Curtain Up!

Friday, September 20th, 2019 is the 38th Curtain Up! Event which celebrates the opening of the theatre season in Buffalo and the continued strength of the Theatre District that has played a large role in Buffalo’s Resurgence. It is a unique event that involves three “Acts” in one evening.

Theatre District Association of Western New York and

M&T Bank_341_CMYK

cordially invite you to join us for
the 38th annual celebration of the opening of
Buffalo’s professional theatre season.

Act I
38th Annual Gala Dinner at 500 Pearl

New location! Open Bar and Hor’s d’oeuvres Reception! Followed by a Scrumptious Sit-Down Dinner! Validated Parking!
Gala Dinner tickets are $100 ($110 after September 3)
Dinner begins at 5pm and will be done in time for you to arrive at your selected theatre for an 8pm curtain time.
And, for all-night revelers, get a special 500 Pearl/Aloft Hotel room rate with your Gala Dinner ticket purchase.

Act II
Participating Theatre Productions

The Curtain goes Up! at 8pm on the beginning of the theatre season. Participating productions are included below. Contact a theatre to reserve your seats!

Free Street Party on Main Street

Live Music! Street Performers! Food Trucks!
After the theatre, join the party on Main Street until 1am to celebrate!
Scroll down to check out the lineup.

Alleyway Theatre

1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo, NY 14202
716-852-2600 x0

NAVIGATORS by Gordon Farrell

Fresh off his Broadway Hit play Lifespan Of A Fact, Gordon Farrell continues his longstanding connection with Alleyway Theatre with the premiere of his latest juicy play. Imagine… a night of sailing with a political family casting off for deep secrets! It’s an exciting start to Alleyway’s 40th season starring Chris J Handley, Sandra Roberts and Tom Owen, directed by Neal Radice.

(Run dates: September 12–October 5, Thu-Sat at 7:30 PM.)

All seats $38

The Birds Nest Circus Arts

64 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14210


Catch up with Hansel and Gretel on their journey to return home after being carelessly abandoned in the woods.  This tantalizing take on traditional tales follows our floundering fellows into the enchanted Black Forest, where they encounter the familiar faces of Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood and more.  Come enjoy an enchanting night of your favorite fairy tales reconceptualized, lightly plagiarized, and fully “acrobatized.”

(Run dates: September 20 at 8pm, 21 at 7:30 PM, September 22 at 2 PM)

$40 General Admission
$20 Kids under 12

Brazen-Faced Varlets


Rust Belt Books
415 Grant Street, Buffalo, NY  14215

Heather recounts her childhood growing up gay in a strict, religious, Jehovah’s Witness household. 

(Run dates: Sep 20-Oct 6, Fri at 8 PM, Sat and Sun at 2 PM)

All seats $15

Buffalo United Artists


Alleyway Cabaret
672 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14202

Josh and Brennan are about to get married in Palm Springs on a lovely Saturday afternoon. However, the night before turns into a drunken, drug-fueled scream riot because one of the guests becomes more and more furious about a stipulation on the wedding invitation: “Please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.” In the struggle for equality, what do we really want? What do we lose? And, is there any cocaine left? New York Times Critic’s Pick. Starring James Cichocki, directed by Carly Weiser.

(Run dates: Sep 13-Oct 4, Fri and Sat at 8 PM)

All seats $25

Irish Classical Theatre Company


625 Main Street, Buffalo, NY  14203
716-853-ICTC (4282)

The dreadful demise of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in Romeo & Juliet and the unrestrained passion of his Othello are arguably eclipsed by this rarely revived 17th Century Jacobean drama.  Written a generation later and similar in theme and structure, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore is one of the most poignant, passionate and disturbing tragedies written for the early modern stage. This tale of forbidden love, deception and gruesome revenge will provoke the mind and disquiet the heart.  Swept up by an inexorable vortex of deadly desire, Annabella and Giovanni risk eternal damnation by consummating their love in defiance of society, the law and the Church.  In this world rife with corruption, greed and misogyny, who will bear the blame, and who will pay the price?

(Run dates: Thu-Sat 7:30PM, Sat at 3PM, Sun at 2PM)

All seats $60

The Kavinoky Theatre

HAIRSPRAY by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Based on the movie by John Waters

320 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201

It’s 1962 Baltimore and plus-sized teenager Tracy Turnblad has one dream: to dance on The Corny Collins Show. When the African-American students teach her some of their dance moves, Tracy transforms into a star-using her newfound fame to advocate for racial integration on the TV show. This hit musical’s beautiful message of acceptance and progress teaches us all to look past the color of one’s skin and fight for the equal rights of every human being.

(Run dates: Sep 6-Oct 6)

$45/general, $40/seniors, military. Discounts available for students and groups

MusicalFare Theatre

WEST SIDE STORY, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

4380 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226

Returning to its core as a young, desperate love story with its heart based in the streets, MusicalFare’s production will be re-imagined for its intimate space, enabling audiences to experience the show as if seeing it for the very first time.  

(Run dates: Sep 4–Oct 6)

$47/general, $17/student

New Phoenix Theatre On The Park 

IZZY a musical revue by Jim Santella and Grant Golden

95 Johnson Park, Buffalo, NY 14201

Izzy celebrates the musical tour de force of one of Buffalo‘s most famous, glorious, but unheralded composers, Israel Freel! An almost musical superstar who almost changed the world.
(Run dates: Sep 20-Oct 19 at 8 PM)

$30/general, $20/Student & Senior

O’Connell & Company

GENTLEMEN PREFER DIVAs: BROADWAY LEGENDS Created and written by Mary Kate O’Connell

Shea’s Smith Theatre
658 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

One Night Only –. Celebrate O’Connell & Company’s 25th Anniversary Season at this special Curtain Up! performance!  Join us for a fabulous and entertaining evening at BROADWAY LEGENDS. Salute famous shows and performers that have graced Buffalo’s stages, from Shea’s to Melody Fair and every stage in-between. Hear about private backstage moments with these BROADWAY LEGENDS and relive these wonderful shows, in music, stories and quotes, that have captivated global audiences for decades! Featuring an All-Star Cast!

(Run date: September 20) 


Paul Robeson Theatre

“Ladies Swing The Blues A Jazz Opus Folklore in the Key of Swing” Book and Original Lyrics by Thomas W. Jones, II. Original Music by William A. Knowles

Four Jazz Icons Gather in the famed Jazz club BIRDLAND in 1953 to celebrate the recent passing of one of the greatest jazz musicians Charlie Parker and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his premature death….Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn , Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald and the legendary Charlie Parker inhabit this musical journey chronicling the lives of the most influential music makers of the 20th century; .and the conspiracy to silence them. LADIES SWING THE BLUES is a 20th century musical odyssey that sings. swings.  confesses the deep truths deeply rooted in the musical landscape of jazz and blues. Directed by Thomas W. Jones II

Paul Robeson Theatre
At the African American Cultural Center
350 Masten Avenue

(Run dates: Sept. 20 – Oct. 13, 2019, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sunday Matinees at 4pm)

$35/general, $30/Senior and Students, $23.50/industry

Road Less Traveled Productions 


456 Main Street Buffalo NY 14202

“The West is what you make of it. Outside of that it doesn’t exist.” So says Ash Upson to Pat Garrett after he arrives unexpectedly at Garrett’s failing ranch in Las Cruces. Decades after the deed, Garrett is living out his life as “The Man Who Shot Billy the Kid”. Or is he? When Upson confronts him with an audacious proposition and a very much alive Billy the Kid, Garrett must decide what to make of his past memories and, more importantly, his future legacy; if Billy the Kid is alive, then who is Pat Garrett? With creativity and skill, this tantalizing “what-if” scenario blends fact and fiction in a drama that is at times both funny and unnerving as it first questions and then deconstructs our personal and cultural mythmaking. Directed By Scott Behrend 

(Run dates: Sep 12-Oct 6, Thu-Sat at 7:30 PM, Sun at 2:00 PM)

$39/general, $22/student, $5/student Thursday

Subversive Theatre Collective

CATCH-22  by Joseph Heller

The Manny Fried Playhouse
255 Great Arrow Avenue, Suite #302, Buffalo, NY 14207

Don’t miss this rare production of Joseph Heller’s own stage adaptation of his off-the-wall anti-war novel that continues to inspire anti-authoritarians everywhere! This deliciously sour ridicule of war-mongers, depraved bureaucrats, and self-serving demagogues is needed now more than ever in a land drowning in its own hypocrisies.

(Run dates: Sep 6-28 Thu-Sat at 7:30 PM)

$30/general, $25/students, seniors and members. All Thursday performances are pay-what-you-can.

Ujima Company, Inc.

PIPELINE by Dominique Morisseau

429 Plymouth Ave., Suite #2
Buffalo, NY, 14213

The title refers to the school-to-prison pipeline that is so often discussed but remains unresolved. Nya Pittman, an inner-city public high school teacher, places her son in a private school in an attempt to ensure that he will not suffer the same fate as her students. Other unforeseen problems arise at the school and her son is threatened with expulsion. Now her decisions and efforts to provide safety clash with his suppressed rage and insecurity. Pipeline is a story about all of us and what we do or don’t do to stop the flow.

(Run dates: Sep 13 – Oct 6, Thu-Sat at 7 PM, Sun at 4 PM)

$30/general, $25/senior, $15/student

Street Party Entertainment

Begins at 10pm on Main Street

The George Scott Big Band
Forbes Theater
Jazz, Big Band, Dance music

Griffin Kramer Plays Showtunes
Shea’s Bistro & Bar

JJ Swing Band
Outside Shea’s 710
All your favorites by Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan, Brian Setzer and Blood, Sweat & Tears

Tom Makar
Outside 646 Main Street/Tent City

Magician Mike Seege
Outside Shea’s Performing Arts Center 
Off the wall comedy and magic

Ron Lee Zydeco
Outside the Bijou Grille

Show Starters Entertainment
On Main Street