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Thursday Theater Roundup

 Here's this week's action-packed version of the Thursday Theater Roundup, which features our reviewers' recommendations for the coming week.

"Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," through April 3 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. From the review (coming Friday): "Blume's popular tale, first set down in her 1972 book, follows the travails of young Peter Warren Hatcher (James Robert Steiner), whose fourth-grade life is beset on all sides by the frustrating exploits of his toddling younger brother, known as Fudge. Peter's father (Kurt Guba) and mother (played affably by Loraine O'Donnell in her Theatre of Youth debut) lavish all sorts of attention on Fudge, much to the chagrin of well-behaved Peter, who is always called in to help with his brother's bouts of obstinacy." --Colin Dabkowski

American Repertory Theatre of Western New York's one-act showcase, through April 16 in Buffalo East. From the review (coming Saturday): "Sometimes, though, a night spent with new, short stage works can be serendipitous. It can happen. And, since Buffalo is new-play friendly, the surprise is not infrequent. A case in point is a trilogy of new one-acts at Matthew LaChiusa’s American Repertory Theater (ART), now at home in clunky but strangely comfortable surroundings at Buffalo East. The plays have diverse themes, seem remarkably complete and don’t suffer from the dreaded “work-in-progress” label." --Ted Hadley

"Inherit the Wind,"through April 16 in the New Phoenix Theatre. From the review: "The current political overtones of the play practically leap off the stage and smack us in the face, just as its historically literate authors intended. It’s obvious that the debates of 1925, 1955 and 2011 are stunningly similar to one another. But in its essence, this potentially cynical play is in fact wildly optimistic because it views social progress as inexorable." --Colin Dabkowski

"Over the Pub," through April 10 at Erie Community College in an O'Connell and Company production. From the review (coming tomorrow): "Ultimately, this Irish adaptation [of Tom Dudzick's 'Over the Tavern'] by Dolores Mannion wins out, it 'works,' it's almost as funny as its progenitor, and we learn to care once again for a troubled family: parents Pat and Ellen, teenagers Eddie and Annie -- both with hormones gone amok -- special-needs Mikey and 12-year-old Tommy, a precocious, television-addicted, rules-questioning catalyst who has a problem with his catholicity." --Ted Hadley

"Rock 'n' Roll," through April 3 in the Kavinoky Theatre. From the review: "With this 2006 play, Stoppard ('Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,' 'Arcadia,' 'Shakespeare in Love') reanimates that age-old conflict between the egalitarian ideals of Marxism and its horrendous track record in practice across the past century. His goal, reduced to a gross simplification, is to make a kind of radical argument about how little those arguments seem to matter in the face of the one universally positive transformative force of the 20th century: rock ’n’ roll." --Colin Dabkowski

"Next Fall," through April 2 in Buffalo United Artists Theatre. From the review: "'Next Fall,' a wise and uncommonly witty play by Geoffrey Nauffts that opened March 11 in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre, takes place at the perilous intersection of religion and sexuality. That place, across history, has been the site of more than a few fatal collisions. But in this show, all the common assumptions about who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s innocent and who’s to blame have been tossed out the window." --Colin Dabkowski

Ujima play

Peter Johnson stars as Zooman in "Zooman and the Sign" at TheaterLoft. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

"Zooman and the Sign," extended through April 3 in TheaterLoft, a co-production of Ujima Theatre, Alemaedae Theatre Productions and Xavier Films. From the review: "This production, directed  by Willie Judson, is powered mostly by the simmering intensity of Peter Johnson, who plays Zooman with a spine-chilling mix of menace and manufactured confidence, so clearly born of insecurity. It is as much because of Johnson's performance as Fuller's dialogue that we see Zooman both as a conduit for certain ugly truths about urban violence and as a cold-hearted product of that violence himself." --Colin Dabkowski

Big Time Rush to the Fair

Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush heads to the Erie County Fair this summer with a performance on Aug. 10 at the Grandstand in Hamburg.

Tickets are $20-$35 and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 15 through the Fairgrounds Event Center box office, online at or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, visit










Williamsville North grad earns props on Broadway

Theater Review The Dream of the Burning Boy
Former Western New Yorker Reed Birney, second from right, appears with his fellow cast members in the Broadway production of "The Dream of the Burning Boy." AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Joan Marcus

Reed Birney, a 1972 graduate of Williamsville North, got a glowing review from the New York Times' Charles Isherwood last week for the latest in a string of lauded appearances on Broadway. In his review of "The Dream of the Burning Boy," Isherwood calls Birney "New York’s foremost actor in a particular subspecialty, communicating the grief of average men facing extraordinary loss" and lauds the "tight focus and unflagging emotional integrity he has brought to each of [his] quiet but challenging roles.

