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A good time for a good cause at the ARTIES

Artie hosts – LR Top – Chase and Paglia | Bottom – Chi and Jakiel

As expected, Buffalo actress Charmagne Chi and her comedic talents added that “Buffalo touch” to the 2016-2017 ARTIE AWARDS Monday evening, June 5, 2017 at Shea’s 710 Theatre. Presented for the first time this year by WNED|WBFO the 27th annual ARTIES recognized excellence in Buffalo theatre.  And, once again, accompanied by Musical Director Allan Paglia, hosts Anthony Chase, Charmagne Chi, and Amy Jakiel worked hard to keep the evening moving along as they introduced the evening’s presenters including surprise guest, Buffalo’s own nationally recognized actor Stephen McKinley Henderson. This year Josephine Hogan presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jimmy Janowski of Buffalo United Artists.

The evening began a few hours early with the wedding of playwright Donna Hoke to BPO bassist Edmond Gnekow on the “Plaza of the Stars” outside the theater. New this year, starting at around 7 p.m. there were two photo-ops: the traditional “red carpet” area inside the lobby and, for the first time, professional outdoor shots against the “Buffalo Theatre District” sign at Main and Tupper streets with WNED|WBFO staff photographer Eileen Elibol. Those photos will be available later this week at For a complete list of nominees and winners, visit

To find reviews on these performances, click here.

Even though WNED|WBFO is the new presenter, Anthony Chase took a moment to thank Artie Awards co-founder Jamie Moses, who was quite involved this year designing the evening’s printed program as well as greeting arrivals and selling tickets. Lots of tickets. The $15 admission plus participating theater collections after various plays and musicals this spring collected thousands of dollars to assist Erie County Medical Center Immunodeficiency Services. Those dollars go for unglamorous but necessary services such as patient transportation.

Yes, it’s a typical awards show with musical numbers performed by original cast members from this year’s nominated musicals, a few (but not that many) thank-you speeches which went on a little too long, and of course lots of incredibly good looking people fashionably dressed. And, funny hosts.

Every year, Anthony Chase puts on his curmudgeon hat as seen this season in the role of the “Lethal Critic” in IT’S ONLY A PLAYAmy Jakiel plays the sweet, slighty deer-in-the headlights role she demonstrated so well last summer as Christine Colgate in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS but only at the ARTIES can you seen Charmagne Chi unleashed, performing a number of brief, sui-generis one-woman skits. She has that Buffalo-style, self-deprecating, but clear-eyed way of commenting on the scene around her. Just two of the memorable moments were an entrance with a flashlight through the seating area, in the role of “usher sitting a late-comer during a performance.” And, later she observed that because every performance at any venue for any performance gets a standing ovation, it has lost all meaning to communicate audience enthusiasm. And so she offered a new way to applaud which seemed to combine genuflection, prostration, and rolling three times to the left and then then right. Which she demonstrated. You had to be there.

And, if you’d been there, you would have seen the following awards handed out:

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Lisa Vitrano, THE WINTER’S TALE, Shakespeare in Delaware Park

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Tom Makar, AFTER THE REVOLUTION, Jewish Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Sara Kow-Falcone, AMERICAN IDIOT, American Repertory Theater

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Joseph Donohue III, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, MusicalFare Theatre

Outstanding Actress in a Play: Aleks Malejs, GROUNDED, Kavinoky Theatre

Outstanding Actor in a Play: Anthony Alcocer, THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT, Road Less Traveled Productions

Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Michele Marie Roberts, EVITA, MusicalFare Theatre

Outstanding Actor in A Musical: Marc Sacco, EVITA, MusicalFare Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design: John Rickus, FRANKENSTEIN, Road Less Traveled Productions

Outstanding Set Design: Paul Bostaph, LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART, New Phoenix Theatre

Outstanding Choreography: John Fredo, SOPHISTICATED LADIES, MusicalFare Theatre

Emanuel Fried Award for outstanding new play: I’M FINE, Neal Radice, Alleyway Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design: Jimmy Janowski & Todd Warfield, CLEOPATRA, Buffalo United Artists

Outstanding Ensemble of a Play: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS’ NEST, Subversive Theatre Collective

Outstanding Production of a Play: JITNEY, The Paul Robeson Theatre

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola, THE COLLECTION, Torn Space Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical: AMERICAN IDIOT, American Repertory Theatre of WNY

Outstanding Production of a Musical: URINETOWN, Subversive Theatre Collective

Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jeffrey Coyle, URINETOWN, Subversive Theatre Collective

Lead image: Jakiel Family – The family shows: Kelly (Jakiel) Copps, Steve Jakiel, Mary (McMahon) Jakiel, Amy Jakiel

Photo hat tip: Amy Jakiel

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For over 20 years, as a producer and program host on WNED Classical (94.5 FM), he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists as he asks them to explain, in layman's terms, "what's the big picture here?" These days Peter can be heard regularly on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5.

On “Theater Talk” (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM) his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?" As mentioned recently in Buffalo Spree magazine, Peter's "Buffalo Rising reviews are the no-holds barred 'everyman's' take."

A member of Buffalo's Artie Awards Committee, Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty-five years he was an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

View All Articles by Peter Hall
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