Local Matters

Community Sponsors


October 26, 2011 - 10:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Rotary Club, theater, entertainment.

The cast of "The Producers," this year's choice for the annual theater production of the Batavia Rotary Club (this year, in conjunction with Encore! Theatre Arts, is starting to nail their performances in rehearsals.

Director Lynda Hodgins invited me into the Batavia HS auditorium tonight to take some pictures during the non-dress rehearsal. She allowed me right on the stage during the performance. Thank you to the indulgence of the cast for carrying on as I moved around trying to get some interesting shots.

The show is high-energy and fun. It's not easy to take pictures when you're laughing out loud.

Starring are Steve Valvano and Cal Young as Max Bialystock and Leopold Bloom (pictured above).

The Mel Brooks-written musical is about a broadway producer whose career is in a downward trend when an accountant, Leopold Bloom, suggests that there's more money to be made in producing a real stinker of a show than in producing a hit.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 to 5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 6 at Batavia High School.

Tickets are $12 for the Nov. 3 show, and $15 for all other shows. Tickets may be purchased online at bataviarotary.com and encoretheatrearts.com, and in person at Lawley Insurance or The Insurance Center.

October 13, 2011 - 5:25pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in theater, GCC, Forum Players, one acts.

There's something for everyone in the Genesee Community College Forum Players' evening of "One Acts: Fast, Funny & Fabulous," which opens tonight at the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

"I wanted to give the students the widest variety of experiences I could," says GCC Fine Arts Director Maryanne Arena. "We have everything from a satire on Hamlet to a very farcical comedy to something very touching, and I like them all for different reasons. 'Naomi in the Living Room' is very slapstick, physical comedy. 'Blind Date' is the best written and the most poignant. 'Second Beam' is about actresses auditioning for a role, and I certainly haven't forgotten what that was like."

The aforementioned "Naomi in the Living Room" stars Peggy Marone as an insane, "child-like" woman who is visited by her son and his wife. Marone says the show was a step outside her usual comfort zone.

"At work sometimes I multitask and feel psychotic," Marone laughs. "But I don't know if I've ever been this psychotic." 

Tyler Eldred also faced challenges with character development, but for a different reason: Tyler is featured in three of the one acts -- "The Philadelphia", "15-Minute Hamlet", and "Foreplay or the Art of the Fugue" -- and plays four different characters within those shows. Although the third-year theater and theater tech student has been involved with shows offstage more often than on, he says he enjoys acting more than technical work.

"It's probably because I'm a sadist, and being onstage involves so much more work," he jokes. "It's also an opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone."

Emily Jones, a sophomore theater arts major, also has her acting hands full.  She is in four of the one acts, and performs with a singing and dancing quartet in between each show. 

"It's so hard," she says of getting into character for each performance. "With a regular show you have the whole show to work up to it, but with this you only have a few minutes for each show. It's probably the hardest thing I've done in 10  years."

Fellow sophomore theater major Patrick Dodge is just as busy as Jones, with involvement in five of the shows. His amount of stage time, he says, is approximately the equivalent of having a role in a full-length production.

His favorite show out of the five is "Blind Date" -- a Horton Foote comedy about a seemingly sullen teenage girl who is set up on a blind date by her aunt, a former beauty queen. 

"I get to play kind of a nerdy guy," he explains. "And secretly I'm very clumsy and nerdy."

Playing opposite Dodge in the role of the sullen teenage girl is Sarah Lawson, a sophomore education major. Lawson also enjoys portraying her "Blind Date" character, but for different reasons.

"It's been really interesting finding out who (my character) is," she says. "At first she seems like an unpleasant person, but she's really just lonely and not very skilled socially. And she loves Rudy Vallee."

Three of the shows--"The Philadelphia", "15-Minute Hamlet", and "The Second Beam" -- are directed by Norm Gayford, an English professor at the college who has been extremely involved with the Forum Players for the past five years. 

"It's very challenging because you have to keep changing moods, and it's hard getting everybody focused," he says about the evening's fast pace. "It's like reading multiple short stories rather than reading a novel."

The showtimes are as follows:

Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.; and Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for high school students, GCC faculty and staff, and senior citizens (55+), and $3 for GCC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or advance by calling 345-6814. The Stuart Steiner Theatre is located at 1 College Road in Batavia.

August 18, 2011 - 2:21pm
Event Date and Time: 
October 29, 2011 - 11:00am to 12:30pm

Hobnobbin’ Goblins Halloween Theme Puppet Show
by Robert Rogers Puppet Company
Saturday, October 29th at 11am
Tickets: $8/$5/$3
Special Buy One Get One Free – Buy one adult or senior ticket get a child ticket free!

A rousingly spooky (but not scary) Halloween celebration. It's the perfect occasion for elaborate marionettes (string puppets) expertly brought to life, to bring out the mischief and fun of this special holiday. Fun for all ages!

August 18, 2011 - 2:09pm
Event Date and Time: 
October 13, 2011 - 7:30pm to October 15, 2011 - 7:30pm

Forum Players performance of six “One Acts”, Fast, Funny and Fabulous!

Thursday – Saturday, October 13 – October 15 at 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee, October 16th at 2pm

Tickets: $8/$5/$3 - No Children under the age of 5!

Join the Forum Players for an evening of six one act plays! ‘The Philadelphia”, ‘The Second Beam” and “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet, directed by Norm Gayford. “Blind Date”, Naomi in the Living Room” and “Foreplay or the Art of the Fugue”, directed by Maryanne Arena.

July 12, 2011 - 2:28pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in theater, performances, rent, Harvester 56 Theater.

Jon used to think of himself as a promising composer, but...

"Instead, I've been promising for so long I'm afraid I'm about to break my promise."

That's the paraphrased line of the main character in "Tick, Tick...Boom," a semi-autographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the writer of "Rent." It will be performed this weekend at Harvester 56 Theater in Batavia.

Directors Shellene Bailey and Thorin Vallentin are members of the newly formed local theater group, JNS Productions -- named after the founders: Joel, Shellene, and Nick. They look forward to bringing this lesser known work of Larson's to the local stage.

"The music is very similar (to the music in "Rent")," Vallentin said. "It has some of the same styles, with roots in rock music but including various other styles as well."

"Rent" fans may be interested to know that Larson worked on this play first. When listening to the music, according to Vallentin, they might notice the seeds of a style that will further develop in the tunes of "Rent."

While it is similar to "Rent" stylistically, it has what Vallentin calls a "lighter feel."

"It's not as heavy," he said. "It does deal with emotional issues, but it's not as in-your-face."

The show also doesn't have as much R-rated material as "Rent," although there is some bad language (including the f-word) and a somewhat provocative dance number.

Pictured are Amanda Taylor and Drew Williams, the actors in the roles of Susan (Jon's girlfriend) and Jon, an aspiring Broadway playwright

A little information on the story: Jon is approaching his 30th birthday, and he is having what Williams calls a "pre-midlife crisis."

"His career isn't where he thought it would be by the time he turned 30," Bailey said.

At this pivotal point in his life, Jon has to decide whether he wants to continue to pursue a career in musical theater, which is his true passion, or choose a safer and more realistic path in life, as Susan and Michael, Jon's friend since childhood and an executive in corporate America, advise.

"He doesn't want to give up his dream," Bailey said.

Williams said he sees a couple of similarities between himself and the character he's portraying.

Like Jon, Williams is also about to turn 30.

"Also, he has a real passion for music," he said, "like I do. So I can kind of relate."

"Tick, Tick...Boom!" will have four performances: this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and then a matinée at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

General admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.showtix4u.com (through the Batavia Players, Inc). People can also buy tickets at the door.

At this point, there are still tickets available for all four shows. The Harvester 56 theater seats about 110 people.

For more information, e-mail Nick Russo at [email protected]

April 7, 2011 - 12:18pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in theater, Genesee Community College.

This Thursday, the London smash hit "Blood Brothers" will make its local debut at Genesee Community College. 

The show, written by Willy Russell, is based on the 1844 novella "The Corsican Brothers." It has won multiple awards, including the 1983 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and a Tony nomination.

