by: Thomas Dooney
Halloween has become a seasonal target for local theaters in recent years. It is more active than Valentine’s Day and almost as busy as Christmas. October will see a shocking list of spooky productions and special events presented by performing companies. Preview listings of a few notable events follow this review.
Brazen-Faced Varlets, one of the spunkiest and smallest of Buffalo based theater companies, kicked off the fright with Nevermore!: An Ex-POE-Ration, a trim and tidy anthology of short works by Edgar Allan Poe. The kicker in the Varlet calendar was a one-night party at Club Diablo billed as a Wake For Edgar Allan Poe. Gone 161 years, Poe got the party he deserved in life. BFV treated their fans to a very special hour of readings and strippers. Yup, strippers. This is perhaps your only opportunity to enjoy bleak, transcendentalist poetry combined with erotic dance for the next 161 years.
Up and running, or up and coming, are a severed handful of other shows and parties.
Evil Dead: The Musical was a sleeper hit of 2009-10. It won Artie Awards as Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Lead Actor In A Musical for Casey Denton, who returns for this re-staging in the role of Ash. Inspired by the Samuel Raimi juggernaut of B-slasher movies singing teens fight dancing zombies with bloody, bloody results. Sit up close in “the splatter zone” or stay dry at a reasonable distance from the stage. Through October 31st; Alt Theatre (255 Great Arrow Avenue; third floor; Buffalo; stairwell and elevator service available. www.alttheater.com or (716) 868-6847.
Baba Yaga: Forget balletic sugarplums for a few weeks until “Nutcracker” starts. Neglia Ballet Company gives us Baba Yaga, the story of a child-eating witch that is based in Russian folklore. Neglia touts this as a full family fare with special deals for parents and children attending together. October 16th; SUCB Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center; 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; www.Buffalostatepac.org or (716) 878-3005.
Twilight Zone Redux: Popular scripts from the immortal television series will be adapted for the stage and produced by American Repertory Theatre Of Western New York. TZ(R) re-visions three tales of the off-kilter for fans of Rod Serling and for new audiences. October 14-30; Buffalo East, 1410 Main Street. www.artofwny.org or (716) 884-4858
Subversive Twilight Zones: Not zoned out enough? Subversive Theatre’s upcoming production gets to the mid-century politics under the skin of TZ episodes…A-bomb anxiety, McCarthyism jitters, social homogenization, feminist suppression. October 21st – November 14th; Emanuel Fried Theatre; 255 Great Arrow Avenue (third floor), Buffalo (stairway and elevator access). www.subversivetheatre.org or (716) 408-0499.
Prom Of The Dead: Dan Shanhan, performance auteur. Dan Shanahan, visionary of environmental theater. Dan Shanahan, party-meister? Yes, believe it and see it. You might not guess from the spare, extraordinary productions at Torn Space, but Dan Shanahan is a fun guy. He will host a party which is one of the most intriguing fundraisers on the current calendar. Dress in your creepiest formals and head over to Dnipro Ukranian Cultural Center (an architectural treasure where Torn Space has staged shows in the past). Live music and DJs, horror movie projections, cash prizes for King and Queen of the zombie prom and… (it wouldn’t be a Buffalo party without it)… open bar from 9:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. October 23rd: 9:00p.m.; Dnipro Ukranian Cultural Center, 562 Genesee Street; www.tornspacetheater.com/promofthedead
Lead Image: Darryl Hart as Rod Serling in Twilight Zone Redux
Inset: Neglia Ballet’s Baba Yaga