The Studio Arena Theatre is putting together what look's like a strong season for 2001-02. The Buffalo, NY, company recently presented the premiere of Lake Effect: Over the Tavern Part III, the final chapter of Tom Dudzick's Pazinski family trilogy that began with the wildly popular Over the Tavern in 1994. Now, the troupe has added A.R. Gurney's latest, Buffalo Gal, to the line-up.
Buffalo Gal received its debut this past June at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where it opened the Mainstage 2001 season. Mary Tyler Moore was first announced to star, but soon bowed out due to a foot injury complicated by diabetes. Mariette Hartley took her place.
John Tillinger will direct, as he did at Williamstown. As for the star, a source at the theatre confirmed that negotiations with Betty Buckley, as well as a few other actresses, were ongoing. Neither Moore nor Hartley have been approached for the role.
Buffalo Gal is about a famous actress who returns to her hometown of Buffalo to star in a production of The Cherry Orchard, but is unexpectedly confronted with the sale of her grandmother's house (shades of Chekhov) and the reborn affections of her high school sweetheart.
* Lake Effect: Over the Tavern Part III opened Nov. 29 following previews that began Nov. 25. Terence Lamude, who shepherded the first part and its sequel, King O' the Moon, both concerning the Polish Catholic Pazinksi family of Buffalo in the 1950s and '60s, respectively, directs the world premiere chapter, set during the Blizzard of 1977. Karl Kenzler plays 31-year-old Rudy, all grown up and returning to Buffalo from his life in New York City. Performances continue to Dec. 29.
—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones