Top 10 Shows of 2018

As the year comes to a close, Buffalo Theatre Guide is pleased to announce the TOP 10 Shows of 2018, based on page views! These shows were reviewed by a Buffalo Theatre Guide writer, and the review was shared via social media. These shows will be honored with a certificate which will be mailed to the theatre in the new year. Congratulations to all the winners this year!

Honorable Mentions:

15: “Jesus Christ Superstar” – American Repertory Theatre Of WNY

Review is here.

14. “Annie” – Lancaster Opera House

Review is here.

13. “Once” – MusicalFare Theatre

Review is here.

Steven Copps and Renee Landrigan in ‘Once’ at MusicalFare Theatre.

12. “Alice in Wonderland” – Aurora Players

Review is here.

The Cast of “Alice In Wonderland” at Aurora Players. Photo by Dori Shear-McGowan.

11. “Mamma Mia!” Kavinoky Theatre

Review is here.

TOP 10 Shows of 2018

10: “Big Fish” – Second Generation Theatre Company

Review is here. 

9. “Mary Poppins” – Theatre In The Mist

Review is here.

 

8. “All My Sons” – Niagara Regional Theatre Guild

Review is here.

The cast of “All My Sons” by Niagara Regional Theatre Guild.

 

7.  “Spring Awakening” – MusicalFare Theatre

Review is here.

The cast of MusicalFare’s ‘Spring Awakening.’ Photo by Chris Cavanagh.

6. “Sive” –  Irish Classical Theatre

Review is here. 

Josephine Hogan and Kiana Duggan-Haas in “Sive” at Irish Classical Theatre.

5.  “The Wizard of Oz” – Rocking Horse Productions

Review is here.

4.  “And Then There Were None” at Aurora Players

Review is here.

The cast of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” at Aurora Players. Photo by Dori Shear-McGowan.

3.  “Oliver!” at Lancaster Opera House

Review is here.

2.   Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at Lockport Palace Theatre

Review is here.

The cast of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” at Lockport Palace Theatre.

 

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street –  Kavinoky Theatre

Review is here.

Loraine O’Donnell and Matt Witten in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street” at Kavinoky Theatre.

Theatre Review: ‘Once’ at MusicalFare Theatre

Steve Copps and Renee Landrigan in ‘Once’ at MusicalFare Theatre.

I remember seeing “Once” a few years ago when the National Tour came to Shea’s. I didn’t know what to expect walking in, but I remember leaving and thinking, “wow, that was a great show!” Now as a reviewer, I see roughly forty shows a year, and most of them do not leave a lasting impression. That is not to say that they aren’t good, but when you see as many shows as I do, you easily forget. “Once” is a show that I never did easily forget. I think about it from time to time, and when I saw that MusicalFare was producing it during the 2017/2018 season, I smiled because I knew it would be good. Sadly, ‘good’ is not a word to describe this production. ‘Phenomenal’ is a better choice.

. . .‘good’ is not a word to describe this production. ‘Phenomenal’ is a better choice.

“Once,” the 2012 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, is about a struggling musician who is full of self doubt, but after he crosses paths with a girl who is nothing but supportive, the two fill the voids in each other’s lives, by giving the other the push they need to be successful. Full of wonderful music and lyrics, “Once” is enjoyable from the opening notes, to the final bows.

MusicalFare sets the bar high with this one. The cast, of multitalented individuals, not only sing and act in the show, but they provide their own accompaniment as they are the musicians in this piece. Before the show begins, the audience is invited onto the stage, deliciously designed by Chris Cavanagh, where a full service bar is open, selling refreshments. The cast enters the stage, and mingles with the audience members, before playing their instruments and encouraging the audience to ‘get back to their seats.’ It is a fantastic display of breaking the forth wall, and giving the audience the true experience that every piece of theatre should.

The cast is truly inspiring in this piece. As an actor and musician, I hope to reach the caliber of showmanship that this collective group reaches in this show. My mouth dropped in awe, and I had to pick it up off the ground numerous times. I was just blown away.

Leading the cast in the roles of Guy and Girl are Steve Copps and Renee Landrigan, respectfully. These two both give fantastic performances and complement each other so well. While this show is not your typical love story, the chemistry that they both bring to the table is wonderful, and keeps you engaged the entire time.

The entire ensemble creates wonderful entertainment, with standout performances by Jacob Albarella, Amy Jakiel, Bob Mazierski, and Nick Stevens.

The cast plays the score beautifully, under the musical direction of Theresa Quinn. The energy that comes from the music jumpstarts your pulse, and if you didn’t have a pulse walking into the theater (you probably should have gone to the hospital) you had one when you left.

One thing that really amazes me, and this is something that I notice often, are the scene transitions. Sometimes transitions are clunky, or poorly timed, but this production of “Once” has seamless transitions that actually took my breath away. I would rate this to Broadway scene transitions. The attention to detail is admirable and is something that every theatre company in Buffalo should aim for in their productions.

One production that MusicalFare has done that always stays in my mind as one of their best is “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and to this day I still talk about it, but I think that show will be replaced with “Once.” There is simply nothing like it. Go see this show!

Running Time: 2 Hours and 15-minutes including an intermission.

Advisory: Language and suggestive content.

“Once” runs until May 27, 2018 and is presented at MusicalFare Theatre. For more information, click here.