon giving an unlikely interview to British journalist David Frost, in which he makes some devastating admissions. It couldn't be more relevant.

[Check out a list of the full theater season here]

Also of note for the second half of the season:

"Our Town," Jan. 4 to 13
American Repertory Theatre, 3200 Elmwood Ave.

"Sense & Sensibility," Jan. 18 to Feb. 10
Irish Classical Theatre Company

"Tuck Everlasting," Feb. 2 to 10
Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St.

"Million Dollar Quartet," March 14 to 24
Shea's 710 Theatre

"Hamlet," April 26 to May 19
Irish Classical Theatre Company

"Fun Home," May 9 to 19
Shea's 710 Theatre

"The Seat Next to the King," June 7 to 299
New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park

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