Go See Theatre: 2016-17 Season Promises Invaluable Experiences

Buffalo theater community celebrates season commencement with 35th annual Curtain Up! on Main Street


Marina Laurendi and Arianne Davidow perform in “Gypsy,” at MusicalFare. Photo by Jesse Sloier ’17.

curtain up on main streetIt’s finally September in Buffalo and the theater community is ready to begin again. Friday, September 16, marked the official opening of the season, celebrated by Curtain Up! since 1982.

For Curtain Up! theaters across Buffalo open their houses for 8 pm start times and present the first of their seasonal offerings to excited audiences. Following the shows, theatergoers, actors and creators spill onto Main Street for an arranged street party, dressed to the nines. This year, attendees buzzed excitedly about the performances, the future of the theater in Buffalo, and their expectations for the season. The street party included six stations for music, five events categorized as “other”, and seven stops for food.  The celebration lasted well past midnight.

With a new theater season comes new productions, revivals of old favorites and plenty of Christmas specials. This September, SEM students have previewed shows presented by MusicalFare in Amherst and the Irish Classical Theatre on Main Street in Buffalo. Although some theaters open their shows early, (MusicalFare Theatre opened Gypsy on September 7) they still participate in the official celebration.

Katie Thomas ’14, Jesse Sloier ’17, Tracy Clark ’17, Becca Thomas ’17, Morgan Baker ’17 and Jade Johnson ’17 at MusicalFare for a preview of Gypsy.

The Buffalo theater community is open to all SEM students and has become a place where many of our students feel comfortable, but there is always room for more.

On the subject of exploring theater, Ms. Susan Drozd said, “SEM introduces you to theater in a way that you feel like you have a place in culture, where you can walk into any theater and see a play without having read it, and leave knowing more than you did when you walked in.”

Anyone who’s taken a theater class or been a part of one of SEM’s productions knows theater makes you smart. Reading, performing, and watching theater gives you a wider perspective, beyond SEM and into lives around the world. SEM provides countless chances to indulge in this art form, to learn and to grow.

Tara Porter '17, Morgan Baker '17, Nia Massey '19, Elissa Szymck '20, and Katherine Sands '13
Tara Porter ’17, Morgan Baker ’17, Nia Massey ’19, Elissa Szymck ’20 and Katherine Sands ’13 at Irish Classical for a preview of Sweet Bird of Youth.

Buffalo Seminary Theatre has especially strong connections with MusicalFare Theatre and the Irish Classical Theatre Company. Our own theater teacher Susan Drozd is the resident hair, wig, and makeup designer at both theaters. Ms. Kari Drozd is the resident costume designer at MusicalFare, and Mr. Brian Cavanagh is the resident lighting designer and occasional director at Irish Classical. Both theaters have amazing seasons lined up, which you can learn more about on their websites: musicalfare.com and irishclassical.com. If you are interested in being notified about opportunities to attend previews, contact Ms. Drozd.

The rest of the 2016-2017 theater season presents multiple opportunities for SEM students to see plays they’ve studied, playwrights they’ve read, even shows they’ve acted in or worked on.

As we enter this new and exciting season, happy opening to all!

List of shows with which SEM has a connection, organized by opening date:

Gypsy September 7 to October 9, 2016
Presented by: MusicalFare Theatre
Hair, wigs and makeup by Ms. Drozd
Costumes by Ms. Kari Drozd (who also designs costumes for SEM productions)
Musical direction by former SEM music teacher Theresa Quinn
Production Photographer Jesse Sloier ‘17

My Fair Lady September 16 – October 2, 2016
Presented by: Niagara Regional Theatre Guild
Based off of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, taught in Theater Styles: Dead
Ms. Drozd directed a production of My Fair Lady at MusicalFare in 2010

Sweet Bird of Youth September 16 – October 9, 2016
Presented by: Irish Classical Theatre Company
A play by Tennessee Williams, taught in multiple classes
Hair, makeup, and wigs by Ms. Drozd, lighting by Mr. Cavanagh

Jitney September 30 – October 23, 2016
Presented by: Paul Robeson Theatre, African American Cultural Center
Last year, Playing with a Playwright read all 10 plays of August Wilson’s century cycle. Jitney was the first one, and has not been produced locally in many years.

Equus October 28 – November 20, 2016
Presented by: Irish Classical Theatre Company
A play by Peter Shaffer
Hair, makeup, and wigs by Ms. Drozd, lighting by Mr. Cavanagh

Amadeus January 20 – 22, 2017
Presented by: Irish Classical Theatre and the BPO, at Kleinhans Music Hall
Taught in Theater Styles: Alive
Hair, makeup, and wigs by Ms. Drozd, lighting by Mr. Cavanagh

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof January 27 – February 12, 2017
Presented by: Niagara Regional Theatre Guild
Taught in Theater Styles

A View From the Bridge March 3 – 26, 2017
Presented by: Kavinoky Theatre
A play by Arthur Miller

Steel Magnolias March 20 – 21, 2017
Presented by: Springville Center for the Arts
Taught in Intro to Acting

Proof March 23 – April 2, 2017
Presented by: Buffalo Laboratory Theatre
Taught in Theater Styles: Alive and Kicking

Night Mother March 24 – April 9, 2017
Presented by: Brazen-Faced Varlets
Taught in Advanced Acting

The Winslow Boy April 21 – May 14, 2017
Presented by: Irish Classical Theatre Company
Directed by the amazing lighting designer for SEM productions, Mr. Cavanagh
Hair, makeup, and wigs by Ms. Drozd

The Drowsy Chaperone May 5 – 21, 2017
Presented by: Niagara Regional Theatre Guild
A play by Bob Martin, taught in Theater Styles

Radium Girls June 15 – 24, 2017
Presented by: Subversive Theatre Collective
Buffalo Seminary Theatre produced this show in the fall of 2015!

Ms. Drozd is also considering teaching all of the plays for the Jewish Reparatory Theatre’s season, including:

4,000 Miles October 27 – November 20
After the Revolution February 9 – March 5
The Great God Pan April 27 – May 21
All of these plays were written by Amy Herzog.