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'The Grand Manner' at Kavinoky Theatre

"The Grand Manner," Buffalo-born playwright A.R. "Pete" Gurney's love letter to Buffalo-born actress Katharine Cornell, opened on Friday night in the Kavinoky Theatre in its first production outside of New York City. Look for my review of the show in tomorrow's paper. And in the meantime, check out this story I wrote about the play when it was running in New York and take a look at Kavinoky director David Lamb giving us a bit of a synopsis:

--Colin Dabkowski

Live Chat with Jeff Miers

One of these things is not like the other

Identity © Marcus L. Wise
"Identity," a photograph by Marcus L. Wise.

Marcus L. Wise, who runs the 464 Gallery on Amherst Street, is having his first solo exhibition of photographs. The show, called "Identity: A Photographic Collection," opens today in the iPrintFromHome Gallery (1016 Niagara Falls Blvd.) and runs through June 3.

“I have created and photographed mini-installations that form abstract landscapes or stories that suggest and reflect the solitary beauty of being divergent, different, misunderstood,” Wise wrote in a statement about the exhibition.

--Colin Dabkowski


'Shining City' opens tonight in the Andrews Theatre

"Shining City," Conor McPherson's eerie and acclaimed 2004 drama, opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. Last fall, we sat down to talk with ICTC director Vincent O'Neill about the play. Here's what he had to say:

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup

After a tiny bit of a lull, the theater scene is heating back up again this week. Next week's Thursday Theater Roundup is bound to look a bit more fleshed out, but for this week, here's what our reviewers recommend:

Jay Pichardo and Matt Witten in "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at Road Less Traveled Theatre. Photo by Harry Scull / The Buffalo News.

"The Last Days of Judas Iscariot," through May 22 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre. From the review: "Though Guirgis’ characters drop F-bombs left and right and wax obscene on topics from sexual endowments to cocaine binges, make no mistake: This is the Gospel according to Guirgis, a staunch anti-Gibsonite and the closest thing to a latter-day saint in the theater. This production, directed by Scott Behrend with a keen understanding of its theological underpinnings and a deep sensitivity to its audience, is a major achievement for Road Less Traveled. It brings together a cast of uncommon talent and diversity to deliver a tale whose themes are immediately relevant to Western New York’s faithful and its lost sheep alike." --Colin Dabkowski

Jackie Burns as Elphaba in the naitonal tour of "Wicked," now playing in Shea's Performing Arts Center.

"Wicked," through May 22 in Shea's Performing Arts Center. From the review (coming tomorrow): " As shrewdly engineered musical theater phenomena go, the shock-and-awe spectacle of 'Wicked' is a special case. Like 'Rent' before it, 'Wicked' inserted its hooks -- musical, visual and otherwise -- into its core audience early and inextricably. Unlike 'Rent,' that audience included many grade-schoolers, as well as young adults and boomers who remember wistfully the 1939 film out of which the musical's twisted ticket of moralistic mythology grew. In that way, this musical's formula of spectacle mixed with soaring pop melodies and a lesson in morality that clobbers audiences over the head at every turn, is designed more than anything for the middle-school set. And that is much to its credit." --Colin Dabkowski

The cast of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" in MusicalFare Theatre.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," through May 15 in MusicalFare Theatre. From the review: "'Spelling Bee' as the show is affectionately known among its legions of cult followers, began its life as a piece of sketch comedy about quirky bee contestants. Without obscuring its DIY charm, Finn, Sheinkin and others built it out into something much greater, a show that combines Finn's gorgeous flights of musical fancy with a thoroughly contemporary sense of humor and a genuine sympathy for the plight of 12-year-old weirdos, dorks and overachievers everywhere. The result is a piece that not only reduces audiences to riotous laughter, but which accesses and soothes that part of our psyche that never quite overcame those lingering insecurities of adolescence." --Colin Dabkowski

UB's 'Living Wall' set to go up on Friday

Last year, we covered an ambitious public art project by freshmen studying in the University at Buffalo's architecture department. The project, called "The Living Wall," was a motley collection of structures built in a wide range of styles and arranged in a long row in Griffis Sculpture Park.

The 2011 version of the project, documented by students and instructors on this fascinating and ongoing blog, opens to the public on Friday and will remain on view through the end of the park's season in October. Here's a video produced by the department that provides a glimpse into this year's version of the project:

--Colin Dabkowski

Burchfield fills the gap between seasons


Charles Burchfield, Buffalo's own watercolor master, was particularly attuned to the change of the seasons. He reveled in those moments when beams of sun broke through dark storm clouds, or when the winter chill finally gave way to the first hints of summer heat. He tried to suspend those moments and build them out into phantasmagorical images in his paintings. Today's climactic fluctuations -- grey skies one moment, shimmering sun the next -- reminded me a bit of this Burchfield piece, "December Storm" -- perfectly approrpriate for today in effect, if not in name.

--Colin Dabkowski

Goo Goo Dolls tix go on sale Saturday

Goo Goo Dolls It's official. The Goo Goo Dolls return home to perform a show at 7 p.m. July 29 in the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Also on the bill are Michelle Branch and Parachute.

Reserved seats are $69.50, $59.50, $49.50 and $29.50; lawn seats are $20 each or $60 for a four-pack and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 30 at or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. A limited number of lawn tickets will be sold for $10 from 10 a.m. on April 30 to midnight on May 1.




Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

UPDATE: Poetry proposals called for

Puppeteer Michele Costa, a frequent Infringement Festival participant. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

UPDATE: Word from Infringement Fest organizer Janna Willoughby (aka MC Vendetta) is that zero -- that's right, zero -- proposals for poetry-related Infringement projects have come in. Her message to the poetrically inclined: get crackin'.

The Infringement Festival, Buffalo's summerly collection of under-the-radar arts events that seems to grow incomprehensibly larger by the year, is still accepting proposals for this year's fest. But only for one more week. So, all you artists, playwrights, dancers, fire-breathers, buskers, boomerang-throwers, musicians and otherwise creatively gifted bohemians, get thee to this site to submit your application. The festival, as egalitarian and non-hierarchical an affair as you can imagine (and yet somehow functional) provides a venue and promotion for free.

Check out my running bloggy coverage of last year's Infringement Fest here, and stay tuned for more this summer. The festival runs from July 28 to Aug. 7.

--Colin Dabkowski

Englebert Humperdinck performs at Riviera Theatre

Romantic balladeer Englebert Humperdinck will perform at 7:30 p.m. June  27 in the Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda).

Tickets are $55 or $65 Gold Circle and go on sale at noon on April 30 at the box office or charge by phone at 692-2113. For information, visit

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