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Ted Hadley


It's the time of the year when strange is king.And so, in keeping with the spirit of the season -- the unexplained, the creepy, the bizarre, things that go bump at any time of the day or night -- Theatre of Youth (TOY) has opened its 32nd season with John Olive's adaptation of a Louis Sachar series of stories titled "Sideways Stories from Wayside School." TOY is so enamore…

REVIEW"Once on This Island"Rating: *** 1/2 Musical presented by Ujima Theatre Company.Continues Wednesdays through Sundays through Nov. 9 in TheaterLoft, 545 Elmwood Ave. 883-0380. On their way to Broadway fame with their collaboration on the mega-musical "Ragtime," librettist/lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty wrote a gentle, lilting and uplifting littl…

There are hundreds of adages and sayings that help people get through the day or a crisis.The phrase, not new, that I'd place at the top of the list: "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." Words to live by, thanks to Duke Ellington.That's swing as in swing music and the accompanying eclectic dances -- West Coast swing, Latin, jive, hints of hip-hop, various re…

Well, gosh durn if that granddaddy of American musicals, "Oklahoma!," doesn't hit the Big 6-0 this year.And to celebrate, Artpark has put together a sparkling revival of the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II classic, a genuine rouser with a lovely Miz Laurey, a brash Curly, a wise Aunt Eller, rough-and-tumble Okies and the "purtiest" gals this side of the panhandle."Okl…

I've always heard and read that George Bernard Shaw was a curmudgeon, a ranting and raving socialist, a card-carrying Fabian, an acid-tongued music critic in his younger days, a scold in his later years, whose personal anthem was, "All I ask is to have my own way in everything."So, it is with some surprise to learn from Jerome Kilty's play, "Dear Liar," a two-hour expose o…

You can take the boy out of Liverpool, but you can't take Liverpool out of the boy.That's not an original thought or very profound but apparently true in the case of British playwright Willy Russell -- a solid Liverpudlian, with an address there even after considerable fame has arrived.A former actor, musician, warehouseman, hairdresser and teacher, Russell is best known f…

Now, let me see if I have this right. Kate, a self-absorbed, often manic, pretty young thing on the prowl for a sugar daddy in and about the art galleries and posh parties of Manhattan, has set some guidelines for her husband search: He must be rich beyond measure, married but unhappy, older but not ancient.Ideally, Kate, or Kitty, as she prefers, would be married but divo…

Joseph Kesselring's black comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace," is 62 years old and for the most part shows its age.Still, on any given night, somewhere in the universe, the play is probably in production. High school drama clubs love it. Community players surely have an old "Arsenic" playbill in their archives. It's usually a sure draw. Why that is so is open to debate.The late…

The first thing I did after returning from a performance ofO'Connell & Co.'s newest production, a reprised musical about aging in America, was make a list to take to the nearest health store: multivitamins, ginkgo, ginseng, Geritol -- and probably anything else that has "Mature " on the label.The inspiration for the above is a 20-year-old musical -- a decent six-month run …

REVIEWWHAT: "Why Black Men Play Basketball"WHEN: Through April 13WHERE: Paul Robeson Theatre Company, African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave.TICKETS: $10 to $20INFO: 884-2013 "Why Black Men Play Basketball" by Brian Quenton Thorne first appeared as a staged reading two years ago at the National Black Theatre Festival. Among those impressed by the work was Paul…

REVIEWTuck EverlastingRating: *** 1/2 Stage adaption by Mark Frattaroli of Newbery Award-winning novel by Natalie Babbitt. Directed by Meg Quinn for Theatre of Youth; featuring Lia Bleichfeld, Mary McMahon, Philip Knoerzer, Guy Balotine and others.Performances continue at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 6 at the Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. For information, …

Twelve years ago, Robert Wat-erhouse, then artistic director for the Buffalo Ensemble Theatre, had a grand idea, and he named it "Hands Across the City.""Hands" was to be an outreach program for the black acting community normally plying its trade at places like the Robeson Theatre and Ujima Theatre Company. The rich talent pool at both of those theaters needed more exposu…

REVIEW"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"Rating: ***Musical based on the "Peanuts" comic strip.Book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. Music direction by Bret Runyon. Produced by Mary Kate O'Connell for O'Connell & Company.Through Saturday in Cabaret in the Square Theatre, 4476 Main St., Amherst. Happiness is a revival of the perennially happy little musical "You're a Go…

REVIEW"The Road to Bethlehem"Rating: ***Musical re-telling of the Christmas story. Adaptation, words, music and direction by Neal Radice.Featuring Stephanie Bax-Fontanella, Mark Skura, J.K. Hudson, Pamela Rose Mangus and Richard McDonald.Through Sunday in the the Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley. When Alleyway Theatre artistic director, house composer and all-around…

REVIEWA Christmas CarolRating: ***The Charles Dickens classic, adapted and directed by Neal Radice for the 20th time, featuring John Smeathers, Katy Clancy, Michael Mirand, David Sambora, Radice and others.Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., through Dec. 21, in the Forbes Theatre, 500 Pearl St.; 852-2600. $24 general admission, $10 students. Consider this description by Char…