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Before his death in 2005, playwright August Wilson completed the task of writing a cycle of 10 extraordinary plays about African American life, each representing a different decade of the 20th century. "King Hedley II," which is set in 1985, is the longest of these, among the most heavily symbolic, and possibly the most difficult to perform, as it rhythmically alternate…

Music

Call him Mr. Christmas. Lots of people do. We speak, of course, of the man in red himself -- John Morris Russell, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's principal pops conductor. The word is out that Russell collects Christmas music, that he has tons of it, mostly on vinyl. This passion shows in his work. In 2015, his first Holiday Pops concert with our orchestra charmed …

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An electric moment in the thick of the civil rights movement came crackling to life Friday night in the African American Cultural Center’s Paul Robeson Theatre, where Will Power’s play “Fetch Clay, Make Man” is now running in a smart production directed by Laverne Clay. The show, which adds several layers of historical fiction to the relationship between the great boxer a…

“The truth will set you free but first it will tick you off.” In “Burying the Bones,” a post-apartheid play by M.E.H. Lewis, the current offering at the Paul Robeson Theatre, the pretty, stormy but naïve Mae Mxenges finds that contemporary wisdom very apt. Seeking her husband, missing for two years, one of hundreds of thousands of  black citizens to lose their lives in So…

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The premise of the Paul Robeson Theatre’s world premiere of “Shake Em On Down: A Blues Opera,” the work of an anonymous playwright who goes by the pen name of R. Skye Kamiyo, is instantly charming and disarming. Two men and a woman hold court in a nondescript bar, carrying on like old friends. The sage leader of the pack, played by director Mary Craig, opens a letter from…

Gusto

Getzville's Jewish Repertory Theatre and the Paul Robeson Theatre at Buffalo's African American Cultural Center each received a 2014 50/50 Applause Award from the International Centre for Women Playwrights, the organization announced this week. The award went to 67 theaters throughout the United States around the world whose recent seasons featured plays by female writers…

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This year’s Pine Grill Reunion jazz concert will feature an appearance by organ kingpin Dr. Lonnie Smith, the African-American Cultural Center has told The News. The annual festival, which takes place Aug. 3 and 10 in Martin Luther King Park, traditionally focuses on gutbucket jazz centered on the sound of the Hammond B3. It is a tribute to the old Pine Grill, a long-gone…