by Melissa Barrie

Jersey Boys is not just your average musical. It is the biography of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; from their beginning as blue-collar kids on the wrong side of the tracks to becoming one of the greatest sensations in pop music history, selling 175 million records worldwide before they were 30. The show traces the rise and fall of their careers while satisfying your craving for jukebox hits such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Enjoy this Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award winning musical at Shea’s April 21st- May 9th. Ticket prices range from $22.50-$127.50 and can be obtained through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or at the Shea’s Ticket Office at 650 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203.

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by Susan Braun

Shea’s Performing Arts Center has just announced its 2010-11 M & T Bank Broadway Series. A quick glance at the schedule indicates that the up-coming season has something for everyone. Here’s a quick rundown.

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh kick off the season October 14-31, 2010 with a new touring production of the Tony®-award winning musical, Mary Poppins. You can learn more about the play at www.marypoppins.com

A new stage production of Dreamgirls will arrive December 14-19, 2010. This play tells the story of Effie White, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson, who form an R & B trio in the 1960’s known as The Dreamettes. Starting as back-up singers, the three soon find themselves front and center as musical superstars. The show alludes to the lives and careers of The Supremes and the rise of Motown Records and features hits such as “One Night Only” and “Listen.” Visit www.dreamgirlsonstage.com

Look out for Shrek the Musical to be onstage February 22-27, 2011! An ogre, a princess with a mind of her own, a donkey who talks non-stop, a nasty short-tempered guy and a cookie are just a few of the “characters” you’ll come across in this Tony® and Academy® award winning musical. (www.shrekthemusical.com)

Young Frankenstein is next onstage March 22-27, 2011. This new production is based on the Mel Brooks film of the same name and is a hilarious interpretation of the story of Dr. Frankenstein’s attempts to create a monster. The music and lyrics were written by Mel Brooks who co-wrote the play. (www.youngfrankensteinthemusical.com)

Back by popular demand, Wicked will be in town April 27—May 22, 2011. The New York Times recently named Wicked “the defining musical of the decade”. We all know the story of Dorothy and her red shoes, but did you know that long before Dorothy arrived on the scene, a girl with emerald green skin and another who is beautiful and popular met in the Land of Oz and became the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, the Good Witch? Come see Wicked and find out how it all happened! (www.wickedthemusical.com)

It’s been more than 50 years since West Side Story opened on Broadway and yet, it is still timely today. The musical is set in 1950’s New York, against a backdrop of rivalries between 2 street gangs of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, led by Bernardo, are all first generation Americans from Puerto Rico while the Jets, led by Riff, are all from working-class families who consider themselves the “real” Americans. The story revolves around Tony, a member of the Jets, and Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks who meet and fall in love. Musical theater changed dramatically after West Side Story originally opened because it used a romantic story filled with memorable music and dancing to comment on social justice issues. Don’t miss West Side Story on stage June 7-12, 2011. (www.broadwaywestsidestory.com)

Season tickets for the 2010-2011 M & T Broadway Series are on sale now. For more information and to order tickets, visit www.sheas.org , stop by the Shea’s Ticket Office at 650 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203 or call 716-847-0850.

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by Mark Utzig

ChicagoBuffalo’s much anticipated theatre season is back! The curtains have risen in Buffalo’s theatre district and Shea’s Performing Arts Center is kicking things off with a fan favorite! The triumphant hit musical, Chicago the Musical, will be showing from September 22- 27. Chicago tells the story of corruption in the criminal justice system in prohibition Chicago. It’s based on a 1926 play by news reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins who wrote stories on real criminals and the crimes they committed. Now’s your chance to experience a musical masterpiece…and all that jazz! Not only will you get the pleasure of seeing an award winning show, but will get to view the truly breathtaking and historic Shea’s theatre. Opening its doors in 1926, Shea’s has returned itself to its original grandeur and it’s a must see.

For information about historic Shea’s theatre or ticket information, go to www.sheas.org.

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by Kelsey Bradbury

M&TBankToday I took the opportunity to be a tourist in my own city, heading out on the self-guided “Walk Buffalo” tour, available free of charge from the Buffalo Niagara Visitor’s Center.

The introduction in the tour guidebook tells an abridged story of Buffalo’s past and forecasts the city’s bright and promising future. The tour guide includes written directions to each location and a labeled map. Those who take the “Walk Buffalo” tour can look for a blue buffalo painted on the sidewalk in front of each site.

The 2.5 mile tour begins at the Market Arcade Building, located at 617 Main Street, home of the Visitors Center and the offices of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, then continues down Main Street and to a few notable sites in the immediate area.

I was immediately smitten with the calm, but charming M&T Center (site #3), located across from Fountain Plaza. Noting the wide variety of eateries close by, I made a mental note to keep this space in mind as the perfect spot to take a break and savor a sandwich or a cup of coffee after a day in downtown Buffalo.

From there, I passed a number of impressive buildings with impressive histories. In addition to devoting a few paragraphs to tell the story of the site, the tour guidebook lists the architect and the date each building was built. Many are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and date back to the “gilded age” of Buffalo, when the city was a hub of cultural activity and majestic architectural development.

Old County Hall, St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, historic hotels, and numerous commerce buildings are the highlights of this 28-stop tour. The tour finishes up with Chippewa Street and Shea’s Buffalo Theater, two points of interest which are best seen in the evening. In the afternoon, Chippewa Street is a great place to stop for lunch or an appetizer, but it is much livelier in the moonlight, as it is the hub of Buffalo nightlife and theater. Shea’s is the anchor of the Downtown Buffalo Theatre District, with a regal interior and a reputation for world-class shows. At night, the famous “Shea’s Buffalo” sign twinkles with a classy, retro brilliance.

For more information about the Walk Buffalo tour visit www.walkbuffalo.com or stop by the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Center, located at 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203.

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By Carolyn Batt

jerseyboys

Last night, I attended Shea’s Performing Arts Center’s 2009-2010 Season Announcement. More than 1,000 people sat in anticipation during this annual unveiling ritual. I’m personally excited for the lineup this year, as a lot of exciting new shows are being thrown in with a couple of classics—making it an appealing year no matter what your style.

It’s a toss-up for which show I am most looking forward to, but the top three that I’m sure to get tickets for are:

In the Heights, winner of four 2008 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) is what I am most looking forward to seeing. Shea’s showed a preview of the show and even had a Broadway cast member flown in to sing one of the musical’s song. The score is a combination of hip hop, salsa, merengue and soul which should make for a lively, upbeat show.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze: Cirque shows are one of a kind, and if you’re into a more visually stunning show, this show should be at the top of your list. With aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and dancers, this is a show that the whole family will enjoy and will you leave you awe struck.

Jersey Boys: Everywhere I travel to, people are always buzzing about this show. From Las Vegas to Toronto, this show is popular across the continent and has won numerous Tony Awards. The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will play for three weeks in Buffalo. I’m told that this show is one that “men will be dragging the women to.”

The complete Broadway lineup:
Chicago September 22-27, 2009
Fiddler on the Roof: The Farewell Tour November 17-22, 2009
Cirque Dreams Holidaze December 15-20, 2009
In the Heights January 26-31, 2010
Grease March 23-28, 2010
Jersey Boys April 21-May 9, 2010

Season tickets are on sale now and that’s the best way to get priority seating. For more information, visit www.sheas.org and for more Buffalo Niagara performing arts events, visit our website.

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.