2012 Ends with Holiday Treats
Darwin McPherson | Nov 2, 2012, midnight
As we approach the holiday season, Western New York theater offers many opportunities for merriment.
Back in May 2010, Shea’s Smith Theatre audiences were enthusiastically engaged with Steve Solomon’s one-man show My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy. A master dialectician, Solomon brought dozens of characters to life as he presented a comically critical look at his life and family from all angles.
The show spent two years off-Broadway in New York and became one of the longest running one-man comedy shows in history. It still tours around the country.
Following up on his initial success, Solomon created two sequels: My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m STILL in Therapy and My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home for the Holidays, the latter of which is coming to the Smith Theatre this month. It’s a dysfunctional family reunion as Solomon celebrates the holidays in this all-new special.
The show runs November 7–18 at Shea’s Smith Theatre (800-745-3000).
Time for Simon
Like Solomon, Neil Simon is also a storyteller from the New York area (however, his career has been abundantly more prolific). Since the 1950s, Simon’s writing has delighted audiences on television (Your Show of Shows), on stage (The Odd Couple), and the big screen (The Goodbye Girl).
We here in WNY have seen frequent productions of Simon’s plays in various corners of the region with recent stagings of Barefoot in the Park, Jake’s Women, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor, to name a few. November brings us two more works from the Simon canon.
RSDP Productions (who produced last year’s hit The Second Time Around) chose God’s Favorite from a list produced by the LOH board. “It seemed perfect for us,” says director and RSDP cofounder Susan Toomey. “RSDP has always tried to produce comedies that leave the audience smiling and uplifted. This piece has the potential to do both.”
God’s Favorite is a modern-day version of the story of Job starring Jon Summers (as Joe Benjamin) and Gerry Maher (as Sidney Lipton).
“The Odd Couple-like banter between the two characters is extremely funny,” Toomey says. “Summers’ performance is humorously staid and pious creating the perfect straight man for Buscaglia’s tremendous sense of comic timing.”
God’s Favorite plays November 9–18 at the Lancaster Opera House (683-1776).
Niagara University Theatre offers Simon’s first farce, Rumors, wherein a New York City politician accidentally shoots himself before a big party.
To avoid scandal, his lawyer tries to hide the information from the media and the police. As more guests arrive, the level of chaos (and hilarity) rises. Note: Rumors contains adult language and is not suitable for children.
Directed by NU adjunct speech professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe, Rumors runs November 8–18 in the Leary Theatre in the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre at Niagara University in Lewiston (286-8685).
Christmas Time is Here
Want to get in the holiday spirit? Here’s a quick list of highlights over the next few weeks.
WKBW chief meteorologist Mike Randall stars in Charles Dickens Presents: A Christmas Carol, which presents the Scrooge story in a one-man show as Dickens himself performed it. Randall’s show is on the road throughout Western New York. For an updated list of venues and contact information, visit charlesdickenslive.com.
- Mike Randall’s one-man performances visit the Historical Society and elsewhere.