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Colin Dabkowski

Colin Dabkowski is a digital editor for The Buffalo News. Before that, he was The News' arts critic, responsible for covering visual art and theater in Western New York.


For a theater that has been too often plagued by end-of-the-year financial blues, A.R. Gurney's Christmas play "Indian Blood" may be just the ticket to inject a little jollity into Studio Arena Theatre's holiday malaise.And contrary to the implications of the title, Studio Arena artistic director and CEO Kathleen Gaffney wants you to know, the play has almost nothing to do…

If the Guinness Book of Records had the gumption to hold an entry for "most times forced into exile," that title would undoubtedly belong to the family of Ariel Dorfman.The renowned Chilean-Argentinian playwright, poet, novelist and leftist academic comes to Buffalo for a reading at 8 tonight, the second of four events in Just Buffalo Literary Center's "Babel" reading seri…

Just a handful of local theater companies have taken the bold and admirable move of producing an untested musical by a local writer.Now, we can be glad that Paul Robeson Theatre is tossing its hat into the local musical theater ring with "Nakai and the Red Shoes," a delightful children's story for the stage by William Y. Cooper, replete with irresistible Afro-Caribbean rhy…

Dr. Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, an unassuming man of 84, is perhaps the closest thing to a walking oracle Buffalo's art world has seen since Seymour H. Knox.Like Knox, the pre-eminent benefactor of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery who assembled much of the gallery's famous modernist collection, Count Panza, along with his wife Giovanna, have made a staggering number of prescient…

Adults will go to superhuman lengths to bury their memories. But children will often spend just as much effort digging them up.That tug of war of memory sits at the heart of Diane Samuels' "Kindertransport," mounted by the Jewish Repertory Theatre in its first Western New York production. And JRT's touch, embodied by Saul Elikin's pitch-perfect direction and anchored by an…

TORONTO -- In its highly anticipated stage version, "Dirty Dancing" probably won't be the time of your life. Depending on the circumstances, it might not even be the time of your weekend.The show, which had its humble beginnings in Australia in 2004 and later became a smash hit in London, launched its first North American production at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre on …

Back when Buffalo was a multinewspaper town, during the Great Depression and between the two world wars, William E. West was sketching.He'd grab issues of The Buffalo Evening News, the Courier-Express and the Buffalo Times and set to copying panels of "Tarzan," "Tailspin Tommy" and "Buzz Taylor." As an only child growing up in the Main and Utica streets apartment building …

Nearly a year after midseason financial problems put Studio Arena Theatre in jeopardy, the region's premier theater has again found itself in dire straits.After ticket sales for the first two shows of Studio Arena's 2007-08 season came in far below projections, the theater came to the brink of insolvency.Two weeks ago, in the face of an unthinkable closure, an emergency fu…

Legend has it that George Frideric Handel completed his masterwork "Messiah" in less than a month. And seldom has such a concentrated burst of creativity been spread so far across time or repeated as often as Handel's famous oratorio.Performed by choruses and orchestras large and small, from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to your neighborhood church basement, the piece is acc…

The instant Sam Hemphill walked onto the stage in the Buffalo State College production of "Antigone," a hush swept over the audience of jittery college students.Hemphill, a junior acting major at Buffalo State, soon launched into the Greek tragedy's pivotal speech, a forceful condemnation of the tyrannical ruler Creon. In the role of the blind prophet Teiresias, Hemphill f…

There's a great wide world of dance out there, and this week, by some divine coincidence, it's all converging on Western New York.In four separate internationally flavored dance events, the influence of far-flung cultures will be evident in the movements of dancers from local and foreign troupes and on stages large and small."It's almost like a little multicultural danc…

When Nicholas Cocchetto played the lead role of Robert in Niagara University's production of "Company" earlier this month, he got so into his character that it terrified him.It reaches this scary moment where you're wondering -- 'Where is the line, where is my boundary' " said Cocchetto, a senior musical theatre major. "How do you push beyond the scary part, because you kn…

It has lately become popular to describe aspects of our society -- especially its legal system -- as "Kafkaesque."The term came up during the labyrinthine response to Hurricane Katrina and has aptly been used to describe the bleak situations of wrongfully convicted individuals like Anthony Capozzi and beleaguered artists like Buffalo's Steve Kurtz.Martin McDonagh's brillia…

There comes a point in any journey of faith -- in religion, government, humanity -- that one questions the very worth of the concept.This journey, perhaps the world's oldest, takes gorgeously rendered musical form in Leonard Bernstein's "Mass," commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy to commemorate her husband's death and first performed in 1971. On Friday night, the ambitious …

When Leonard Bernstein's epic production of "Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers" was about to open at Washington's new John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1971, President Richard Nixon sent agents to report back to him on the subversive nature of the play."Nixon refused to go to the premiere, but he sent his staff to the rehearsals and the…