--Colin Dabkowski

'Zooman and the Sign' extended through April 3

Ujima play
Peter Johnson stars in "Zooman and the Sign" in TheaterLoft. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

A production of Charles Fuller's powerful play "Zooman and the Sign" in TheaterLoft, co-produced by Alemaedae Theater Productions, Xavier Films and Ujima Theatre, has been extended through April 3. The show, which points to some chilling parallels in Buffalo's community, was previewed here and reviewed here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Warped Tour date announced

It's not the summer concert season without a visit from the Vans Warped Tour.

The all-day music and extreme sports extravaganza returns on July 12 to the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Advance general admission tickets are $31.50 and go on sale at 4 p.m. April 1 through and by calling (800) 745-3000. Tickets will be $40 the day of the show.

An initial list of performers include 3OH3!, Less Than Jake, Relient K, Simple Plan, August Burns Red, Asking Alexandria, The Devil Wears Prada, A Day to Remember, Attack Attack! and Pepper. Plus Black Veil Brides, Of Mice and Men, Woe Is Me, Winds of Plague, The Word Alive, D.R.U.G.S., Street Dogs, Enter Shikari, Miss May I, We Came as Romans, The Acacia Strain, Set Your Goals, Lionize, Big D and the Kids Table, The Expendables, The Ready Set, The Aggrolites, Lucero, Unwritten Law, Go Radio, The Wonder Years, I Set My Friends on Fire, Moving Mountains, The Dangerous Summer, Every Avenue, Dance Gavin Dance, Blood on the Dance Floor, Big Chocolate, Passafire, Bad Rabbits, MC Lars with Weerd Science, Grives with Budo, Illscarlett, Stephen Jerzak; Big B, Foxy Shazam, Terrible Things, There for Tomorrow, Cold Forty Three, A Skylit Drive, Motionless in White, The Suit, The Dance Party, River City Extension, Sharks, The Exposed, DC Fallout, Sick of Sarah, Blacklist Royals, Larry and his Flask, Ionia, Windsor Drive and Shut Up and Deal.


St. Bonaventure's Quick Center to commemorate Triangle Fire

Triangle Fire pic Print
The Triangle Waist Company’s Asch Building after the deadly 1911 fire. Photo courtesy St. Bonaventure University

There's been a flurry of coverage marking the 100th anniversary of the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, which claimed the lives of 146 people and helped to set off the modern labor movement. On Wednesday, St. Bonaventure University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts will open an exhibition of photographs and other material surrounding the fire. The show was organized by St. Bonaventure senior Karen Vester as part of an independent study project.

According to a release, it will feature "photos, personal accounts, documents, and facts detailing the 15-minute tragedy and much of what ensued in the years to follow."

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Quick Center will host a screening of the HBO documentary "Triangle: Remembering the Fire," at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

And coming up a the center on Friday is the unveiling of a "communal art piece" created by 17 St. Bonaventure students. The piece, titled "Earth Song," is made of 34 individual canvases, each inspired by "botanical forms." A musical group known as Bonacoustics will perform their rendition of Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" during the opening.

--Colin Dabkowski

Selena Gomez performs at Darien Lake

110117966ML001_2011_DISNEY_ Disney sensation Selena Gomez is headed our way.

Selena Gomez & The Scene, along with guest All Star Weekend, will perform at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Darien Lake Performance Arts Center. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. April 2 for this special "pavilion-only" performance and are $75 (Gold Circle), $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50 through LiveNation. com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

Common Council to the rescue?

Today, the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance held a brief forum and press conference to voice its support for a Buffalo Common Council resolution that supports the restoration of city funding for the arts, which was for most intents and purposes ended back in 2001. Look for Mark Sommer's full coverage in tomorrow's paper, but for right now, you can listen to Ed Cardoni, executive director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and cultural funding insider, on what the Common Council's resolution means.

Cardoni breaks it down:

--Colin Dabkowski

A forum on the arts tonight

Laurie Deal Torrell and Randall Kramer, of the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance, speak to a crowd in the Market Arcade Building last December. Photo by Charles Lewis / The Buffalo News.

Last week, Buffalo's Common Council issued a resolution that seemed to pave the way for the city's re-entry into the cultural funding picture. The Common Council has discussed a contribution of some $300,000 to city-based cultural groups. It has also suggested that the city work with the Fund for the Arts, a consortium of local foundations that recently announced it would distribute some $430,000 to local cultural organizations this year.

Tonight, in an effort to voice support for the plan and to help it gain momentum in City Hall and in the community, the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance will be holding a press conference and rally in the Allendale Theatre, home to Theatre of Youth (one of the many city theaters cut out of the county budget). The event will be led by Common Council Member Michael J. LoCurto along with Randall Kramer, MusicalFare Theatre's artistic and executive director, who has served as the organization's de fact spokesman since its formation last year.

--Colin Dabkowski

Jerry Seinfeld returns to Shea's

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld brings his stand-up comedy show to town with a performance at 7 p.m. June 17 in Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St.

Tickets are $47.50, $62.50 and $77.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 1 through Shea's box office, or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. For more information, visit

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