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Ben Siegel


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If it were customary, in a less imaginative world, for dinner theaters to serve the food eaten or talked about on stage, then Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” would be a tough swallow. Think German mustard soup, the medicinal solution Grandma Kurnitz serves when someone’s sick. Think bowls of it, forced upon her live-in grandson, Arty, as he suffers a fever on her uptight…

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Grab your swimsuit and martini shaker, kids. It’s time for summer camp! If you’ve been to Buffalo United Artists’ annual drag romp, roasting the queerest classics of pop culture with a wink, a nod and a tuck – if you, indeed, summer at BUA – then you know. You know what a bow-topped gift it is to see master thespian Jimmy Janowski parade his mascara-drooped eyelashes…

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It is a rare treat for an actor to return to a role they played years after the fact. To get to reinterpret the same character, now with more maturity and perspective, and with different creative direction. I’ll never forget seeing Ben Michael Moran – then Ben Puglisi – play Guido Contini, the Fellini-esque film director at the heart of “Nine,” at the University at Buff…

It takes a long time for Walter Jenkins to breathe. He’s gone to use the public restroom in a Washington, D.C. park. It’s 1964, and when he’s not using these facilities, he works in the White House as a top aide to President Johnson. He is white. When Bayard Rustin isn’t doing the same – just going about his personal necessities in a legal, public, bladder-sanctioned…

There’s really nothing funnier than a bunch of nuns behaving badly. A salty joke, a bawdy shoulder shrug, a whispered grievance in the quiet halls of God. Surely, at some point, something’s gotta give. That was the idea behind the great 1992 film, “Sister Act,” which managed to make an even bigger star out of Whoopi Goldberg than she already was. In it, she played Delor…

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On paper, a play called “A Time to Kill” does not lure you to a dinner theater. It sounds bloody and venomous, hardly fitting for bread baskets and side salads. But there’s more than meets the eye at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre. Whatever notions you might have about what a dinner theater can and should be, producer-director Jay Desiderio often validates and extends. T…

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Seasoned beef on a bed of shredded sharp cheese, with tomato, sour cream and hot sauce. One hard shell and one soft. Or fish, with slaw and citrus. Or maybe fresh cooked black beans, yum. That’s how I like my tacos. Food preferences are a funny thing. I know of exactly one person who doesn’t like tacos, and it’s because of physics – eating a thing that contains smaller …

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It’s not often that a performance begins with a standing ovation, but here we are. That’s the level of anticipation that awaited Ujima Theatre’s founder and artistic director, Lorna C. Hill, as she greeted the opening night house of the musical “Passing Strange,” which she directed. As one might expect, there were some delays getting this first show off the ground: a ne…

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There’s a lot to like about “The Undeniable Sound of Right Now,” Laura Eason’s entertaining and thoughtful play now at Road Less Traveled Theater. It touches on relevant topics of gentrification, family struggle, small-business ownership, and the most timeless subjects of them all: rock 'n' roll. Read Jeff Miers’s fantastic article about the play’s resonance in Buffalo’…

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Surely, you’ve seen Niagara Falls. Maybe the Grand Canyon. But have you ever seen Cher? In the flesh, draped in Bob Mackie, zipped up from boot to wig, strutting and hair-flipping her way through a half-century career’s worth of iconic looks and indelible hits? A few stories of yesteryear? And more souvenirs than any home altar could ever need? Who needs a concession…

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That feeling when you leave a show and you’re not quite sure what you just saw, but you know you liked it. You might even love it, but still, you don’t know why. Just that it spoke to you, and for the rest of the night, you’re still listening. This is exactly the feeling I had after seeing “Late in the Evening,” the latest from director-choreographer Michael Walline, no…

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In her long-awaited Buffalo concert debut, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, of course, sparkled. Whether you know her from Broadway as the original Glinda in “Wicked,” or from her television role in the adored “Pushing Daisies,” you know that she glitters wherever she goes. Her 4-foot-11 frame and pixie voice are hard to miss. But it’s her opera training and Oklahoma…

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Buffalo’s Broadway fans’ dreams are about to come true, when Kristin Chenoweth at long last makes her Buffalo debut, performing April 6 in Kleinhans Music Hall with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the University at Buffalo’s Music Department. Chenoweth made a name for herself originating the bubbly role of Glinda in Broadway’s “Wicked,” and has starre…

Don’t worry, she’s fine. Ariana is fine, everyone. She’s had a tumultuous year for any person to endure, celebrity or otherwise – the whirlwind romance, engagement, separation and open mockery of her relationship with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson; the tragic death of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, with whom she had produced music; and the residual aftermath of the 2…

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It’s evenings like this that make you proud to be in Buffalo. When two prolific artists, bound by their commitment to community and hometown boosterism, premiere their joint venture for a packed audience. If it only made you smile, to feel that kind of support in the flesh, it would be enough. But if it makes you perk up and listen, and adjust your thinking, or habits, eve…