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Thursday Theater Roundup

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Michael Seitz and Matthew Crehan Higgins star in Buffalo United Artists' production of "The Normal Heart." Photo by Robert Kirkham / The Buffalo News.

"The Normal Heart," through June 8 in Buffalo United Artists Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "A compelling production of the 1985 play, directed by Javier Bustillos, opened Friday night in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre, serving as a chilling reminder of that shameful period in American history for those who lived through it and a shocking primer on latent human cruelty for those who didn’t." --Colin Dabkowski

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The cast of "Breath, Boom" at Ujima Theatre.

"Breath, Boom," through June 2 in TheatreLoft in a Ujima Theatre production. ★★★½

From the review: "“Boom,” all about the cycle of violence in black neighborhoods – friends, foes and family alike – is a dozen years old now and still disturbs." --Ted Hadley

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Michael Zito, left, and Christopher Quinn star in Theatre of Youth's production of "Flat Stanley."

"The Adventures of Flat Stanley," through June 2 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Never mind that they barely appear concerned about their son’s desire to fly away, nor even anxious for his eventual return. But where Stanley’s plea for meaning in this obnoxiously pleasant existence is concerned, he might consider a quest more down to earth." --Ben Siegel

"God of Isaac," through June 2 in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Now the {JRT] hit streak continues at the versatile yet intimate Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre with James Sherman’s comedy – albeit one with thoughtful, often serious, undercurrents – “The God of Isaac,” a little charmer of a play that has you hooked from its early minutes. In the late going, a whiff of preachiness appears and is forgiven. Like the man said. Shalom." --Ted Hadley

"Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life," through June 2 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "This “Two Weeks” is a step beyond a “work in progress.” But, it could use some tweaking if it goes elsewhere, as planned. The story is told in a series of blackouts, too many of them interminable. Characters make far too many cellphone calls; they don’t move the action along and most conversations are inane and empty." --Ted Hadley

At the Shaw Festival:

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"Guys and Dolls," through Nov. 3 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "For this production, directed by Tadeusz Bradecki with molecular fidelity to the original material and choreographed to within a millimeter of its life by Parker Esse, the Shaw has rounded up a phenomenal cast." --Colin Dabkowski

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"Major Barbara," through Oct. 19 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Director Jackie Maxwell’s production of Shaw’s long-winded but monumentally engaging play about the tug-of-war between public and corporate interests sets out to rescue Undershaft from her status as a weak protagonist all too willing to mold her ideals to the arguments of others. Alas, despite Maxwell’s laudable efforts and a remarkable performance from the magnetic Nicole Underhay in the title role, the show fails to transform Shaw’s projection screen of a protagonist into a living, breathing human." --Colin Dabkowski

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Claire Julien and Julia Course star in the Shaw Festival's production of "Our Betters."

"Our Betters," through Oct. 27 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The play, which explores the efforts of newly wealthy Americans to seek ancient British titles and the status that accompanies them, is timed to exploit our culture’s renewed obsession with the roaring ’20s and the surrounding decades. The play, though a bit clunky in its conceit, is positively 'Gatsby'-esque in its attempt to uncover the emptiness of the British aristocracy and the equally vapid American climbers who try to invade it." --Colin Dabkowski

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