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The annual Shea's Black-Tie Gala began with a cocktail hour in Shea's Buffalo Theatre before moving to the stage to enjoy dinner- the pinnacle of the evening was a special production held in Shea's 710 Theatre, on Friday, April 20, 2018.

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It's one of the great artistic paradoxes that artificial limits and formulas encourage creativity. It's why some writers who fail at novels succeed with short stories, or poets who flounder with free verse shine when their language is compacted into quatrains. The principle is at play with the 27th annual version of "Buffalo Quickies," a compilation of pint-sized plays …

Our personal identities and brands are often mistaken as portraits, preserved snapshots of a single moment, but in application they are much more like a composite. As Jews, we like to marinate in our histories, to reconcile and reconstitute our past selves. This can be a blessing and a curse. In Donald Margulies’ “Sight Unseen,” now onstage at Jewish Repertory Theatre, …

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Some plays burn bright for a few important moments and quickly fall out of fashion. Such was the case with "The Awful Truth," Arthur Richman's post-Victorian comedy that ran on Broadway in 1922, inspired a 1937 film starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant and then was never heard from again. That is, until the Metropolitan Playhouse produced a version of it in 2015. Some…

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Theater people have opinions on "The Phantom of the Opera." They are not shy about sharing them. Few musicals in the history of the form have produced such polarized reactions from musical-lovers, whose takes on the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber classic tend to fall into one of two camps: "BEST SHOW EVER" or "CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY." As "Phantom" makes its way to Buffa…

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"Shen Yun," the Chinese dance spectacle that has been blanketing Western New York businesses and homes with promotional material for the past few months, is returning to Shea's Performing Arts Center on May 9 and 10. Those interested in attending should note both the required dress code -- "business attire or evening wear" -- and the price points, which range from $83 t…

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In 16 years together at WGRZ, co-anchors Maryalice Demler and Scott Levin have developed more than a bit of chemistry. So it came as no surprise that when they took to the stage of the Ellicott Creek Playhouse Saturday night to appear in a fundraising performance of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters," they inhabited their roles as effortlessly as if they were reading the even…

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Great theater isn't about big budgets. It isn't about Broadway-level belters, opulent sets or triple-threats. It certainly isn't about $150 ticket prices. And it never has been. What constitutes great theater, on Buffalo's diverse and remarkable scene, is a fierce commitment to getting it right, the smart deployment of talent and enough time to properly rehearse so t…

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Some stories seem inextricable from the eras in which they were written. The cast and creative team of the Lancaster Opera House's production of "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd" did their best to thrust this fusty period piece into the present. But despite its clever contemporary framing and fine performances, the anachronistic tone and heavy-handed…

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In 2007, Drew Piatek was comfortably ensconced in the theater department of the University at Buffalo. He and his fellow students had developed close a camaraderie that seemed unshakable, often spending long days and nights together as they learned the craft of acting and directing. Then, in April of that year, an armed student walked onto the campus of the Virginia …

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There is a kind of sacred, church-like feeling to Buffalo's post-industrial landscape that you can't quite grasp until you walk into it. Buffalo photographer Bruce Jackson, not unreasonably, has compared the city's grain elevators to the great cathedrals of Europe. Artists of every discipline have been inspired by these concrete buildings and rusting warehouses to write…

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They do! They do! That’s the delightful Mary Coppola Gjurich and Gregory Gjurich, who tirelessly, and not effortlessly, work their butts off at O’Connell and Company right now in the 1966 musical “I Do! I Do!” Oh, how they do. They play a charming couple experiencing the highs and lows of a marriage, as told around the gathering totem pole of their four-poster bed…

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1) Thawfest, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 7 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Tickets are $39 in advance here, $59 for VIP, which includes entry an hour before everyone else, plus rare beers and a selection of finger foods. Commentary: An impressive list of breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries will be represented in sprawling RiverWorks. Rochester's Iron Smok…

Art

Three nationally known actors will appear at an April 14 gala to benefit the Global Concepts Charter School in Lackawanna. The school, dedicated to arts, music and entertainment, will honor actors Stephen McKinley Henderson and Keith David at the event, which will also feature musical and theatrical entertainment provided by students. Lackawanna-born actor Ruben Santiag…

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"School of Rock," the latest musical-from-a-movie to arrive at Shea's Performing Arts Center, is a jamming celebration of the fact that girls (and boys) just want to have fun -- even the kids at one of the country's most exclusive fictional private schools. So, when a substitute teacher arrives with no lesson plans, and really no plans at all beyond his dream of being a…