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Playwright Tania Wisbar was born into crisis in 1937 Berlin. "The Red Dress," her chilling if overwrought play about the Nazi party's insidious rise to power, is her attempt to process that crisis into a crucial lesson about how fanaticism takes hold. The play, produced by Hollywood producer Jonathan Sanger, opened May 31 in the New Phoenix Theatre, where it runs thr…

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Tania Wisbar knows from experience how fascism takes root. She understands how it spreads its tendrils slowly into every corner of a vulnerable society. And she has a dire warning for area theatergoers, packaged in a play called "The Red Dress": It can happen here, too. Born in Berlin in 1937, Wisbar was the product of an unlikely relationship between her mother, …

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You need to hear "La Lupe." And because grainy YouTube clips and forays into the mostly forgotten catalogue of this irrepressible Cuban singer can only prove so rewarding, the best way to do that is to get to Manny Fried Playhouse sometime before June 10. There you'll find the similarly irrepressible Melinda Capeles channeling the rasping, cackling, impossibly energe…

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"Mean Girls," a musical based on the popular 2004 comedy film, will launch its national tour at Shea's Performing Arts Center in late 2019. Tina Fey, who wrote the book for the musical, made the announcement in mid-May to a crowd gathered at the Broadway League's annual Spring Road Conference in New York City. "The 750 industry members in the room burst into applause…

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It was one of those confusing moments, when people try to figure out whether something is really going wrong, or if it’s part of the show. As it turned out, something was really going wrong. The performance of “The Rain Dogs Project” was just getting underway last Friday night at 44 17th St. when the lights came on. Matthew LaChiusa, founder of the American Repertory…

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Road Less Traveled Theatre is moving to one of the less traveled stretches of road in Buffalo. Just three years after decamping from its longtime home in the former Market Arcade Film and Arts Center for a cavernous space at 500 Pearl Street, the ambitious local theater company will spend the summer building a new home in a former shoe store on a carless block of Main S…

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"Stellaluna" by Theatre of Youth 2 p.m. at Allendale Theatre (203 Allen St.). It may not be every child’s fantasy to be raised by birds, but that’s the impressively bizarre premise of “Stellaluna,” the latest offering from Buffalo’s premiere children’s theater company. By an unfortunate sequence of events, the title character finds her way to a bird’s nest, where th…

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Depending on your disposition, there's something about the smell of a freshly cut outfield or the sound of a bat connecting with a fastball that either inspires awe or dread. The peculiar American institution known as Little League, with its daydreaming right-fielders, overbearing parents and temperamental coaches, comes in for a smart critique in Richard Dresser's char…

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What nonsense. What total, delightful, ridiculous nonsense! "Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery," a romp of a rewrite of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous detective stories, is bouncing around Shea's 710 Theatre this weekend and next in a production designed to knock off any lingering gloom from the overly long winter season. "Baskervill…

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Shen Yun, one of the most brazen pieces of religious propaganda currently touring North America, is back in town and stranger than ever. After yet another blitzkrieg marketing campaign complete with misleading commercials, posters in countless shop windows, print ads, billboards and door-hangers, the religious infomercial for the Chinese sect known as Falun Gong is runn…

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I fell in love with this show before it even started. Before artistic director Meg Quinn took to the apron of the Allendale Theatre stage to introduce “Stellaluna” to its audience of tiny people. Before the small, agile ensemble sang their first notes of Guus Ponsioen’s lush, harmonic score. Before we met Adam Kreutinger’s latest ingenious puppet creations, this t…

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In “Blackberry Daze,” the latest production in Paul Robeson Theatre’s 50th anniversary season, we find a theater company working at its very best levels. The show is confident, dense with talent, and well rehearsed for its run. With only minor flaws, it has a lot to be proud of. The musical is based on Ruth P. Watson’s novel “Blackberry Days of Summer,” one in a series…

Food and Drink

An Evening with Lou Barlow 7 to 10 p.m. at Thin Man Brewery (492 Elmwood Ave.). Tickets range from $28.45 for general admission to $107.62 for admission plus a dinner with Barlow and his dad. No joke. A rare opportunity to spend some quality up-close-and-personal time with an alternative rock legend, 'An Evening with Lou Barlow' will find the former Dinosaur, Jr. and S…

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It's fun to imagine what might have happened to Buffalo's psyche had the Bills prevailed in any of their heart-rending Super Bowl appearances. This notion is at the heart of a new play inspired by the fervent fans of the Bills that will debut in Shea's Smith Theatre on Aug. 29 and run through Sept. 8. The play, "Once in My Lifetime: A Buffalo Football Fantasy," was c…

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This is the first time I’ve mentioned this in a review, but it’s most relevant in the case of Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians,” the striking new satirical drama at Road Less Traveled Productions. It has to do with the performance you decide to attend. Every performance of live theater is unique, of course, and privy to a host of factors. I’m not speaking to this productio…