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In the safe, cozy space of our new frigid reality, let’s get warm together, shall we? The 2003 holiday classic “Elf” is so, so funny. As Buddy, the full-size human raised in the North Pole by Santa and his tiny elves, Will Ferrell is boundless in his joy. He captures the innocence and optimism of youth with the erratic flair of a wacky man. It’s a little bit of “Big,” a…

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"West Side Story" sits high in the pantheon of musical theater, wearing its celebrated pedigree of Bernstein, Sondheim, Laurents and Robbins like a jeweled crown. When it deigns to return to earth and land on some intimate regional stage, there's always the risk that it will trip over the expectations woven into its long robes. Or, the mere mortals taking on the classic…

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For a century, legend had it that Oliver Street in North Tonawanda had more taverns per block, or mile, or some other measure, than any other place in the state or country. The claim has never been verified, but anyone who ever tried to go from one end of Oliver to the other by having a drink at every bar will attest that there were a lot of them. As Oliver's claim to p…

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No online dating algorithm ever would have put Aaron and Casey together. He's a straight-arrow investment guy who goes to work in a suit and spends most nights alone; she's a free-spirited artist and "serial dater" who gravitates toward the kind of bad boys that inevitably let her down. Fortunately for them (or not ....), friends and family see through their public prof…

Food and Drink

It's tough to over-emphasize the importance of "local." Supporting Buffalo businesses, events and people is absolutely crucial to the city's economy, well-being and growth. Like every week, local events are at the root of this list, with a chance to support farmers and other producers, artists, actors and restaurateurs all detailed below. Giving back to the community n…

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“Fun Home” is a glorious musical. Indeed, this exquisite show reminds us why musical theater exists. When the need for the characters to express themselves reaches the limits of speech, their thoughts and emotions overflow into song. And in this intriguing story, adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, also called “Fun Home,” speech fr…

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It will never be too soon to revive “Ragtime.” It’s a magnificent piece of theater, with a glorious score that still sounds transcendent more than 20 years after its debut. With a pageant of characters, and their wealth of perspectives on American life, the show’s hope for a more diverse future is as wide as the ocean. Yes, it is that epic. An impressive new producti…

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Step aside, Mr. Hamilton. There's another hot show playing in Buffalo this month, and those lucky enough to have their tickets better hang on to them. The world premiere of Tom Dudzick's "Christmas Over the Tavern" sold out its entire monthlong run at MusicalFare before the show even opened. For advance ticket buyers, it was a good bet, but not a sure one. Dudzick, Buff…

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Four days before opening night of “The Three Musketeers,” the most ambitious collaboration Buffalo theaters have produced in recent memory, the pressure is starting to seem real. Inside Shea’s 710 Theatre, Kenneth Shaw’s set gleams like a Renaissance jungle gym under the lighting design of Chris Cavanagh, who stands behind a control panel running through sound cues sugg…

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For all the jabs taken at musical theater—that it’s overwrought, laborious, self-indulgent—few laugh as earnestly at it as those who perform it. This makes the trip to “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” the spoof revue now at MusicalFare’s Premier Cabaret, all the more delicious. If you ever rolled your eyes at a dramatic interpretation, or felt your mouth agape, in …

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MusicalFare Theatre is looking for a new home but theatergoers are told not to worry – nothing is changing right now. "It won’t be changing our immediate future, but our long-range future," said MusicalFare Artistic Director Randall Kramer, who was recently told by Daemen College that it would not be renewing the theater's contract when it expires in 2025. "We are a …

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Two world premieres, two regional premieres plus three productions at Shea’s 710 Theatre, including a major collaboration with four theater companies, fill the 29th anniversary season of MusicalFare Theatre. The following five shows are part of MusicalFare’s subscription series presented on the Mainstage at Daemen College (4380 Main St.). Musical direction is by Theresa…

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The popularity of “Murder for Two” doesn’t really hinge on the murder. With this show, it’s all about the execution. That is, how well can a theater company pull off the manic antics of Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian’s smart musical homage that marries “Masterpiece Mystery” to the Marx Brothers? Well, in its summer production, MusicalFare kills it. The show require…

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What nonsense. What total, delightful, ridiculous nonsense! "Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery," a romp of a rewrite of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous detective stories, is bouncing around Shea's 710 Theatre this weekend and next in a production designed to knock off any lingering gloom from the overly long winter season. "Baskervill…

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A regular reader of my columns probably realizes I was predisposed to love "Rise," the new NBC high school musical drama series that premieres at 10 p.m. March 13 after the season finale of "This Is Us." "Rise" is created by Jason Katims, the writer and showrunner of two of my all-time favorite series that dealt with complicated family relationships, "Friday Night Light…