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Betsy Carmichael was born out of crisis. In 2015, as O'Connell and Company prepared to stage "The Queen of Bingo," they received a cease-and-desist letter from the show's authors, who objected to the fact the company planned to cast two men in roles meant to be played by women. On the fly, instead of canceling the show, Buffalo performer and writer Joey Bucheker got …

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For most young men growing up in Brooklyn, going out for a beer with friends is an activity as natural as breathing. But the first beer Afrim Gjonbalaj drank in public, as an observant young Muslim testing the boundaries of his faith, caused a miniature crisis of conscience. The 35-year-old actor, who stars in Road Less Traveled Theatre's production of Ayak Akhtar's …

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Regret is a recurring character in the work of Irish playwright Conor McPherson, a favorite of the Irish Classical Theatre Company and its audiences. McPherson’s dark and somewhat mystical work returns to the Andrews Theatre stage on March 2, when the company opens a production of his 2013 play “The Night Alive.” (It last produced a play of McPherson’s, the devastating …

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The Pazinskis are back. And this time they're singing. Tom Dudzick's "Christmas Over the Tavern," a holiday musical featuring the beloved clan of working-class Catholics from the playwright's popular "Over the Tavern" series, is set for MusicalFare Theatre's 2018-19 season. "For years I've had this idea to do a Christmas story with these guys, with the Pazinskis," Du…

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ROCHESTER – On a frigid night in late January, Edward Joseph Mahoney straggled into a high school gym on the outskirts of this Rust Belt city to take a look at his own life. The rock star, looking slightly bedraggled in jeans and a black hoodie bearing his stage name, settled into a folding chair beneath the basketball net. He nervously tucked his Big Mac under his seat…

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In 1964, Bruce Jackson took a tape recorder to Texas and rescued a dying piece of history. The University at Buffalo professor's 1965 album, "Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons," features spirituals, work songs, poetry and scripture sung by inmates toiling in the state's agricultural prison farms. Many of the songs and styles Jackson preserved, carried on slave …

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Sara Bareilles is halfway between happy and exhausted. In a phone interview from New York City, where she recently returned to lead role in the Broadway hit "Waitress," the California-bred composer, lyricist and pop artist bluntly described what it was like to be back performing her own music and lyrics eight times a week. "I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck t…

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There's a comforting American theory that all problems can be solved through pie. While this theory has problems, it certainly works that way for Jenna Hunterson, the main character of Adrienne Shelly's 2007 film "Waitress" and its 2016 Broadway adaptation. Her life isn't going the way she planned. But through her love for the ultimate comfort food, and her skill in cre…

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Fredonia-based actor Christina Rausa has a knack for taking on strong women. It doesn't hurt, of course, that she is one. In 1993, it was the iron-willed Hedda Gabler. In 2008, it was Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier. And now, for the second time in a decade, it's a fictional Holocaust survivor whose deep intelligence and inner strength led her from a Russian shtet…

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Subversive Theatre and the New Phoenix are teaming up again, another in a nearly decade-long collaboration on plays centered around injustice. The pairing’s previous outings include such political tales as “Waiting for Lefty,” “Inherit the Wind” and “On the Waterfront.” Add to that a new production of Abby Mann’s “Judgment at Nuremberg,” adapted from the famous 1961 film …

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Among ’80s hits seemingly ripe for stage adaptations, few would seem to fit the bill better than “Dirty Dancing,” the endlessly quotable and quintessentially American take on teenage longing in the age of Reagan. Think of the possibilities: the period choreography; the simmering sexual tension; the jean shorts. And think of the tantalizing theatrical challenges, such as h…

Featured

Among ’80s hits seemingly ripe for stage adaptations, few would seem to fit the bill better than “Dirty Dancing,” the endlessly quotable and quintessentially American take on teenage longing in the age of Reagan. Think of the possibilities: the period choreography; the simmering sexual tension; the jean shorts. And think of the tantalizing theatrical challenges, such as h…

Theater

One of the quintessential musicals of the 1960s and most revived shows of all-time is getting a new production in MusicalFare Theatre, where director Chris Kelly’s take on “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” will open April 13. The show, with a witty score by Frank Loesser and a critically lauded book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, is ba…

Theater

One of the quintessential musicals of the 1960s and most revived shows of all-time is getting a new production in MusicalFare Theatre, where director Chris Kelly’s take on “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” will open April 13. The show, with a witty score by Frank Loesser and a critically lauded book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, is ba…

Featured

The math is impressive: since 1992, Alleyway Theatre’s “Buffalo Quickies” festival has been responsible for 197 one-act plays, including 119 world premieres and 67 regional premieres. Festival coordinator Joyce Stilson directed 149 of those plays, which have featured 136 actors performing in 521 roles. The annual festival is a springtime rite of passage in the theater com…