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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 ★★★

 

Tonight's performance of 'Porgy and Bess' canceled

Shea's Performing Arts Center has announced that this evening's performance of "Porgy and Bess" has been canceled. Tickets for tonight's performance may be used for any of the remaining shows, for which there are many seats still available, according to Shea's.

Here's the tweet from Shea's:

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: 'Stones in his Pockets' opens; 'Branches from the Same Tree' closes

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

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Christopher Evans and Kevin Craig star in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's production of "Stones in His Pockets." 

"Branches from the Same Tree," through March 9 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. ★★★

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

Quoted: Vincent O'Neill on keeping a theater company afloat

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Irish Classical Theatre Company co-founder Vincent O'Neill gives a reading in 2004. Photo by Robert Kirkham / The Buffalo News

Earlier this afternoon I had a chat with Irish Classical Theatre Company co-founder and artistic director Vincent O'Neill for an upcoming column about the theater's tight-knit group of volunteers and board members. During our conversation, O'Neill talked about the need for theater companies such as his constantly reinvent themselves and to produce new ideas for fundraising, artistic collaboration and other necessary survival strategies.

It's tempting to think of companies like ICTC, which have been around for decades, as able to coast on the reputation and goodwill they've built up through hundreds of productions and years of audience-building. But the reality is much trickier.

Here's what O'Neill had to say:

The problem is that if you sit on your hands, you’re dead... Every year there’s going to be something new, whether it’s the international playwriting competition or it’s the Irish tour or this that or the other, you’ve got to keep reinventing. And if you don’t, you just die. It’s just the nature of the business. You’re never there. You’re never established. You’re never comfortable and if we slack off at all, we immediately suffer.

--Colin Dabkowski

Quoted: Suzan-Lori Parks on 'Porgy and Bess'

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The touring revival of "Porgy and Bess" opens in Shea's a week from today. Its book was adapted from the original opera by Suzan-Lori Parks, who, along with director Diane Paulus, came under considerable criticism for retooling what many consider to be one of the greatest American works of art in the 20th century.

In my interview with the Pulitzer-winning playwright late last year, she explained her philosophy behind why it made sense to to correct some of the parts of the opera she and many of its critics considered to be "less than accurate." Here are her thoughts:

It would be as if, maybe, as if somebody wrote a musical about say, I don’t know, pick a group, Jewish folks who live on the Lower East side of Manhattan, you know? And they weren’t really, really, really in the community and they got some things less than accurate. And so the [Gershwin] estate was asking that we just improve it -- or not improve it, that’s kind of a harsh word -- but make it something that everybody can enjoy. And I’ve gotta say, the proof is in the play, because I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of people from actors in the show to people in the street stop me in the street and say: 'You know, I always loved the music, but I couldn’t stand the story. And now I love both.' People of all races and creeds are loving it, the whole thing, now.

--Colin Dabkowski

Daemen to host forum on culture in WNY

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"Patricia," an oil painting by Gary Wolfe, will be on view during Daemen College's "Culture Now" event.

On Wednesday, Daemen College will host a day dedicated to exploring the role of art and culture in the region's civic life. The event, called "Culture Now," gets started at 3 p.m. with a staged reading of the play "Who Returned My Soul" by Kelly Brock, based on a Holocaust survivor's testimonies.

At 6 p.m., the college will host "Art, Wellness, Community," a community forum featuring Jackie Albarella, Dana Jenkins, Mary Kozub, Gary Wolfe and Ted Pietrzak. Topics will include the involvement of arts and culture in veterans' affairs, cancer treatment, Alzheimer's patients and the homeless population.

The event is free and open to the public.

--Colin Dabkowski

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