The world premiere launches the 2004-05 season there. Pamela Hunt (The Musical of Musicals) directs the play, which continues to Oct. 10.
"Having Tom Dudzick back in Buffalo for the world premiere of Hail Mary! is a great way to kick off the 40th anniversary celebration," Gavin Cameron-Webb, artistic director of Studio Arena Theatre, said in a statement. "As we reflect on the last 40 years, we feel that it's imperative to include Tom Dudzick, a playwright who has brought so much to Studio Arena and our surrounding community. He has filled more seats at Studio Arena than any other playwright in our history."
The latest work from Dudzick is "a comedy about a plucky young novice who puts her future as a nun in jeopardy when she teaches her students her personal, unorthodox views of God and religion."
The cast includes Bob Ari, Natascia Diaz, Darrie Lawrence, Jennifer Lyon and Ryan Shively.
Designers are Hugh Landwehr (scenic), Ann R. Emo (costume), Kirk Bookman (lighting) and Rick Menke (sound). Dudzick is the author of the trilogy Over the Tavern, King O' the Moon and Lake Effect. Beginning with Studio Arena's world premiere production during the 1994-1995 season, Over the Tavern (the first in the trio) broke box office records in many regional theatres throughout the country. A commercial production at the Mercury Theatre in Chicago ran for 13 months.
Born in Buffalo, Dudzick began his theatrical career in the 1970s, creating and starring in homemade musical comedies for Buffalo's dinner theatre industry. In New York City, his first play, Greetings!, was produced by the legendary Arthur Cantor and has gone on to become a regional Christmas favorite.
For information, call (716) 856-5650 or (800) 77STAGE or visit www.studioarena.org.