The current West End revival is one of the longest-running productions in history due to its nearly 20-plus year run. But despite its immense popularity across the pond, the musical is rarely heard of, much less performed, in America. 

Director Maryanne Arena says its obscurity is one of the reasons she chose "Blood Brothers." 

"I like doing shows that not everyone does," she said.

The story centers around two twins who are tragically separated at birth, grow up in radically different environments, and become best friends, all the while unaware of their biological connection.

It is a musical, with songs that Arena describes as "a cross between '70s pop and Broadway tunes." Much of the score is accentuated with dancing by Tara Pocock and Leland Fuller.

The director chose the show for both personal and professional reasons.

"The show has always been very close to me because I'm adopted, and it's partially about adoption. I think the topic of nature versus nurture is very interesting: are the genes our parents gave us ones we can't get away from, or is it a matter of our environment and how we're raised? And also, I always pick a show where the kids learn new things. In this case, it was the dialect."

Said dialect is a British accent -- but not the traditional posh one that first comes to mind when thinking of the English. The actors had to learn to talk with a "Northern British" accent, which Arena describes as having stronger Irish and Scottish undertones.

Cal Young, the first-year theater major portraying the twin Mickey, says that prior to the auditions he hadn't ever heard of "Blood Brothers."

"At first I was a little skeptical," he says. "But after a while I began to really relate to the characters emotionally."

Mickey's other half, Edward, is played by Anthony Shoap. Like his fictional twin, he is also a first-year theater major, and also wasn't familiar with the show before this production.

"At first I didn't really like it," he admits. "But I've come to like it a lot more in these past few weeks now that I'm starting to understand all the underlying subtext better."

The story is partially told by a narrator, who is alternately played by Alex Grayson and Patrick Dodge. The role of Mrs. Johnstone, the real biological mother of the twins, is also double-cast with Kiley Conklin and Emily Jones.

"I really couldn't make up my mind," Arena explains of her decision to double-cast the roles. "They all auditioned equally well."

All four of the actors agree that sharing a role improves their performance. 

"It lightens the load," Grayson explains. "It's nice having someone else there to check your performance and help you out."

Although they may be playing the same parts, each of the double-cast actors has created a slightly different character. 

"It's hard to justify the narrator," Dodge says. "He isn't exactly a person. He's sort of a devil-type character. It's interesting to see how Alex interprets the character -- he's not as evil and devilish."

Jones agrees that although being double-cast is "definitely a challenge," it's "something to learn from. We do things differently and have different takes on the show."

For the performances, when they are not playing their main parts, the other narrator and the other Mrs. Johnstone are in the background chorus. 

"Going back and forth gives you so much energy," Conklin says. "When I'm in the chorus playing a little kid, I get so much energy, and that gives more energy to my performance when I'm playing Mrs. Johnstone."

Ian Gayford is the musical director and Patti Simmons is the choreographer.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 7-9 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and there is a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, students, and GCC faculty/staff, and $3 for GCC students with a valid ID. There is a $2 discount for GCC alums with Alum ID.

Tickets can be reserved in advance or puchased at the door. For more information or to make reservations, contact the GCC Box Office by e-mail ([email protected]) or telephone (345-6814). The box office is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and also one hour prior to a performance.

March 18, 2011 - 7:17pm

Lights were dimming for the beginning of dress rehearsal when I took this picture -- it's of the poster for Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School's 2011 musical production, "Little Shop of Horrors."

Based on the Broadway rock musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, "Little Shop" is the story of a shy, nervous store clerk who dreams of finding a way out of the lousy job and circumstances he's stuck in, a young girl with low self-worth and an abusive boyfriend, and a plant that talks, sings and eats people.

This is the latest performance in a district known for its high standards for school musicals. Le Roy has been selected as one of the top 100 communities for music education in the country on multiple occasions, according to Bradley Meholick, director of music for the district.

He attributes this honor to the high level of dedication on the part of students, staff, administrators and parents, all working together in support of music in the schools.

March 14, 2011 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, theater.

This month, the Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College will present the Jack Stokes play, "Nobody Likes Mordacious (And that's the Way He Likes It)."

Local schools are invited to the daytime private performances of the show scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24. One final performance is scheduled for the public at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25.

