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I am dubbing April The Month of Musicals. No less than six different musical productions open on area stages this month! And they’re playing everywhere, from Shea’s to MusicalFare, from The Lancaster Opera House to O’Connell and Company and Subversive Theatre. Here’s the rundown:

Opening At Shea’s Performing Arts Center on April 3rd and running through the 8th is SCHOOL Of ROCK. Based on the hit film, there are 14 new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and all of the original songs from the movie. On April 5th I DO! I DO! opens at O’Connell & Company. This two person musical covers fifty years of a marriage and stars the real-life married couple of Greg Gjurich and Mary Coppola Gjurich. The following night, April 6th, features the opening of THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, THE SMELL OF THE CROWD by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The production features Lancaster Opera House Artistic/Executive Director David Bondrow as Cocky. The following weekend another musical (!) opens on April 12th at Subversive Theatre. THE FULL MONTY is based on the 1997 British film but the musical’s location has been reset to Buffalo and is about six unemployed steel workers who try to make ends meet by putting together a male strip act for a local club. A week later, on April 19th, the first non-musical opens this month at The Jewish Repertory Theatre. SIGHT UNSEEN is about a superstar artist who is so popular that patrons will buy his works “sight unseen.” Directed by Jewish Rep Artistic Director, Saul Elkin, this play is about art, money, love and inspiration. The next night, at Irish Classical Theatre Company, THE AWFUL TRUTH has its regional premiere. This play was the inspiration for the 1937 screwball movie starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA returns to Shea’s Performing Arts Center from April 23rd through May 6th. Two nights later, at MusicalFare Theatre in Amherst, the musical ONCE opens. ONCE is the only musical to win a Tony, a Grammy, an Olivier Award and an Oscar. ONCE tells the unforgettable story of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. Rounding out April’s theatrical offerings are THE FOREIGNER at The Kavinoky Theatre and THE CHRISTIANS at Road Less Traveled Productions, both opening on April 27th.

Other productions in April include THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON, closing April 7th at New Phoenix Theatre. On April 14th a unique jazz cabaret at The Premier Cabaret at MusicalFare, BEHIND THE SCENES MUSICIANS OF MUSICALFARE, features Buffalo Music Hall of Fame members Dave Schiavone and Theresa Quinn along with Dave Siegfried and Peggy Scalzo. All four musicians have played for productions at MusicalFare, some of them dozens of times, and thus the title. This cabaret will feature Claude Bolling’s seldom performed SUITE FOR FLUTE AND JAZZ PIANO TRIO. The suite was first recorded in 1975 by classical flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal with the composer at the piano.

Lots of music in April! Spring must be on its way. Enjoy!

Randall Kramer is the Artistic and Executive Director of MusicalFare Theatre, the President of the Board of the Arts Services Initiative, a member of the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance and a past President of the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo.