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Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," 85 years old this year, long ago transitioned from being a contemporary hit to joining the realm of theatrical standards. Thankfully, though the plot is as creaky as a pair of 85-year-old knees, in the right hands the music, energy and shameless humor of the show can remain fresh, even in their familiarity. And fresh it is in the curren…

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It’s hard to know what to do with “Baby” in 2019. The 1983 comedy, with music by Buffalo boy David Shire, is very much set in its era, and does not age well as a piece of cultural commentary. It espouses the idea that babymaking is something only straight white couples do, or want. It also presents a picture of childbirth, in its brief climactic finale – let’s forgo spo…

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Seldom have story and score diverged more dramatically than in Lionel Bart's "Oliver!" Out of the Dickensian gloom conjured by designer David Dwyer on the stage of the Lancaster Opera House for this straight-ahead production directed by David Bondrow, the plaintive voices of a young cast eke out the first lines of "Food, Glorious Food." For a brief moment, the story and…

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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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It never gets any easier to watch, to absorb the horrifying reality depicted in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Anne’s story, and felt both worry and awe. Each time, it rattles a nervous bone, and by lights down, it strengthens my spine a little more. And yet, the fear of redundancy, of complacency or, worse, irrelevance lingers. So whe…

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Every year around Dec. 25, panic sets in. You've been too busy to enjoy Christmas. You fear the season has passed you by. Fear not, as the angel said. In fact, the season is doing nothing of the sort. Technically, Dec. 25 is the first day of Christmas. Not the twelfth day, as some mistakenly believe. "But I'm sick of Christmas!" you might wail. But if you face tho…

Somewhere on our planet – maybe beyond, who knows? – a production of Ken Ludwig’s run-amok farce, “Lend Me a Tenor” is in rehearsal or already up and running. The play has remained immensely popular since it bowed in London in 1986. It later moved to Broadway – where then New York Times drama critic Frank Rich dubbed it “painless fluff” – and walked off with a passel of a…

Somewhere on our planet – maybe beyond, who knows? – a production of Ken Ludwig’s run-amok farce, “Lend Me a Tenor” is in rehearsal or already up and running. The play has remained immensely popular since it bowed in London in 1986. It later moved to Broadway – where then New York Times drama critic Frank Rich dubbed it “painless fluff” – and walked off with a passel of a…

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If directing is 90 percent casting, as the adage goes, Doug Weyand’s production of Christopher Durang’s politely unhinged comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” clocks in at well over 100 percent.The Second Generation Theatre production, which opened Friday in the Lancaster Opera House, features one of the better comic ensembles to appear on an area stage in some tim…

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There’s much to be said for leaving the classics untouched.Why go to the trouble of creating a new spin on pumpkin pie, of experimenting with a new way to cook the turkey, of complicating grand old traditions with strange new bells and whistles?Just give us the old standards, and give them to us according to the old recipes, now tattered and yellowed and spattered with sau…

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In 1891, when Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky visited Niagara Falls, he had no idea what honor lay in store for him.As he rode the elevator to the foot of the falls, as he complained about the ugliness of the slicker he had to wear, he could not guess that years in the future – i.e., now – it would be “The Nutcracker” that would officially, every year, kick off Western New York’s…

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The Thursday Theater Roundup is a weekly list of current productions that received three or more stars from our reviewers. If you're daunted by all the options, check out the end of this post, where you'll find a quiz and flow chart designed to help you find the theater that best matches your interests. Here are this week's picks: "Doubt," through Sept. 26 in a Buffal…

Theater

After a summer hiatus, the Thursday Theater Roundup is back. In this weekly compendium, in an effort to help you plan your weekend, we'll present shows that received three or more stars from our reviewers. Here are this week's picks: "Speed of Light," through Oct. 4 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★ "Granny Bird," through Oct. 3 in Alleyway Theatre. Review: ★★★ "…

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By Matt ChandlerNEWS CONTRIBUTING REVIEWERTo call “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” a cult classic is no overstatement. It’s the type of film so iconic that even those who claim to have never seen the movie can recall King Arthur’s clomping “horse” and the ghoulish chant of “bring out your dead.”Adapted for the stage in 2005, the parody of a parody, “Spamalot” opened at Th…