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MusicalFare cabaret space opens tonight with tribute to Louis Prima and Keely Smith

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Debbie Pappas and Norm Sham will perform a tribute to Louis Prima in MusicalFare Theatre's new cabaret space.

MusicalFare Theatre will hold a soft opening tonight for its newly completed Premier Center Cabaret tonight with Norm Sham and Debbie Pappas' tribute to the music of Louis Prima and Keely Smith. The show runs at 8 p.m. tonight, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20.

The theater's renovation includes an expanded lobby and bar area in addition to the performance space. Here's a shot of it during a the opening of "Tommy":

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On April 11, Christina Rausa opens a three-day run of "The Belle of Amherst," a one-woman show based on the life of Emily Dickenson. The space's official opening will coincide with the opening of MusicalFare's production of "Adrift in Macao" on April 23.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: 'Robin Hood,' 'Mud' and 'Trojan Women'

Patrick Moltane, Willie Judson, and Bonnie Jean Taylor appear in Torn Space Theater's production of "Mud." 

"Robin Hood," through April 6 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★½

"Mud," through April 13 in Torn Space Theatre's Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle and Library. ★★★

"The Trojan Women," through April 19 in TheatreLoft. ★★★

'Lion King' cast gives surprise performance on a plane

In this video that's in the midst of going viral, the Australian cast members of "The Lion King" surprise their fellow passengers with a rendition of "The Circle of Life." It's almost definitely a Disney viral advertising stunt, but a beautiful moment nonetheless.

--Colin Dabkowski 

 

Give for Greatness becomes part of ASI

Give for Greatness, the arts fundraising organization launched by Artvoice publisher Jamie Moses in the wake of Erie County's 2011 cultural funding crisis, will become part of the Arts Services Initiative.

The merger of the two organizations, funded by a consortium of local foundations known as the Fund for the Arts, will create a new development director position at ASI. It will primarily benefit small cultural organizations and expand G4G's mission to include a larger swath of Western New York.

As the funding crisis of 2011 recedes into memory, ASI board president and MusicalFare Theatre founder Randall Kramer said, "the need for G4G remains as prevalent as ever for small and new organizations, as well as groups in Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties where public sector [support] for the arts is not as strongas it is in Erie."

It's tough to overestimate the importance of a group dedicated to funding new and emerging cultural groups Western New York and Erie County, as the vast majority of public and private funding goes to long-established organizations. Gaining a toe-hold as a new group is remarkably difficult -- a problem this reimagined version of G4G aims to solve.

Since its founding, according to the G4G website, the organization has raised $150,000 for local arts organizations. It was headed for a time by former Studio Arena Theatre director Kathleen Gaffney, who left the organization several months ago.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: Closing weekend for 'Red,' 'Good People,' 'An Iliad' and 'Once'

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Stuart Ward and Dani De Waal star in "Once" in Shea's Performing Arts Center.

The Thursday Theater Roundup features currently running shows that received three or more stars from our reviewers. Here are this week's picks:

"Red," through Sunday in 710 Main Theatre. ★★★

"Good People," through Sunday in the Kavinoky Theatre ★★★

"An Iliad," through Sudnay in the Road Less Traveled Theatre ★★★

"Once," through Sunday in Shea's Performing Arts Center. ★★★½

"Robin Hood," through April 6 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★½

"Mud," through April 13 in Torn Space Theatre's Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle and Library. ★★★

Geva Theatre season features 'Good People,' 'Little Shop'

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Photo by Matthew D. Wilson via Wikipedia

Rochester's Geva Theatre Center has announced its 2014-15 season. The main lineup includes productions of Frederick Knott's "Wait Until Dark," David Lindsay-Abaire's "Good People" (playing through Sunday in the Kavinoky Theatre), the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," Wendy MacLeod's "Women in Jeopardy!", Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop" (recently produced by Subversive Theatre) and Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." 

As part of its "Nexstage" season, Geva will produce a two-week festival of new theater in October and "'Til Death Do Us Part: Late Nite Catechism 3" in November. It will also mount productions of Nora Cole's "Katherine's Colored Lieutenant," Lee Blessing's "Body of Water," Cass Morgan's "True Home," and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

A release on the season is here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Bethany Moore shares her Broadway success story

Last night, UB graduate Bethany Moore -- now appearing in the acclaimed Broadway revival of "Pippin" -- performed a short set of musical theater songs and stories to help raise money for Second Generation Theatre. Moore began her professional theater career before she even finished school, landing a spot with a touring production of "Cats" after her very first professional audition.

And though her career has hit a couple of rough spots along the way, it's been on an upward trajectory since 2011, when she was cast in "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark." A summer production of "Into the Woods" in followed in 2012. And last year, she won a coveted spot with the cast of an acclaimed  acrobatic version of "Pippin" that's still pulling in big crowds on Broadway.

Her performance at the New Phoenix was consistently charming, a collection of tongue-in-cheek songs and behind-the-scenes stories. I didn't have have a chance to tape any of it, but here's a YouTube video of Moore preforming the hilarious "Alto's Lament":

 

--Colin Dabkowski

Bethany Moore to perform Monday in New Phoenix Theatre

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Broadway quadruple-threat and University at Buffalo grad Bethany Moore will return to Buffalo Monday night for a performance in the New Phoenix Theatre. The event, "An Evening of Song and Story with Bethany Moore," starts at 8 p.m. and costs $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Tickets are available by calling 864-0938 or visiting this link. Moore, who has appeared in recent Broadway productions of "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark" and "Pippin," will be backed by music director Allan Paglia and will sing a few duets with Buffalo actor and choreographer Bobby Cooke.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: 'Red,' 'Good People,' 'An Iliad' and 'Stones in his Pockets'

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P.J. Tighe and Paul Todaro star in MusicalFare Theatre's production of "Red" in the 710 Main Theatre.

The Thursday Theater Roundup features currently running shows that received three or more stars from our reviewers. Here are this week's picks:

"Red," through March 30 in 710 Main Theatre. ★★★

"Stones in his Pockets," through March 23 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre ★★★½

"Good People," through March 30 in the Kavinoky Theatre ★★★

"An Iliad," through March 30 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre ★★★

Thursday Theater Roundup: 4 stars for 'Porgy and Bess,' 'Good People' and 'An Iliad'

Lisa Ludwig, Eileen Dugan and Anne Gayley star in the Kavinoky Theatre's production of "Good People."

The Thursday Theater Roundup features currently running shows that received three or more stars from our reviewers. Here are this week's picks:

"Porgy and Bess," through Sunday in Shea's Performing Arts Center ★★★

"Stones in his Pockets," through March 23 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre ★★★½

"Good People," through March 30 in the Kavinoky Theatre ★★★

"An Iliad," through March 30 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre ★★★

 

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