The 28th annual CURTAIN UP! is a little under a month away and local theater companies are working tirelessly to put together comedies, dramas and musicals to captivate their audiences. The main CURTAIN UP! event will be held on Friday, September 11th, beginning at 5PM with a cocktail reception for the public and a reservations-only black-tie gala dinner. Performances will then begin at each of the participating theaters around 8PM, with a free community celebratory party on the 600 block of Main Street at 10PM.
If you can’t make the main event, all of the shows featured will continue to run throughout September, with most concluding in early October. In order to plan how you’ll enjoy the start to Buffalo’s highly anticipated 2009-2010 theater season, here’s a run-down of all the shows you won’t want to miss. The shows are listed in the order they will close, so you can plan ahead and not miss these spectacular shows! Also, stay tuned for another upcoming post on the biggest shows from some of the company’s 2009-2010 season.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center: For CURTAIN UP!, Shea’s will host the Electric Improv Company, a hilarious local comedy group, for a show on September 11th, as well as the last Saturday of every month throughout the year. The company’s first main stage show will be Chicago, the dazzling musical which runs from September 22nd through the 27th. Tickets for Chicago go on sale on Monday, August 17th.
Theatre of Youth: The Theatre of Youth, located on Allen Street, produces shows by adult actors for young audiences. For CURTAIN UP!, however, the show is most definitely for adults. Bartenders, which has sold out in the past, will be performed one last time with South Buffalo native Louis Mustillo, who wrote this one-man performance. It runs until September 12th.
Buffalo United Artists: This company’s work will profile Dan Higgins, who served on the Buffalo Common Council and raised five children in the Queen City. The Pipes Are Calling: An Elegy to Dan Higgins, Sr. was written by national award-winning playwright Matthew Crehan Higgins and will run until September 19th.
Theatre Plus: 24 With Maggie is a series of short comedies about one character just trying to make it through the day. Written by local playwright Beth Geyer, Theatre Plus brings you the world premiere of this play. Catch it before September 19th!
Subversive Theatre: Buffalo’s only theater company dedicated to left-wing political theater brings you Twilight – and not the immensely popular vampire story. This is a one-woman docu-drama about the 1991 LA riots from the perspective of those who lived through it. It ends its run on September 26th.
Kaliedoscope Theatre Productions: Easily the most controversial company in Buffalo theater last season, KTP has a new home after being removed from Canisius College due to the Polish Joke controversy – Medaille College! To kick off their next season, KTP presents I Hate Hamlet, the hilarious story of a New York actor who’s offered a role in Hamlet even though he hates the play! Don’t miss it – the show ends September 26th!
ALT Performance Group: This group presents Electra, a version of the classic Greek tragedy with an all-female cast! The company’s located on Great Arrow Avenue and will present this production through September 26th.
Torn Space Theater: Started in 2002, this company strives to premiere work not already produced in WNY. For CURTAIN UP!, they present Area, which is part of their “Original Production Series.” They’ve continued to workshop and explore this production to present a new version of last season’s premiere. Catch it before September 27th!
Alleyway Theatre: See the world premiere of The Careful Glover, an award-winning production written by Neal Radice, Alleyway’s artistic director. The show runs through October 3rd.
New Phoneix Theatre on the Park: Their work, called Freud and the Sandman, is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s story The Sandman. The theater is located near Johnson Park and will run this show — which features puppets by Michele Costa — through October 3rd.
Paul Robeson Theatre: Part of the African American Cultural Center, Inc., in Buffalo, this theater will perform Revenge of a King, which takes Shakespeare’s Hamlet and relates it to the streets of urban America. This multicultural hip-hop musical find Hamlet as Hamilton L. King, an aspiring hip-hop artist. It runs through October 4th.
Irish Classical Theatre: ICT presents Blood Brothers, a Musical, which has been nominated for six Tony Awards and has been produced for 21 years on London’s West End. The show tells the story of twins, separated at birth, who declare themselves blood brothers, before falling in love with the same woman. The show will run through October 11th.
Road Less Traveled Productions: RLTP features the single cheapest ticket price of any company – a $5 student rate on Thursdays! (General admission is a bit more pricey at $30 a ticket.) For CURTAIN UP!, the company presents Grenadine, the premiere of local playwright Neil Wechsler’s play, which won the 2008 Yale Drama Award. It closes on October 11th.
Kavinoky Theatre: The Kavinoky, which is based out of D’Youville College, brings you A Few Good Men, which was a fantastic play before it became an Oscar-nominated film in 1992. The play is a great courtroom drama about the trial of two Marines for their role in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. Be sure to see it before it ends on October 11th!
MusicalFare Theatre: In 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, MusicalFare’s hilarious contribution to the CURTAIN UP! scene, two boys share a love for playing the piano and a goal to achieve concert pianist stardom. Featuring works from Beethoven to Jerry Lee Lewis, this show also ends on October 11th.
There you have it – 15 fantastic shows for you to see throughout the month of September as Buffalo celebrates the start of its 2009-2010 theater season with CURTAIN UP! Enjoy the show!
(The 2009 CURTAIN UP! logo pictured above was unveiled on August 12. It was produced pro-bono by the local Wynne Creative Group.)