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

READ Review.

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

 

1. “The Producers” at Kavinoky Theatre

READ Review.

The Cast of ‘The Producers’ at Kavinoky Theatre.

 

 

 

Theatre Review: ‘Violet’ at MusicalFare Theatre

The cast of “Violet” at MusicalFare Theatre. Photos by Jesse Sloier and Chris Cavanagh

There’s no denying the seemingly dark times we are all stuck in. This is when good theater becomes a life-saving remedy, letting us escape the fears and uncertainty of the outside world and cling on to hope. If there was ever a musical where the feeling of hope is a character, it would be “Violet.”

. . . filled with heartwarming moments and great, inspiring vocals.”

MusicalFare’s production, directed by Susan Drozd, opened this week and is a welcome, feel-good show.  The story, based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, follows Violet, a young woman plagued with a hideous  facial scar after a freak accident with an axe. Having spent her life being stared at and ridiculed for her face, she embarks on a bus trip from North Carolina to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be healed by a televangelist.

Michele Marie Roberts is vocally stunning as Violet. Jeanine Tesori’s lively, soulful music offers many opportunities for Roberts’ voice to soar and she does not disappoint. While there isn’t a lot of time spent on the depth of Violet’s struggles, Roberts conveys her overwhelming faith  that she will be healed in an endearing way.

Dudney Joseph, Jr. is incredible as Flick, one of the soldiers who befriends Violet on the bus. His songs are a highlight and he delivers a lovable character. Ben Michael Moran is unstoppable as the preacher, nearly blowing the roof off of the theater with his energy and entertaining performance.

Additionally, the flashback scenes between young Violet (a promising performance by Maria Farugia) and her father (Jeffrey Coyle) are the best acted in the show, both heartwarming and heartbreaking at times.

Theresa Quinn did an excellent job directing Tesori’s music, highlighting  each of the twelve actors with various solos and bit parts while also honing their strength as an ensemble. Ember Tate specifically shines during the music hall scene, showing off sweet, luscious vocal chops.

The story flows quickly and effortlessly, However, the plot and characters are rather underdeveloped, though it appears that is the fault of the musical itself, not this production specifically.

Overall, MusicalFare’s rendition of “Violet”  is filled with heartwarming moments and great, inspiring vocals. If you have the time and you’re looking for a feel-good show, add this to your November calendar.

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours including a 15 minute intermission

“Violet” runs until December 3, 2o17 and is presented at MusicalFare Theatre. For more information, click here.

 

First Look: ‘Violet’ by MusicalFare Theatre

There are those who go to the theatre to be exposed to stories. There are those who go to the theatre to be entertained, and there are those who go to the theatre to seek personal change. How can we be a better person?  How can we learn to be empathetic to those who are not as fortunate as us?

“I believe that theatre changes people,” says Susan Drozd, the director of MusicalFare Theatre’s next show of the season “Violet.” “You go in as one person and you leave as another.”

Theatre changes people? It can when the story that is presented to the audience includes characters who are relatable. We have all had problems, and sought help to fix problems that we find to be important. In the story of “Violet,” a woman’s journey to be cured from a scarring accident is one that many audience members will find relatable.

“This show is beautifully placed in the season,” says Drozd, “it’s a story about change and forgiveness, understanding who we are, and the communities that we are part of.”

“Violet” is based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts. It premiered off-Broadway in 1997 and after a revamp it premiered on Broadway in 2014. “The show was tweaked and the story was made clearer,” says Drozd.

The story is simple. Violet experiences a tragic accident when she is younger, that leaves a scar on her face. Being self conscious of the scar for her entire life, Violet saves money to visit a Evangelist in Tulsa Oklahoma who has had success in curing people who have come to him for help. “It’s not the most predictable story,” says Drozd, “we as the audience are always wondering who she is going to meet next on her journey.”

Drozd says that the cast in this show has really outdone themselves. “We see some regular performers in this show, and some new performers. Each one of the cast has put in lots of care in their roles and they all carry the story well.”

Drozd says that listening to her actors sing the music by Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Shrek The Musical,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”) and lyrics by Brain Crawley is a wonderful experience. “Their voices are lovely to hear, and sometimes I find myself standing in-between them just listening.”

Drozd says that MusicalFare has been planning to produce “Violet” for a while, but the timing was just right now. “This is a Buffalo premiere, and I think our audiences will really enjoy this story. I always tell people to try a show that they don’t know. They will be pleasantly surprised.”

“Violet” runs November 2 – December 3, 2017 and is presented at MusicalFare Theatre. For more information, click here.

Promotional Consideration Paid For By The Theatre Alliance Of Buffalo