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Act II of Buffalo's theater season hits its stride this week with so many shows opening it will be hard not to find one to love. Here's a look at what's opening this week by date. Alleyway Theatre For mystery and suspense, head down the alley – and we mean Alleyway Theatre. Regular Alleyway audiences will find something a little different on this visit. Starting with …

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The irresistible performance of Michele Marie Roberts is the primary reason to see the Kavinoky Theatre production of the “The Bridges of Madison County.” Down to the last ensemble member, this luxuriously romantic musical is populated with some of Buffalo’s best musical theater talent, but foremost among these is golden-throated Miss Roberts, who plays Francesca Johnso…

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To help set the mood for a production of "The Bridges of Madison County," Kavinoky Theatre director Loraine O'Donnell and the show's romantic leads, Steve Copps and Michelle Marie Benzin, journeyed to the great state of Iowa to caucus with those now-famous covered bridges. We can see how it all worked out starting Jan. 10, when the musical adaptation of Robert James Waller…

Buffalo

The Kavinoky Theatre has received a state grant to refurbish its intimate theater. The $145,000 from the Regional Economic Development Council will be used for a Broadway-style covered entryway, new theater seats and an updated projection system to enhance and expand productions. The Baroque-style, 259-seat theater is housed on the campus of D'Youville College under …

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Much of the area is taking the coming weekend off, but things will be rockin' out at the Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster). The Eagles tribute band Hotel California takes off at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3, playing the hits made famous by Henley, Frey & Co. Expect a polished performance. These guys have been playing as Eagles offspring since the mid-1980s, whe…

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Yes yes yes we know. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is cocooning for a couple of years so it can emerge as a bigger, even more dazzling butterfly. But that does not mean this is now a city without art. And winter is a wonderful time to enjoy what all the area's other galleries have to offer in climate-controlled comfort. Let's face it,  nobody controls climate as well as…

Buffalo

Melanie Vona is living proof that Neal Radice got it right. At 23, Melanie joined about a dozen relatives for Thursday’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Alleyway Theatre. Her parents, true believers in seeing that show each year, brought her for the first time when she toddled. “It’s magical,” said Melanie, equating it to downtown Buffalo at Christmas. For …

Festivals

The final weekend before Christmas is actually pretty calm in terms of events, likely because organizers understand how Buffalonians are occupied with last-minute preparations. This weekend's highlights are filled with holiday sentiment, featuring caroling, a family-friendly play at Shea's and a chance to support a local business that's fallen on unexpected hard times. …

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Several well-reviewed local theatrical productions are having their final performances this weekend. "Mr. Popper's Penguins," a puppet-filled musical from the classic children's book, finishes its run with shows at 1 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22 in the Allendale Theatre (203 Allen St.). Tickets for the show, recommended for ages 5 and older, start at $15, at theatreofyouth.org. …

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Plan on parking before you get to Main Street in East Aurora the evening of Dec. 21, because the entire stretch between Olean and Riley streets will be taken over by the village's 47th annual Carolcade from 7 to 8 p.m. Before and after, check out all the shops, not just the must-see Vidler's, and enjoy the caroling (song sheets provided) plus hot cocoa, doughnuts and Sa…

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Old ladies have sex, you know. Blanche Hollingsworth Devereaux taught us that. Even Rose, and when she gets around to it, so does Dorothy. But it was Sophia Petrillo, the Sicilian with a wicker handbag of sharp comebacks, that really educated the crowd at a recent performance of Alleyway Theatre’s “The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Holiday Edition.” This holiday editi…

Festivals

Neighborhoods, especially in developing cities, have life cycles. Difficult periods are often punctuated by moments of rebirth, with enduring progress followed by healthy stability before the cycle repeats. These phases are inexact, at times idealistic and narrative-driven, but the seasons are evident in Buffalo neighborhoods. Broadway-Fillmore, part of history-rich Pol…

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How many times have you seen "Les Misérables"? More than once? Not at all? What about five times, or 12? Or, I don't know, 27. It’s not too absurd a thought. “Les Mis” is the show that never dies. “One day more!” it pleads to us, over and over again, the French revolutionaries waving their inordinately large red flag in case we didn’t hear. It’s been a lot of days more …

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Christmas is the time for carolers and choral singers, and for proof we only have to look at the week ahead. The Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus appears in the last of its three "Evolution: You Are Peace" concerts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church (4369 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park). The chorus will be joined by members of the Chromatic Club of Buffal…

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When people say we should be careful what we wish for, they mean that we should consider the cost of our desire. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” is a story obsessed with how hard it is to pay for things. Happily, teamwork, determination and some show business pizzazz help a pair of Poppers bring their many penguins to their beloved Antarctica. Based on the novel by Richard and …