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Amherst

If ever a show and director seemed custom tailored for one another, they are the Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein musical “La Cage aux Folles” and the multitalented Buffalo director Chris Kelly.The musical was an audience favorite when it opened on Broadway in 1983, dragging drag into the public spotlight and bringing a happily sitcom-esque storyline along with it. Kelly,…

Amherst

It’s been clear for some time that Western New York is in the midst of a golden age of theatrical variety.No one can predict how long this era of seemingly endless options will last or how many new theater companies will join the pack before we arrive at critical mass. The only thing to do now is to gaze out with admiration at the constantly changing landscape and apprecia…

Buffalo

Jaws will drop a little lower the next time visitors step into Shea’s Performing Arts Center.As workers started Monday to dismantle the 65-foot-high mountain of metal scaffolding at the front of the ornate theater, the scrubbed, painted and better-lit proscenium arch, together with the ceiling and high walls near the stage, began to reveal a movie-palace grandeur that had …

Amherst

In 1983, Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s musical “La Cage aux Folles” became a surprise hit when it opened on Broadway. The show, which critic Frank Rich called “the first Broadway musical ever to give center stage to a homosexual love affair,” emerged at a time when the American public was beginning to shed its entrenched prejudices against gay men and drag. And thoug…

Art

Seven years ago, SUNY Buffalo State theater professor Drew Kahn made a commitment to honor the memory of Anne Frank, the young Holocaust victim whose diary has become one of the defining documents of the 20th century.Three years later, Kahn launched the inaugural version of the Anne Frank Project, a modest attempt to bring his students face-to-face with history in a way th…

Theater

STRATFORD, Ont. – Two historically controversial plays by William Shakespeare have opened, late-summer additions to an already acclaimed first season for Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino. “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice,” both riveting and repellent, continue until mid-October. A brief look at the festival’s final two 2013 offerings:A fast-moving ‘Othello…

Featured

Western New York’s theater scene is continuing its unabated growth this fall, as some two dozen theater companies prepare to launch ambitious seasons over the next two weeks.The highlight of the fall theater season is, of course, the annual Curtain Up! celebration. The event, slated for Sept. 20, will feature an impossibly diverse array of productions to choose from and en…

Featured

Hardly anyone has been known to rejoice at the end of summer around here. Even skiers still have at least several weeks to wait before they can hit the slopes again.But rather than dwell on the annual end of warm days and the start of raking season, Buffalo News critics are looking forward to what will happen – or at least what they want to see happen – between now and nex…

Featured

If you blinked this weekend, you would have missed it: two performances only, in an obscure First Ward park, involving dance and water and boats, no less, beneath clouds that rumbled and thundered with their own discontent – emporal, accidental theater.None of it made sense on paper, and yet it was what it had to be, defiantly and beautifully. David Butler’s “Grain Dances,…

Buffalo

On the evening of Sept. 22, Buffalo United Artists Theatre will welcome its final audience.The theater company and its fellow tenants in the Delaware Court Building have been told they must leave the building by the end of September, according to BUA founder and artistic director Javier Bustillos. Under tentative plans released Wednesday, Uniland Development, which bought …

Art

Street performers from around the world will descend on a stretch of asphalt in Niagara Falls, Ont., this weekend for the Niagara Falls Buskerfest, a weekend-long tribute to the ancient art of sidewalk entertainment. The festival, which features some 50 performers, kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday and runs through 9 p.m. Sunday in and around the city’s Queen Street Arts and Cult…

Art

Last September, during the Music is Art Festival in Delaware Park, dancers Nancy Hughes and Scott Slocum performed on boats floating in Hoyt Lake for spectators on the shore at the invitation of local artist David Butler. The improvised performance went over so well that the trio began planning a greatly expanded version of the piece, which will debut at 8 p.m. Saturday at…

With the official opening of the 2013-14 theater season just weeks away, several companies have firmed up their production schedules.The New Phoenix Theatre will open the season with the comedy “Venus in Fur” on Sept. 13, which runs through Oct. 5. Next up is “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” Paul Zindel’s Pulitzer-winning play about a dysfunctional …

Art

Street performers from around the world will descend on a stretch of asphalt in Niagara Falls, Ont., this weekend for the Niagara Falls Buskerfest, a weekend-long tribute to the ancient art of sidewalk entertainment. The festival, which features some 50 performers, kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday and runs through 9 p.m. Sunday in and around the city’s Queen Street Arts and Cult…

Lifestyles

Julie Harris wasn’t simply one of the great American actors of the 20th century. She represented to those in her profession a reverential ideal.Harris died Saturday at 87 at her home in Chatham, Mass., far away from Broadway. Yet Broadway will never forget her. She was both the embodiment and essence of theatrical excellence – flesh and spirit, as always with Harris’ actin…