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Tom Dudzick will return home to direct 'Over the Tavern' at the Kav

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Buffalo-born playwright Tom Dudzick on the set of "Hail Mary" in 2004. Buffalo News file photo.

Tom Dudzick, the Buffalo-born playwright whose "Over the Tavern" series captured the imaginations of thousands of Western New Yorkers in the mid-'90s and early-2000s, will return home in September to direct his most popular play at the Kavinoky Theatre.

Last year, Dudzick directedhit production of his play "Miracle on South Division Street" at the Kav, a move that evidently endeared the theater and its audience -- as if it could possibly be endeared any more -- to the playwright's Buffalo-tinged dialogue and working-class humor. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Studio Arena premiere of the play, an autobiographical look at the travails of a family living above a tavern on the city's East Side.

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Bonnie Jean Taylor and Ellen Horst, right, in Tom Dudzick's "Miracle on South Division Street."

The play and its two sequels have since become part of the city's theatrical fabric and even its national identity, popping up frequently in community theaters and regional theaters across the United States.

The opening date has not yet been set, but the play will likely fall into the Kavinoky's Curtain Up! slot during the second week of September. In an email, Dudzick said that Ellen Horst -- the de facto star of "Miracle on South Division Street" -- has been cast in the role of Sister Clarissa, originally brought to life on the Studio Arena stage by Jeanne Cairns. The rest of the roles will be cast after auditions in April.

"How often does this happen to a playwright?" Dudzick said in an email Monday morning. "I get to tell the story of MY childhood in MY city, and it'll be performed by people who live here and understand. It doesn't get much more personal than that!"

--Colin Dabkowski

 

Thursday Theater Roundup: Final weekend for 'To the Top' and 'Dai'

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

"To the Top," through March 1 in Alleyway Theatre. ★★★½

"Dai," through March 2 in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre in a Jewish Repertory Theatre production. ★★★★

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

Shaw Festival offers WNY-specific ticket discounts

In an attempt to build its American audience, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. is offering discounted tickets to many performances in April and May for Buffalo and Rochester-area residents.

The discounted tickets are $39, or $20 for students, and apply to performances of "Arms and the Man," "The Charity that Began at Home," "When We Are Married" and "The Philadelphia Story."

Below are the specific performances to which the discount applies. They are all preview performances with the exception of the May 11 showing of "The Charity that Began at Home":

  • Arms and The Man: April 8, 27 – 2 p.m.; April 5, 11, 12, 19, 26, May 2 – 8 p.m.
  • The Charity that Began at Home: April 26, May 2, 7, 9 – 2 p.m.; May 11 – 8 p.m.
  • When We Are Married: May 10 – 8 p.m.
  • The Philadelphia Story: May 18 – 2 p.m.; May 15, 24, 28, 30, 31 – 8 p.m.

Without delving into the Shaw Festival's labyrinthine ticket-pricing structure, here's what the discount means:

The minimum ticket price for preview shows in the Court House Theatre or the Festival Theatre is $35, while the minimum ticket price in the Royal George is $52. That means if you're going for the absolute lowest price and you're willing to sit in a bad seat, you should skip the discount offer unless the show happens to be in the Royal George.

However, the $39 price applies to the festival's more expensive "blue level" tickets. So if you're free for one of the performances and don't want to shell out for decent seats, the offer is a good deal. (You can also pay $10 to upgrade to "gold level" seats, which normally go for anywhere from $62 to $98, depending on the performance.)

Shaw Fest public relations coordinator Jennifer Annand suggests calling the box office at 1-800-511-SHAW and using the discount code "13996."

--Colin Dabkowski

An intermission proposal at 'Cyrano'

"Cyrano," one of the essential plays about love, apparently moved one audiencegoer to such ecstatic heights that he decided to propose to his girlfriend at intermission during a performance on Valentine's day. Here's the video:

The show runs through Sunday.

--Colin Dabkowski

Arts Services Initiative launches cultural awards

The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, a cross-cultural advocacy organization headed by Tod A. Kniazuk, announced today that it is lanching an annual series of cultural awards.