Special ticket prices for Friday's performance for family patrons include a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) ticket special. Patrons may buy one adult or senior ticket and get one children ticket free.

Patrons may also "check in" to Genesee Community College on social media platforms such as Foursquare or Facebook, using a mobile device, to receive the BOGO special. Patrons just need to show their "check-in" from their mobile device at the box office when purchasing tickets.

The play is a lively stage fantasy that presents the audience with a young girl named Orafu, who needs to rescue her parents from the ploys of a very wicked fellow. On an epic quest laced with humor, Orafu encounters genies, shadows, monsters, pirates and enlists the aid of a witch-fighting guide in order to restore her family. This play is appropriate for any audience, particularly elementary and middle-school children.

GCC Forum Players cast members are: Tyler Eldred (Dansville) as Chairman; the Narrator, Latoya Soloman (Rochester) as Assistant to the Chairman; and a utility player, Faith Horne (Rochester) as Orafu; a girl going on an adventure, Elizabeth Daniels (Albion); Mother of Orafu, Bobby Steeves, (Albion), Father of Orafu and a utility player, Alex Farley (Pembroke); Mordacious, a wicked fellow, Jamie Hicks (Sterling); Madam Swizzle, a famous fighter of witches, Heather Hilderbrandt  (Lockport); Mordy's Mother and a utility player, Alayna Zimbrick (Hilton); Sailor One, and a utility player, Joanne Taheri (Clarence and Newfane); Mad Maude, a vicious pirate, Sailor Two and a utility player, Alex Grayson (Watertown); Captain Doodlesack, a ship commander, Patrick Dodge (Warsaw); Genie, the Huge and Hairy Thing and a utility player, Ben Liebrand (Greece), Bloody Bernard, a vicious pirate, Nikkia Travis (Rochester); Crazy Catherine, a vicious pirate captain and utility player, Trevlyn Henry (Bronx).

"Nobody Likes Mordacious (And that's the Way He Likes It)," is directed by Norm Gayford, professor in the Humanities Department at GCC. This is his fifth year associated with GCC's theater and his third directing the Children's Theatre show.

Technical and Stage direction by Ed Hallborg, theater technical director and instructor in GCC's Fine and Performing Arts Department, and Jessica Yost, of Albion, a first-year GCC student, is the stage manager.

General admission ticket prices for the public performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 25 are $8 for adults, $5 for senior (55+), students and Genesee faculty and staff, and $3 for Genesee students with a valid GCC ID. GCC Alumni receive a $2 discount on a ticket with a valid GCC Alumni ID card.

For more information on the daytime school performances, contact the Genesee Center for the Arts at 345-6814. The box office is normally open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and one hour prior to the start of each performance.

To reserve tickets, contact the Box Office at [email protected] <http://[email protected] > or call 345-6814. Don't forget BOGO! The Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office accepts cash, checks and now MasterCard and Visa credit cards.

February 22, 2011 - 2:24pm
Event Date and Time: 
February 26, 2011 - 7:00pm

The show will be held in the ECS Auditorium at 57 S. Main St.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students/seniors. They are available in the Elba District Office during school hours or at the door prior to the show. For more information call (585) 757-9967 

February 11, 2011 - 3:13pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in Batavia Players, theater, Harvester Avenue, love lines.

With mere days until Cupid shoots his arrow, it's only natural that love is in the air in even the most unlikely places -- including Harvester Avenue. "Love Lines," an original Batavia Players' production written and directed by Patrick Burk, will honor St. Valentine through a series of monologues about romantic correspondence before cell phones. 

Although love is a familiar theme for a show, the venue is anything but old.  "Love Lines" will mark the debut of the Batavia Players' new black box theater on Harvester Avenue.  Burk says that the actors have found the small, intimate setting to be very comfortable: 

"It's been wonderful. It's great having our own theater space, and having all of our costumes right here. People are getting very excited. It feels like home."

Rather than having a plot, the show is made up of monologues by 15 different characters. Most of the monologues -- with the exception of one, which is about love through modern technology -- consist of, you guessed it, love lines.

