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Ben Siegel


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It is so rewarding, you might agree, to go to the theater for an evening of classical, traditional Shakespeare, and not once tilt your head at the verbal frustration that greets you. More often than I’d like to admit, the Bard confuses me. I can admit that (as someone who writes about him from time to time) since I know I’m not the only one. Even the comedies, which …

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Love by Shakespeare is a messy tale. Enchanting flirtation, desperate manipulation, love potions, unlikely affairs. Any way you cut it, many of the Bard’s comedies (and a few harrowing tragedies) remind us that romance sometimes takes a ton of work to feel effortless. If you’re trying too hard, you might be missing the mark. And if you’re not laughing, you’re definitely…

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Not until fireworks and fireflies, splash pads and swimming pools, Dilly Bars and saltwater taffy – and certainly, not until Buffalo United Artists Summer Camp spectacular hits the stage – has summer officially begun. This is the milestone we wait for, the spoof of spoofs, the shock of all awe, the ridiculous, rambunctious, calamitous display that’s hard to take serious…

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Like a scoop of ice cream on an oppressive summer night, James Taylor is a magical salve. He always makes our lives seem a little easier, a little calmer, a little simpler. That’s just what Taylor and his All-Star Band served Sunday night at KeyBank Center, with help from longtime pal, blues goddess Bonnie Raitt. Raitt's generous set was studded with a blend of entry…

There’s an urgent message being shared at Subversive Theatre right now, delivered right from the source. In “Slut: The Play,” this summer’s iteration of the company’s summer youth series, a cast of students from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts shares the reality of enduring various kinds of abuse and disrespect. About how our current culture propagates an…

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I didn’t think there was anything left to see in “Annie.” I thought I had the little orphan’s story pegged, as the perennial family classic that it is, the love letter to bygone Manhattan, the Christmas wish that hangs it hope on the new, brighter day just around the corner. The last time I saw the show on stage, maybe 15 years ago, I hadn’t absorbed the deft political …

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During intermission of Tuesday’s opening night performance of “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s unnecessary sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera,” I Tweeted that I had a hundred thousand million questions about the show’s erratic first act. My early instincts reverberated with a few followers, but none more reassuringly so than from an account called Love Should D…

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It dawned on me, halfway through Saturday night’s three-hour-plus Journey and Def Leppard double-bill at a sold-out KeyBank Center, just who these bands were. Journey is the kid who did all his homework and raised his hand in class, and Def Leppard is the kid who shoved that kid into lockers. Some 25 years after their peak, and 12 years since their last co-headlining…

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I fell in love with this show before it even started. Before artistic director Meg Quinn took to the apron of the Allendale Theatre stage to introduce “Stellaluna” to its audience of tiny people. Before the small, agile ensemble sang their first notes of Guus Ponsioen’s lush, harmonic score. Before we met Adam Kreutinger’s latest ingenious puppet creations, this t…

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In “Blackberry Daze,” the latest production in Paul Robeson Theatre’s 50th anniversary season, we find a theater company working at its very best levels. The show is confident, dense with talent, and well rehearsed for its run. With only minor flaws, it has a lot to be proud of. The musical is based on Ruth P. Watson’s novel “Blackberry Days of Summer,” one in a series…

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This is the first time I’ve mentioned this in a review, but it’s most relevant in the case of Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians,” the striking new satirical drama at Road Less Traveled Productions. It has to do with the performance you decide to attend. Every performance of live theater is unique, of course, and privy to a host of factors. I’m not speaking to this productio…

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In the quiet Irish town where a local guy meets a foreign girl, and they meet over a moment of music, and that moment blooms into an immediate partnership, and that partnership turns into a life-aligning realization and momentous turning point, everything that feels impossible suddenly appears within reach. In between those sparks breathes the lovely “Once,” an effervescen…

Our personal identities and brands are often mistaken as portraits, preserved snapshots of a single moment, but in application they are much more like a composite. As Jews, we like to marinate in our histories, to reconcile and reconstitute our past selves. This can be a blessing and a curse. In Donald Margulies’ “Sight Unseen,” now onstage at Jewish Repertory Theatre, …

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They do! They do! That’s the delightful Mary Coppola Gjurich and Gregory Gjurich, who tirelessly, and not effortlessly, work their butts off at O’Connell and Company right now in the 1966 musical “I Do! I Do!” Oh, how they do. They play a charming couple experiencing the highs and lows of a marriage, as told around the gathering totem pole of their four-poster bed…

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Junie B. Jones is back, and going through a rough patch. She’s lost her favorite fuzzy mittens. The black ones that give her comfort, that she wears proudly, that she uses to gain the attention of friends and romantic interests. But now they’re gone, and her carefree kindergarten days just aren’t the same. With “Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook,” the latest from Theatre…