Colin Dabkowski

Editor

Colin Dabkowski is The News' arts critic, responsible for covering visual art and theater in Western New York. Before joining The News in 2007, he worked as managing editor of McSweeney's oral history book series in San Francisco and as a freelance journalist in New Orleans.

Since November, the big draw at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has been the work of Pablo Picasso, an undisputed master of 20th century art.  Now, as Picasso: The Artist and His Models" draws to a close, the gallery is shifting its focus to five artists you've probably never heard of. On Feb. 18, the Albright-Knox will open solo exhibitions featuring five new kids on th…

When the script for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" first slid across Michael Murphy's desk at San Diego's Old Globe Theater in 2012 , his reaction was swift and irrepressible. "I was laughing out loud," said Murphy, now three months into his tenure as the president and CEO of Shea's Performing Arts Center. A touring production of the surprise hit, which mixes …

In 2016, MusicalFare Theatre took a crack at "Ring of Fire," the jukebox musical that opened with great fanfare in the former Studio Arena Theatre in 2005 but flopped on Broadway. By most accounts, this rejiggered attempt at redemption based on a 2013 revival of the show at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, was a smashing success. Now, the 30-song show is returning…

What ever happened to activism? What ever happened to personal sacrifice? What ever happened to guts? If Amy Herzog's compelling play "After the Revolution" is any indication, these vestiges of the militant American left have just been taking an extra-long nap. To reawaken, she seems to suggest, they may require a constitutional crisis. To hear the character…

Few working playwrights are capable of melding the personal and the political more deftly than Amy Herzog. This skill was abundantly clear in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's recent production of her play "4,000 Miles," whose characters' experience of grief directly mirrored their political philosophies. While that production was driven by the personal, politics tak…

Like most artists, Scott Bye's ambitions dwarf his resources. The Lockport-born artist, whose serpentine sculptures made from wooden pallet-toppers have appeared everywhere from Canalside to Silo City, has no studio and mostly works out of his small bedroom on the West Side. That doesn't give him a lot of space to experiment. And the result, despite popular exhib…

There's a good argument to be made that the music of Duke Ellington is the most American sound in the world. In performance, Ellington's compositions are conversations among disparate voices from different places. At points, the clarinet disagrees with the trombone, which disagrees with the sax. The trumpet always thinks it has a better idea. And behind it all is t…

John Fredo wanted to get it right. So, as a skinny 16-year-old growing up with nine siblings in a small Victorian house in South Buffalo, he slipped on his tap shoes and practiced his steps on the hardwood floor of his downstairs hallway. "I had to get whatever I wanted to do right so the next time I went into dance class or into rehearsal for a show, I knew what I w…

Large-scale portraits of more than two dozen black civil rights leaders and community figures from Western New York and beyond will soon greet visitors to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. Buffalo artist Chuck Tingley, whose murals adorn public spaces and businesses throughout the region, will create 29 portraits in his trademark illustrative s…

"Marshall," the Buffalo-bred movie about the first black Supreme Court Justice, will open nationwide in theaters on Oct. 13, according to a release from distributor Open Road Films. The film, which focuses on a pivotal case early in the career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, was partially filmed in Buffalo last summer. Crews transformed the Central Term…

In the most enchanting number in "La La Land," Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make their way to a park bench overlooking the lights of Los Angeles. When they arrive at the appointed spot, the pair looks out at the scene of shimmering technicolor beauty and immediately dismiss it with a pair of Millennial sneers. "Not much to look at," Gosling says. Stone replies that…

O'Connell and Company knows itself and knows its audience. The small but energetic company excels at cheeky and romantic fare designed to appeal to the sensibilities of its core audience of suburban women and exploit the considerable talents of founder Mary Kate O'Connell. Out of that mission has emerged the company's enjoyable if unpolished production of "It Should…

Buffalo is throwing Frank Lloyd Wright a birthday party for the ages. Starting on June 8, the 150th anniversary of Wright's birth, the newly formed Buffalo Arts & Crafts Alliance will launch a four-month celebration of Wright's work and Buffalo's undersung role in the Arts & Crafts Movement. The festival, which will feature exhibitions and events in the Bur…

Western New Yorkers know about cross-cultural conflict. In a region of immigrants -- from the waves of Italian, Irish, German and Polish people who came here in the 21st century to the current influx of refugees from war-torn regions in Africa and Asia -- traditions are bound to be challenged. That's what happens in "Fiddler on the Roof," recently produced by a choi…

In 2011, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery blacked out the windows of its expansive sculpture court to make the space as dark as a movie theater. At the western side of the space, three video screens showed vibrant images of boats bobbing in the harbor of Palermo, in Sicily. The 2007 piece, called "Western Union: Small Boats" and now in the Albright-Knox collection, was th…