Top 10 Shows of 2017

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Buffalo Theatre Guide has been honored to be welcomed into the Buffalo community with open arms. In just a few short months since we launched, the theatre community has taken to us, and with that, we are very proud to be here. We are proud to present the Top 10 Shows of 2017, based on page visits, for 2017. Theatres that placed will receive a printed certificate in the mail in the new year! Please join us in congratulating the winners. These are the Top 10 Shows of 2017, in the order they placed!

10. “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” by Road Less Traveled Productions at Shea’s 710 Theatre.

Read Review.

The cast of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at Shea’s 710 Theatre.

9. “Killer Rack – The Feminist Horror Musical Comedy” at Alleyway Theatre

READ Review.

 

8. “Violet”  at MusicalFare Theatre

READ Review.

 

7. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Aurora Players

READ Review.

 

6. “Beauty and the Beast” at Theatre in the Mist

READ Review.

 

5. “The Light In The Piazza” by Second Generation Theatre Company at Lancaster Opera House

READ Review.

 

4. “Billy Elliott The Musical” at Lockport Palace Theatre

READ Review.

The Cast of “Billy Elliot The Musical” at Lockport Palace Theatre.

 

3. “Steel Magnolias” at Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre

READ Review.

 

2. “9 to 5 The Musical” by Rocking Horse Productions at Lancaster Opera House

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The cast of “9 to 5 The Musical” by Rocking Horse Productions at Lancaster Opera House.

 

1. “The Producers” at Kavinoky Theatre

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The Cast of ‘The Producers’ at Kavinoky Theatre.

 

 

 

Theatre Review: ‘The Light In The Piazza’ by Second Generation Theatre Company at Lancaster Opera House

Che bella.

Absolutely everything about this production of ‘The Light in the Piazza’ – a Western New York premiere – (it played at the Shaw Festival a few years ago) is simply beautiful. The starkly elegant set, the period perfect costumes, the casting, direction, and the music create a romantic and poignant night in Italy.

. . .simply beautiful

Director Loraine O’Donnell’s decision to pull the production off the elevated Opera House stage and put it on a thrust stage was inspired. This created a great audience vibe: we were part of Clara and Fabrizio’s love story. And what a love story!   It plays like a contemporary Italian opera with flashes of Fellini cinema Italiano, too, as you’re drawn into this story of starry eyed love and parental protection. Mother and daughter Americans Margaret Johnson (Debbie Pappas Sham) and Clara Johnson (Kelly Copps) are vacationing in Florence in 1953, re-visiting the tourist spots from Margaret’s honeymoon. “It’s a city of statues and stories,” says Margaret as daughter Clara is sketching things that catch her eye. Clara is a “special child,” Margaret explains. To our eyes, Clara is a beautiful adult, but her charming childlike qualities soon appear.  In a moment of theatre magic, Clara’s wide-brim hat flies away, to be caught by Fabrizio (Anthony Lazzaro).  Their eyes meet, halting sweet words are exchanged, and Clara is determined to see him again.

Ah, love. Ah, parental agita over family secrets and cultural differences. The story unfolds as Clara and Margaret meet Fabrizio’s family. Marc Sacco is a hoot as the philandering brother Giuseppe. He has the facial expressions and moves down pat.  Rebecca Runge as his wife Franca tries to warn Clara about life with a passionate Italian man in “The Joy You Feel.” Runge’s rich voice soars. Katy Miner is the matriarch with the spotlight in Act Two’s “Aiutami” (translation: help me). Matt Witten is the solid papa, proud, strong, protective in his own way.

It’s Margaret, Clara, and Fabrizio who win and warm the audience’s collective hearts. Pappas Sham is the stoic Southern mom: her tenderness as she sings “The Beauty Is” is breathtaking. Copps as Clara is that curious combination of innocent and passionate as she discovers love and struggles to claim her maturity. Lazzaro plays Fabrizio with a gentle wisdom and a powerful voice for love.

Allan Paglia led a string-dominated chamber ensemble that was lush and lovely, and stood up well to the powerful vocal talent in the cast.

The show’s music and lyrics were written by Adam Guettel and he lived up to grandfather Richard Rodgers’ roots by including an overture and entr’acte which are rare in contemporary musical theatre. But the whole show is that exquisite and rare moment, where musical styles collide and meld, language barriers are crossed, and true love triumphs.

Running Time: 2 Hours 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.

“The Light in the Piazza” runs until June 18, 2017, is produced by Second Generation Theatre Company and is presented at The Lancaster Opera House in Lancaster. For more information, click here.