Buffalo Legend Inspires New Comedy by Over the Tavern Playwright; Penguin Rep to Stage Premiere

News   Buffalo Legend Inspires New Comedy by Over the Tavern Playwright; Penguin Rep to Stage Premiere Tom Dudzick, the playwright who struck gold in regional theatres with many productions of his Buffalo-set Over the Tavern trilogy, has written a new play that is again set in his western New York hometown.

Our Lady of South Division Street gets its world premiere May 15 in a staging by Penguin Repertory Theatre in Stony Point, NY.

Dudzick told Playbill.com, "It's a four-character comedy based on a local legend in my hometown of Buffalo. It seems that when I was a boy on Buffalo's East Side, living over my father's tavern, there was an Italian barber up the street who claimed the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and delivered a message of world peace. The barber had a shrine built, about 14 feet tall, commemorating the 'miracle.' The Catholic Church never sanctioned the miracle. Today my old neighborhood has all but disappeared [due to] urban blight — but the shrine still stands, kept in good repair by the few remaining denizens who still live there. I made a pilgrimage there last year, looked at the shrine and said, 'There's a story here.'"

Joe Brancato will direct a cast that includes Peggy Cosgrave, Andrea Maulella, Rusty Ross and Liz Zazzi.

The nonprofit professional theatre, under the leadership of artistic director Brancato and executive director Andrew M. Horn, characterizes the play this way: "Clara Nowak always thought she was special, ever since the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in her father's barber shop in Buffalo. Now in this new comedy, Clara and her children's faith is shaken to the very core as an old family legend and a deathbed confession are revealed with heartfelt and hilarious results."

The production continues to June 7. To order tickets or to get more information, go to Penguin Rep's website at www.penguinrep.org or call (845) 786-2873.

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Penguin Rep Theatre, Rockland County's first year-round, non-profit professional theatre, was founded in 1977 in a century-old hay barn converted to a 108-seat theatre.

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