A few classic love songs are mixed in throughout the show, as well as ongoing piano accompaniment by Jeffrey Fischer (pictured above). The show doesn't need a plot to convey its message, which is that love can take on many different forms, and can affect everyone.

Burk gives the example of a friend's parents who shared their first names with Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Like the presidential couple, the other Ronald and Nancy had a relationship in which letters played a role.

"It shows the juxtaposition of how an unknown subway conductor and the most powerful man in the world can experience the same thing," he says.

Although all of the monologues are about love, not all of them center around traditional infatuation. The objects of affection featured range from Jane Austen to the aforementioned Reagans to the novel "Wuthering Heights."

A large part of the show is autobiographical: Burk's parents only met twice before marrying, resulting in over 150 love letters exchanged throughout their six-month engagement. These letters were the inspiration for the show, which Burk has been piecing together over the past several years. 

The actual rehearsals took no time, compared to the effort of putting the material together. The actors first saw their scripts less than three weeks ago. They rehearsed through a workshop-style format, a style that Burk says he would like to try again.

"It's been an interesting experience," he says. "I've enjoyed it immensely."

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 12 at the Harvester 56 Theater on Harvester Avenue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at the door or at www.showtix4u.com.

January 16, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, theater, entertainment, WNY Arts Society.

An original Broadway cast member of "RENT," Gwen Stewart, was back in Batavia this weekend, making a side trip while visiting friends in Buffalo, to catch the local performance of the hit musical. Stewart joined the WNY Arts Society cast on stage for one of the production numbers.

WNYAS's final performance of "RENT" is today at 2 at the Ross Street Performing Arts Center, Batavia Middle School, 96 Ross St., Batavia.

The Batavian still has a few specially discounted tickets available. Click here for more information.

January 13, 2011 - 4:00pm

IMG-10.jpgThis weekend, the Western New York Arts Society will return with a bang from a one-year hiatus with the enormously popular and acclaimed rock opera, "RENT." It's the society's first show since  "The Producers" in 2009, and one that most certainly will prove worth the wait.

"'The Producers' was just a gigantic show," said Jason Juliano, the head of the group and the producer of "RENT." It had a huge budget and a two-week run in both Batavia and Buffalo.

"We definitely needed a break after that was all done. This has a much lower budget, but that doesn't mean it's of a lower quality."

Director Ashley Bateman says the decision to do "RENT" was an easy one.

"It's always been my favorite show," she says. "And it's never done around here, so it's offering something new to the community."

The WNYAS has something of a history of producing "new" shows. "RENT" will join the ranks of the other successful, nontraditional productions that the company has performed, which include "Urinetown," "The Producers," and "Songs for a New World."

If the WNYAS name does not sound familiar, that's because the group has recently undergone a change in moniker. It was previously known as the Batavia Musical Society, but because of increasing participation from actors in the Buffalo and Rochester areas and performances in venues not in Batavia, the group felt the renaming would give them a greater opportunity to expand.

"RENT" is a modern-day version of the opera "La Boheme" set in New York City. It follows the lives of the young starving artists who live there as they struggle with HIV/AIDS. The show has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Musical, and enjoyed a 12-year run on Broadway.  

Mark, one of the aforementioned starving artists and the show's narrator, is portrayed by Jake Bortle of Le Roy.

"He's really, really, poor," Bortle says of his character. "He's extremely pathetic."

But regardless of the "pathetic"ness of Mark, Bortle says it is a role he has always wanted to play. Bortle, 17, is a senior at Le Roy High School and an active participant in the Genesee County theater community. He plans on attending Park Point University after graduation to study musical theater and hopes to someday work as a professional actor.  

Despite the fact that Bateman describes the show as "definitely PG-13," Bortle is not the only high school student involved. The cast of 16 is comprised mainly of teenagers and college students, with only a smattering of adults.

Although some of the themes may be inappropriate for children, Juliano says the show contains an "amazing message of tolerance and acceptance. Do not take anything for granted, and live every day as if it's your last because you never know when your last day will come. Live life to the fullest."

Performances of "RENT" are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, all at the Ross Street Performing Arts Center in the Batavia Middle School, located at 96 Ross St.

Reserved-seating tickets are $15 and can be puchased online at www.wnyas.com or by calling 585-201-3750. Tickets are also available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 pm. Friday at the Juliano Allstate Insurance Co. (located at 590 E. Main St., across from Aldi). At-the-door tickets will be available in the lobby at 6:30 p.m., and the house will open at 7. The theater is handicap accessible.


January 10, 2011 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in arts, Announcements, theater, GCC.

The Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College has announced the calendar for live performances for its 19th season at the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Live Performances in the Stuart Steiner Theatre:

The Forum Players start the spring season with the performance of In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, a modern interpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel, "The Scarlett Letter." The Forum Player's production is set in a post Hurricane Katrina backdrop that follows the daily trials of Hester, an illiterate, single, homeless, African-American woman who must find a way to rise above her situation and care for her five children.

Performance dates are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. onThursday, Feb. 3-5. Ticket prices are: $8 adults; $5 seniors (55+) and students and GCC faculty/staff; $3 GCC students with GCC ID; and a $2 discount for GCC alumni with GCC alumni card.

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra returns to Genesee Community College with its 64th season with two performances at the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

"Love Notes" will be performed at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13, with special guest Michael Ludwig, violin.

"GSO on Broadway" will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 1, featuring the GSO 2011 String Workshop Orchestra.

Ticket prices are: $12 adults; $8 seniors (62+); $5 students (18 & under or GCC students with a valid ID); or $30 per family (parent plus children 12 & under) and are available at the following locations:

Hi-Tek Graphics in Oakfield; Bank of Castile in LeRoy; Roxy's Music Store; GO ART!; The Enchanted Florist; and the Box Office at Genesee Community College in Batavia. Tickets are also available at the door one hour prior to the performance at the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Two acts of musical talent and originality will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25. Tony Brown and the Faithful, with opening act Swati.

Tony Brown is a former member of Upstate NY's infamous Ozone, now touring with his band the Faithful -- a gathering of experienced, eclectic musicians hailing from around the globe. Brown's soulful, powerful voice, along with the acoustic world vibe that his band mates bring, creates a sound that mixes blues, folk and alternative rock.

Opening act Swati, a NYC native who began her musical career in the classical world, plays a 12-string guitar that has been fitted with eight. Ticket prices are: $12 adults; $10 seniors (55+); $5 students (18-) and GCC faculty/staff; $3 GCC students with GCC ID; and a $2 discount for GCC alumni with GCC alumni card.

A concert by the Genesee Chorale and Chorale Orchestra, "AElinor, the Oratorio," is also scheduled this spring at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 6 at the Stuart Steiner Theatre. Words and music by Ann Reid, and conducted by Ric Jones with the Genesee Chorale and the Chorale Orchestra.

This concert storyline takes place in 1147, AElinor, Countess of Poitou, Duchess of Aquitaine, and Queen of the Franks leads a band of women on the Second Crusade. In so doing, she learns about earthly love and her marriage to Louis VII, King of the Franks, is annulled. She runs off with Henry Plantagenet, a penniless lord. Six months later, the penniless lord becomes Henry II, King of England.

Developed in the Lehman Engel Workshop, Los Angeles, this project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Ticket prices are: $10 adults; $8 for seniors (62+) and students (18-); $5 GCC student with GCC ID; and $18 family (parent plus children under 17). Tickets are available at the Box Office at Genesee Community College, GO ART! in Batavia, and from all Chorale members.

The Fine and Performing Arts committee is pleased to have Stone Row returning to the Stuart Steiner Theatre for one performance at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 12. Stone Row is a fusion of Celtic, folk, country and rock that combines the local talent of four dynamically versatile musicians. Each band member brings a whole new spin with diversified attitudes and styles.

Ticket prices are: $10 adults; $8 seniors (55+); $5 students (18-) and GCC faculty/staff; $3 GCC students with GCC ID; and a $2 discount for GCC alumni with GCC alumni card.

The Genesee Center for the Arts continues its commitment to introducing performing art to children, families, and schools throughout the Western New York area with Nobody Likes Mordacious (And That's How He Likes It), a stage fantasy by veteran children's theatre playwright Jack Stokes.

The Forum Players and local grammar-school students present the audience with a girl who needs to rescue her parents from the stratagems of a very wicked fellow. On an epic quest laced with humor, she encounters genies, shadows, monsters, and pirates, and enlists the aid of a witch-fighting guide in order to restore her family.

Not everyone can be redeemed; sometimes evil is just plain evil; as always, bullies of any stripe must be confronted. These are just a few of the things Orafu learns on her quest. This show is appropriate for any audience, particularly elementary and junior-high students.

Performance dates are scheduled for Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24, by invitation only, and there will be one public performance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25. Ticket prices are: $8 adults; $5 seniors (55+), students, and GCC faculty/staff; and $3 GCC students with GCC ID.

The last live performance at the Stuart Steiner Theatre this spring is Blood Brothers by Willy Russell, performed by the Forum Players. Blood Brothers is one of the longest-running musicals in London theatre, with the 1988 West End production still running.

It is a musical that has a contemporary nature vs. nurture plot, revolving around fraternal twins who were separated at birth. The twins' different backgrounds take them to opposite ends of the social spectrum, leading up to a tragic ending.

Performance dates are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 through Saturday, April 9. A matinee is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Ticket prices are: $8 adults; $5 seniors (55+), students, and GCC faculty/staff; $3 GCC students with GCC ID; and a $2 discount for GCC alumni with GCC Alumni card.

For more ticket information or reservations, contact the Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office at 585/343-6814 or by email at <http://[email protected]>. All seating is general admission.

The Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office accepts cash and checks only, credit cards are not accepted. For door-to-door directions, sent via email, visit http://www.genesee.edu/


November 15, 2010 - 11:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, theater.


The Tony Award-winning rock opera "RENT" ran on Broadway for 5,124 performances and now a group of local actors are working on putting together a Batavia production that will run Jan. 13-16.

With the cast deep into rehearsals, they received a special visit at Batavia Middle School on Monday evening -- Gwen Stewart, one of the original cast members of "RENT" on Broadway stopped by for a visit.

After a short rehearsal, Stewart hopped onto the edge of the stage and talked about the importance and message of RENT, which dealt with what was a very controversial issue at the time -- AIDS.

She said because of advances in treatment, AIDS isn't the death sentence that it was when "RENT" opened in 1980, but the message of dealing with medical hardships is still relevant.

A couple of cast members mentioned that they had seen Stewart perform in "RENT," either on Broadway or in Rochester.

The local production of "RENT" is being staged by WNY Arts Society. For a complete cast list, click here. The director is Ashley Bateman, pictured above on the left with Stewart.


November 4, 2010 - 2:19pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in batavia, Batavia Rotary, theater.

oliver 2.jpg

Although tonight is the opening night for the Batavia Rotary's 62nd annual musical production, Director Patrick Burk is no stranger to this year's beloved selection.

"I was in 'Oliver' when I was very young, and I've directed it before," Burk says. "It's great for families and it's a classic story by Charles Dickens. A lot of people with young families will be able to connect to it, and that's the audience that we want to appeal to."

Burk, who lives in Batavia, is also accustomed to working with children, as he annually directs the GoArt! Summer Youth Theater productions, which have had as many as 80-plus children in their casts. However, this show is unique in its mix of young and old actors alike.

"Working with a combination of young kids and older adults is amazing," he says. "The way that the older people pick things up from the younger people, and vice versa, is very interesting to me."

One of the younger people is Jordan McNees, who has the title role of Oliver Twist. The 11-year-old from Brockport, who has previously appeared as Ralphie in Geva Theatre's production of "A Christmas Story," says that he has enjoyed working with the other kids.

"It's a lot of fun. They're all really nice, and they're all great influences on me," he says. "They give me tips and advice."

One thing that he needed no advice on was his British accent, which he picked up with little difficulty.

"I watched a lot of British movies, so it was actually pretty easy to get it," he says.

Burk says that vocal director Deanna Spiotta played a large role in helping the cast master their accents.

"Deanna is very good with accents and vocals," he says. "A lot of people ended up learning relatively quickly. The accents were especially important because the show has a lot of strong characters that call for strong vocalization."

