by Carolyn Batt

sheasThis weekend, I went to see the musical Mamma Mia! at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.Shea’s is located in the heart of Buffalo’s Theatre District, which is home to a dozen different theatres. The playhouse itself is a very cool 1920’s venue, built in the style of a European opera house with a Tiffany-designed interior. It’s worth taking a trip just to see the theatre itself (and if you’re interested, Shea’s offers guided tours).

It has ample seating—with just over 3000 plush seats, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. In addition to its orchestra and balcony seating, Shea’s also has loge seating, which is a lower level of the balcony, and mezzanine seating along the sides. It has amazing acoustics (Neil Young played here last year) and isn’t just one of those of externally good looking theatres that leaves you sitting in near silence, squinting in your seats to see the stage.

The great thing too about Shea’s is that it offers more than just a great venue, with an outstanding events calendar. Shea’s showcases huge Broadway musicals, plays, comedians and even rock concerts. Its Broadway season runs from September-June, and features some of the best Broadway shows in Buffalo. The production of these shows and quality of the seating is right on par with seeing a show in New York or Toronto. There are still three remaining Broadway productions: The Wizard of Oz in March, A Chorus Line in May and The Color Purple in June. There are also special engagement shows that run throughout the entire year.