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Thursday Theater Roundup

Time again for the Thursday Theater Roundup, wherein our reviewers extoll the virtues of the best productions now running on the Western New York theater scene. It's (relatively) slim pickings this week, as theaters across town prepare for a spate of openings over the next two weeks, but these two productions come highly recommended:

SPELLING BEE cast

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," through May 15 in MusicalFare Theatre. From the review (coming tomorrow): "'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

"World's Finest," through April 23 in Alleyway Theatre. From the review: "Gray's plays have been on the Alleyway stage many times: his 'Louisiana Trilogy' -- 'Scrapbooks,' 'Can't Dance, Too Wet to Plow' and 'Remembering the Future' -- was produced there in 1990 and a year rarely passes when the successful 'Buffalo Quickies,' an evening of original one-acts, doesn't include an entry by Gray on its program. Well, he's back, this time with a play in two acts titled 'World's Finest,' an insightful, sweet slice-of-life tale that turns dark and chaotic in a trice."--Ted Hadley

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