Paul Spiotta, who has the role of Fagan, agrees that his daughter has done an impressive job.

"If I'm going to be completely honest, with all due respect to all the past vocal directors for Rotary shows I've been in, she's the best so far," he says. "She's really done a thorough job in preparing everyone."

The elder Spiotta says he has enjoyed getting into his villainous role.

"There are a couple of scenes where I have to be really mean, and I try to get better at those every night," he said.

The combination of young and old does not end on stage; there is a wide range of ages working behind the scenes as well. Jonathan Adams, who is around the age of many of the children in the show, is working as a stagehand while his brother and sister portray orphans.

"I basically help out and get props ready and make sure the actors aren't missing anything, and lift boxes and stuff," he explains. "I like helping so the actors won't have to do as much work, since they're already working a lot on stage. And so that Mr. Burk won't have to do as much."

No matter what age, everyone interviewed agrees that they are ready for opening night.

"I think it's going to be great," says McNees. "The cast has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the show, and there's so many fun and exciting parts. It'll make you laugh and cry."

Performances are tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Batavia High School auditorium. Tickets are $16 and can be purchased in advance at www.bataviarotary.com or at the door.

September 24, 2010 - 11:13am
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, theater, WNY Arts Society.

WNY Arts Society has announced auditions for its fall/winter production of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning production of RENT with performances January 13-16 in Batavia.

RENT will be directed by Ashley Bateman with vocal direction by Jacqueline McLean.

Auditions are from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday Sept. 25 and Noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 26 at the YWCA, 301 North St. in Batavia (enter from rear door).

Auditioners should prepare an audition song FROM A MODERN/ROCK MUSICAL
that’s at least 16-bars long. Please bring your own sheet music. Accompanist will be provided, no a cappella please.

There will be a dance/movement portion of auditions. Please come prepared to dance. There will NOT be any readings from the script as this show is 95 percent music. If
you’re being considered for a role, you will be asked to stay to sing from the show following auditions and/or be called back Sunday evening.

Anyone interested in auditioning is encouraged to visit www.WNYAS.com or call (585) 201-3750 for additional information and casting requirements.

RENT is the famed rock opera with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells a story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City.

RENT ran for 5,124 performances on Broadway making it the 8th longest
running production. It closed Sept. 7, 2008.

September 15, 2010 - 6:31pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in theater, events, Darien, religion.
Event Date and Time: 
September 23, 2010 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

"Tell All Souls About My Mercy," a religious drama for those who are suffering, having trouble forgiving others, know someone who is dying or has lost faith, will be performed at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Thursday, Sept. 23. The church is at 10675 Alleghany Road in Darien Center.

The play, which starts at 7 p.m, will be followed by Exposition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) and Benediction.

There is no charge, but a free will offering is recommended.

September 15, 2010 - 6:24pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, theater, religion.

"Tell All Souls About My Mercy," a religious drama for those who are suffering, having trouble forgiving others, know someone who is dying or has lost faith, will be performed at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Thursday, Sept. 23. The church is at 10675 Alleghany Road in Darien Center.

The play, which starts at 7 p.m., will be followed by Exposition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) and Benediction.

There is no charge, but a free will offering is recommended.

For further details, please call Amy at 356-9458 or Kim at 547-9929.

August 17, 2010 - 12:22am
posted by Loren Penman in Batavia Players, theater, youth, play, musical.
Event Date and Time: 
August 20, 2010 - 7:30pm to 10:00pm


Batavia Players 2010 Summer Youth Theatre Production of

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 19, 20 and 21, 2010

7:30 PM in the Batavia High School Auditorium

Tickets available online at www.showtix4u.com

$10.00 ($8.00 for students/senior citizens)

August 17, 2010 - 12:18am
posted by Loren Penman in Batavia Players, theater, events, youth, play, musical.
Event Date and Time: 
August 19, 2010 - 7:30pm to 10:00pm


Batavia Players 2010 Summer Youth Theatre Production of

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 19, 20 and 21, 2010

7:30 PM in the Batavia High School Auditorium

Tickets available online at www.showtix4u.com

$10.00 ($8.00 for students/senior citizens)

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button