The new awards program is similar to the yearly honors the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County handed out until its demise in 2010. ASI is accepting nominations on its website for lifetime achievement, organization of the year, artist of the year, rising star, cultural supporter of the year, cultural advocate of the year, volunteer of the year and DEC program of the year. The ceremony will be on June 25 in the Hotel @ Lafayette.

Read ASI's release on the new awards program here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: 4 stars for 'Dai,' 'Nancy Drew' and 'Some Girls'

Josie DiVincenzo stars in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's four-star production of "Dai." 

The Thursday Theater Roundup features currently running productions that received three or more stars from our reviewers. If you're heading to the theater this weekend, check out these shows:

"Cyrano," through Feb. 23 in the 710 Main Theatre in a Buffalo Laboratory Theatre production. ★★★

"To the Top," through March 1 in Alleyway Theatre. ★★★½

"Dai," through March 2 in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre in a Jewish Repertory Theatre production. ★★★★

"Murder in Green Meadows," through Feb. 15 at Medaille College in a Kaleidoscope Theatre production. ★★★

"Nancy Drew & the Mystery at Lilac Inn," through Feb. 16 at the Allendale Theatre in a Theatre of Youth production. ★★★★

"Very Fine Use of a Grenade," through Feb. 16 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★

"Some Girls," through Feb. 16 at New Phoenix Theatre in a Second Generation Theatre production. ★★★★

"The Lady With All the Answers," through Feb. 23 at the Park School in an O'Connell and Company production. ★★★½

Fredonia arts center on list of 25 'amazing' campus theaters

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The Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia (shown above) appeared on a recent ranking of the top 25 college theater venues on the website Bestcollegereviews.org. It took the 19th spot on the list, which also includes Syracuse University's Regent Theatre Complex, the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing arts at Bard College.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: A flurry of fine productions at Theatre of Youth, O'Connell and Company, Second Generation and Kaleidoscope

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Adriano Gatto and Meghan McAdam Gomez star in Second Generation Theatre's production of "Some Girls," running through Feb. 16 in the New Phoenix Theatre. Photo by Charlie Lewis / The Buffalo News

The Thursday Theater Roundup features currently running productions that received three or more stars from our reviewers. If you're heading to the theater this weekend, check out these shows:

"A Woman of No Importance," through Feb. 9 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. ★★★½

"Murder in Green Meadows," through Feb. 15 at Medaille College in a Kaleidoscope Theatre production. ★★★

"Nancy Drew & the Mystery at Lilac Inn," through Feb. 16 at the Allendale Theatre in a Theatre of Youth production. ★★★★

"Very Fine Use of a Grenade," through Feb. 16 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★

"Some Girls," through Feb. 16 at New Phoenix Theatre in a Second Generation Theatre production. ★★★★

"The Lady With All the Answers," through Feb. 23 at the Park School in an O'Connell and Company production. ★★★½

Infringement Fest issues call for work

The 2014 Buffalo Infringment Festival, scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 3, is now accepting applications from local artists, musicians, filmmakers, poets and performers of all stripes. Some info from the release:

Infringement welcomes all musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets, actors, filmmakers, performance artists and street performers to be involved. There are no fees to enter and every application is accepted. Once you have started an application, you can go back to it at any time and add or change information. Registering early keeps you in touch with the monthly events and fundraisers and links you with an organizer in your genre of art. It also helps organizers plan ahead with volume, as the festival grows larger every year. To celebrate our 10th year we encourage everyone applying to step outside with their creative ideas and transform the streets of Buffalo into the ultimate free venue!

To submit your proposal, click here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup: Solid shows at Kavinoky, ICTC and Road Less Traveled

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Greg Howze and Kristen Tripp Kelley star in "Very Fine Use of a Grenade" at Road Less Traveled Theatre.

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

"Proof," through Feb. 2 in the Kavinoky Theatre. ★★★

"A Woman of No Importance," through Feb. 9 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. ★★★½

"Very Fine Use of a Grenade," through Feb. 16 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★

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