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It’s hard to believe the holidays are here! I don’t know how this happened so fast but here we are. And I’d like to thank The Buffalo News for an early holiday gift. You may or may not have noticed, but there are NO STAR RATINGS any more for theatre productions. Why is this a gift to the theatre community? Well, first off, it encourages people to read. That’s never a bad idea and by reading a review a potential audience member might find something of interest for them in the production. Secondly, the star system by its very nature takes a subjective or qualitative reaction (a review) and attempts to create a quantitative response (a star rating.) Star ratings don’t take into account the personal interests of a reviewer. A production might be wonderfully executed but, if the subject matter is not to the reviewer’s liking, the star rating will suffer. To this date, no one is able to quantitatively state in what proportion the performance, the subject matter, the writing in the script, or something else, is reflected in the star rating. Better to do away with it and let us all read and make our own decisions. Thank you Buffalo News!

Openings in December include the return of MusicalFare’s critically acclaimed production of ALL IS CALM, this time at Shea’s 710, beginning December 1st. The moving account of the World War I unofficial “Christmas truce” between the Allied Forces and the Germans continues through December 18th. On the Shea’s mainstage the touring company of COME FROM AWAY stops in town from December 13th – 18th. Also on the Shea’s mainstage, the delightful holiday musical, ELF, runs from December 26th through the 31st.

Shows that opened in November and continue into December include GUARDS at the TAJ at Road Less Traveled Productions, GREAT EXPECTATIONS at Irish Classical Theatre Company, and BEEHIVE at MusicalFare Theatre, all closing on December 11th. The following weekend O’Connell and Company’s production of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS closes on December 18th. Finally, the 40th Anniversary return of Alleyway’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL closes on December 24th. What a holiday tradition this production has become!

There are two holiday cabarets coming up at MusicalFare: On December 16th HEY, IT’S CHRISTMAS starring Phil Farugia, Steve Copps, and others takes the stage. The next night, December 17th, features A GIRL, A GUY, A PIANO: A HOLIDAY HAPPENING starring Theresa Quinn and Randy Kramer. Both shows are already getting close to selling out so get your tickets quickly if you want to see them.

Have a wonderful Holliday Season!

Randall Kramer is the Artistic and Executive Director of MusicalFare Theatre, a Past President of the Boards of Arts Services Initiative and the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo, and a steering committee member of the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance.