Cherie Messore Previews

First Look: ‘The Kathy & Mo Show – Parallel Lives The Dark Side’ by O’Connell & Company at Shea’s Smith Theatre

Call them The Power for Trio for What’s Good in This World.

O’Connell and Company has three powerhouse actors behind a new-to-Buffalo production at Shea’s Smith Theatre, for six performances January 18 to 27.

Mary Kate O’Connell and Pamela Rose Mangus are reprising their roles in “The Kathy & Mo Show Parallel Lives” for the latest iteration called “The Dark Side,” opening Friday, January 18 at Shea’s Smith Theatre. Victoria Perez Maggiolo is the director.

In the spirit of the original Kathy & Mo Show originated by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, “The Dark Side” is a series of very short stories told by very different characters, taking on feminism, religion, gay rights, and other slices of modern American life topics. There’s a good punch of humor, some universal truths, and some strong comments about society, too. There’s a point to this, and O’Connell says, “So much truth is buried in comedy. Comedy should make you think. Many of the topics addressed in “Parallel Lives” take on those old fashioned views with a fresh and logical view. Perhaps they will inspire us to ‘get the conversation started” again.’” Mangus agrees. “As we can see in the news every day, some people refuse to move on,” she says, “Some people think it’s their way or the highway.  God help us.” Both agree that the humor carries a strong message. Mangus says, “I think each piece we do has subtext and comedy is the best way to get the point across sometimes.”  O’Connell adds, “Many times telling your story with laughter makes the message clearer.”

In “The Dark Side,” both actors portray multiple characters with only a beat, a breath and a wardrobe change to transition. Mangus likes her moments as Hank, the drunken cowboy where she shows off her vocal chops singing the iconic Patsy Cline hit “Crazy.” O’Connell’s favorite is Maddie, “a woman of a certain age,” she says, “Who continues living life as an adventure. She and her ‘best friend of 43 1/2 years’ Syvvie take on new challenges of the modern day life with gusto, laughs and wonder. “

For tickets and details, visit www.sheas.org.