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I guess if you’re going to take a cult classic, a movie beloved the world over, and pull it apart at the seams, stuff it with padding, and sell it back to us – well, this is how you do it. “Mean Girls” is as perfect of a comedy as contemporary hits come. Though the Tina Fey-penned movie that helped make Lindsay Lohan a global superstar is now 15 years old and frankly, s…

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The Urban Bush Women, a Brooklyn dance company, will present one public performance at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts drama theater on the UB North Campus. "Walking with 'Trane" is inspired by the late great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Local pianist, educator and composer George Caldwell is co-composer of the work and will acco…

Food and Drink

Buffalo has some frivolous events, and there's nothing inherently wrong with them. But when there's a chance to have a good time and support something that matters - such as feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless or encouraging more Buffalonians to register as organ donors - the benefit extends beyond your own enjoyment. When local fundraisers are run well, …

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Musical revues can be tedious. When they force the esteemed catalog of a performer, songwriter, history or culture through an unnecessary dramatic construct, and pretend like it isn’t an infomercial. It’s the same eye-rolling we give to award show presenters. Can’t we all agree to skim the fat and get to the point? Why not produce a concert or cabaret instead, I always won…

Oh, Izzy. I thought I knew you, Izzy. We were supposed to meet at the New Phoenix, where "Izzy," the musical revue of your heretofore-unknown life as a Buffalo songwriter, entertainingly played, told through your discovered trunk songs. Your vaudeville-barroom standards, funny and sentimental in one breath, encapsulated around the idea that you should have been Buffalo’…

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Oh, what a mouth on that girl Jazmine! Her boyfriend Omari is the one in trouble -- he's the one who shoved his teacher and might be expelled, or worse -- but Jazmine is the one dropping f-bombs and going crazy. It's a great scene, coming early in Dominique Morisseau's eloquent humanizing of the school-to-prison pipeline. Frankly, "Pipeline," now playing in the new Ujim…

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The title of John Ford’s “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore” is still shocking.  Published in 1633, this is one of the great decadent dramas written during the chaotic reign of Charles I in the years leading up to the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, the closing of the theaters and all that mess. Now on stage at the Irish Classical Theatre Company, in a production directed by …

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For many people, their religious upbringing will always be a crucial part of who they are—no matter how religious they may be. And while religion sometimes brings people together, it can also tear them apart. Heather Fangsrud’s “Knock Knock, Jesus Calling” explores how one gay woman’s story is shaped by having grown up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Written by Fangrsud, direct…

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There are three tall chairs in this room, and that’s a problem, because there are five people. That’s four Broadway producers and one interviewer. Who’s getting a seat? Who’s crouching in a corner? Who’s cool? Who’s not? Who’s in? Who’s out?  This is like trying to find the right seat in high school cafeteria. Who can you sit with? Where do you belong? Awkward.…

Buffalo

Now 30 years old, Mike Breen grew up in West Seneca. He can hardly remember a day in his life when he didn’t see the faces of Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Steve Barnes on some kind of commercial or advertisement for their personal injury law firm. “For as long as I can remember, the two of them have been a part of the landscape of my life,” Breen told The Buffalo News. So…

Festivals

Borderland has set its standards high, even though the East Aurora-based music and arts festival enters just its second year. The idyllic setting of Knox Farm was a powerful memory from 2018, while The News' Jeff Miers was complimentary of the roots and Americana-focused lineup that created a "chilled out, mini-Woodstock feel." How could Borderland possibly top that deb…

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Playwright Neil Simon is feeling the love in Western New York this season with two of his comic classics being presented on local stages. "Rumors" is now on stage at the Lancaster Opera House and on Sept. 20 "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" will debut in Lockport at the Kenan Center's Taylor Theater. The Carriage House Players will present six performances of Simon's pop…

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If you’ll indulge me: I have a fondness for Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” his only farce. The 1988 play skewers a group of elite New York City revelers hanging onto the tail end of that indulgent decade, with gleeful mocking of their shrill entitlement and tastelessness. It’s fun. My affection for this play goes back 20 years when I acted in a high school production of it. I p…

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The best thing about seeing a brand new play is the pleasure of discovery — finding out who the characters are, why they are together  and what is going to happen to them. In Alleyway's season opener, "Navigators," playwright Gordon Farrell charts that journey with an expert hand, and the payoff is a treat. Set on a New England lake, the action begins in a boathouse, wh…

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Think of the funniest gay man you know. It has to be a gay man for this exercise. He can be any age or live any kind of way. But he has to be naturally, easily, effortlessly hilarious. He can tell a story with divergent anecdotes, he can land a structured punch line, he can buoy pain with charming, reassuring wit. He uses his humor to make laughs, but also to prove points.…