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July 28, 1935 – Jan. 23, 2020 Mary Loftus was an indomitable Buffalo actor whose reputation for stellar performances of complex characters earned her critical acclaim regionally. Loftus died in hospice care Thursday after a short illness. She was 84. Born and raised in Buffalo, Ms. Loftus graced the local theater scene in acting roles that spanned roughly 30 years…

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Sometimes we don’t appreciate how good something is until it’s gone. It’s especially troubling when that missing something is a wonderful, caring teacher who brings us both joy and wisdom. “Miss Nelson Is Missing,” presented by the Theatre of Youth, shows the dangers of failing to appreciate how good we have it. Marvelously directed by Meg Quinn, this production offers …

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The Sisters of Mount St. Helen's have a bit of a problem. The health inspector is coming, and there are four recently departed nuns stashed in the freezer. If they can’t scrape together enough cash to bury the bodies, their little convent will be shut down for good. Bob Dylan didn’t consider this bind when he sang “You don’t count the dead with God on your side.” That l…

First impressions are key to a good murder-mystery. The payoff might be in the whodunit’s big reveal – identifying the murderer in a room of perceivably ordinary, quirky people – but the fun is in the setup. In this game of wits, there’s no better referee than Agatha Christie. There’s a reason Christie’s “The Mousetrap” is still playing on London’s West End, 67 years af…

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If Subversive Theatre Collective felt obligated to provide comprehensive trigger warnings to the audience for "Mercury Fur," its programs would have the heft of a paperback copy of Stephen King's "The Stand" (1,141 pages for the one in my bookcase). So, going for the Reader's Digest version of things most likely to offend in playwright Philip Ridley's dystopian horror stor…

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The kids in Room 207 get a comically sharp lesson in "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" when "Miss Nelson Is Missing" comes to the Allendale Theatre starting Jan. 25. The latest production from Theatre of Youth will strike notes of recognition in everyone, whether or not they have read (and who hasn't?) the popular books by Harry Allard that inspired the play.…

Art

Entertainment is a personal, subjective experience that varies to an unbelievable extent. The "Gladiator" quote, "Are you not entertained?" is actually far deeper than what Russell Crowe likely intended. As the week warms up, so does the range of events, with a short run of Disney On Ice and a rare stained glass event leading the way into the busiest weekend of the year…

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While enjoying "The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women," I couldn't help wondering if the Brazen-Faced Varlets ever considered naming their own company the Emma Goldman Theatre Brigade — the fictional theater troupe in Carolyn Gage's riotous reimagining of the fate of Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. In other words, this play is a natural for the Varlets —and t…

Theater

During periods of loss — those first few days, weeks, months —  reality can be so painful that our minds, bodies and spirits sometimes betray us, playing tricks to escape what we don't want to know. Like, waking up wondering if it was all a dream. Crying when a small moment triggers a memory. Returning over and over to places of comfort and safety. Those are the places …

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Marriage is often the key to a Shakespeare comedy. No matter how wild and complicated the play’s twists and turns might be, it always veers towards a happy wedding (or three). At Kleinhans Music Hall, we see another kind of marriage: a perfect matrimony of theater and music, as Irish Classical Theatre and the Buffalo Philharmonic jointly stage a magical “Midsummer Night…

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Who was Jack the Ripper, the 19th-century killer of prostitutes in London's slummy East End? Depending on who you ask, he was a local vagrant with an insatiable blood-lust. Or perhaps a well-to-do surgeon testing his knife skills. Or even, dear me, a disgruntled actor, resigned to rehearsing his violence in the streets. Critics beware. The identity of the killer, and hi…

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Annie Baker’s 2017 play, “The Antipodes,” now at Road Less Traveled Theater, takes us into a corporate writers’ room where six authors are in search of a story. Leading this group is Sandy, a narcissistic story guru who arrogantly lords his power over the team as he challenges each member to tell a succession of true-life narratives: their “first time,” “the worst thing…

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“When you bring someone new into the room, you get an entirely new perspective,” observed Scott Behrend, artistic director of Road Less Traveled Productions. Behrend is directing the regional premiere of Annie Baker’s play, “The Antipodes,” with Buffalo native and Broadway actor Sean Cullen, this year’s Road Less Traveled American Theater Master, in a leading role. As B…

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Macaroni and cheese is a canvas for experimentation, a chance to adorn a classic comfort food with creative flavors from savory to spicy. The Mac Attack in 500 Pearl is a wondrous chance to try some of the area's best interpretations; we previewed five that should whet your palate. Southwestern steak? Pizza Log-inspired? Sesame chicken? Check all those boxes. See wha…