Michael Rabice has over 30 years of experience attending plays, musicals and opera all over the world. He is a frequent performer in opera and has appeared with the Glimmerglass Opera, Artpark Opera, Greater Buffalo Opera and Nickel City Opera. He has extensively studied the history of the American musical theatre throught the past century. In addition, he has written many essays on the impact of musical theatre on American culture, as well as how musical styles of a specific era impacted the Broadway stage and it's orchestrations. He regularly attends theatre in Buffalo, Toronto , Niagara-on-the-Lake, and New York City.
Good Triumphs Over All in WICKED. It's hard to know if in 1900 L. Frank Baum ever imagined there would be an afterlife to his children's book 'The Wizard of Oz,' but in 1939 MGM capitalized on book's wide appeal and their film version has became a staple in every child's movie experience. Flash forward 64 years to what can best be described as a prequel to Dorothy's famous journey, and you have the megamusical WICKED, which has become almost as popular as the MGM film.BWW Review: THE OTHER MOZART at SHEA'S 710 THEATRE May 5, 2017
HIGH ART RETURNS IN 'THE OTHER MOZART'
Child prodigies may be rare, but not necessarily that rare if you grew up in the Mozart family of Salzburg. The unknown and until now mostly untold story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's older sister, Maria Anna (Nannerl), is equally as fascinating as that of her infamous brother. Thanks to creator, author, and performer Sylvia Milo, Nannerl's story is given it's due in her ethereal THE OTHER MOZART now playing at Shea's 710 Theatre.BWW Review: Scintillating CABARET at Shea's Buffalo Theatre April 26, 2017
FRESH NEW SOUND OF MUSIC SOARS
So many fans of the beloved film THE SOUND OF MUSIC are unaware that the blockbuster film with Julie Andrews was based on the 1959 Broadway stage musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for Mary Martin. While not an instant hit with theatre critics on opening night, the now cherished story of a young nun who becomes governess to a widowed Navy Captain and his seven children has become an icon of the musical theatre canon.BWW Review: THE SEEDBED at IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE March 24, 2017
A series of purported subtle exchanges and misinterpreted actions of a small Irish family form the framework for Bryan Delaney's THE SEEDBED, now on stage at Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre. Reminiscent of the darkness found is so much of Edward Albee's family dramas, playwright Delaney creates a brooding home that on the surface seems superficially concerned about how everyone is feeling and doing, when in actuality mother, father and daughter all are acting as victims to an unspeakable incident.BWW Review: RING OF FIRE at SHEA'S 710 THEATRE February 19, 2017
Much has changed in Buffalo, including it's theatrical scene. A coming home of sorts is happening at SHEA'S 710 THEATRE. RING OF FIRE: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH has returned to the stage where the production began. In 2005 Studio Arena Theatre produced this jukebox musical created by Richard Maltby Jr and conceived by William Meade. After a short run that earned much local praise, the production moved to Broadway, something not typical for Buffalo. Unfortunately the New York critics and audiences were less enthusiastic, and the production shuttered after a very brief run. But RING OF FIRE, much like Studio Arena and Buffalo itself, was to have it's own rebirth. A reworked version in 2013 by Maltby and Jason Edwards has become much more of a success and audiences across the United States have been quite receptive. Amherst's MusicalFare Theatre presentation from last season is now playing out in a lively and pitch perfect production.BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at SHEA'S BUFFALO Theatre February 17, 2017
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE PROVES TO BE A FROTHY DELIGHT ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT
The sleeper hit A GENTLEMANS GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER took the 2014 TONY AWARDS by storm when it won the coveted Best Musical prize. Not surprisingly, TONY voters were enthralled with the production, but also realized the potential this delightful chamber sized musical would have touring the country. With it's compact cast and impressive unit set, the provinces are to benefit in attending this charming bon bon that plays out as a cross between a bawdy English Music Hall comedy and a zany British farce. Originally produced by The Hartford Stage and The Old Globe, A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE's journey to Broadway paid off for all involved.BWW Previews: THE WAKE at Irish Classical Theatre February 7, 2017
Joint Venture Makes For Cohesive AMADEUS
Collaboration among Western New York arts groups can only help serve the better good of the community and a happy pairing of Irish Classical Theatre with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing on at Kleinhans Music Hall, as both groups present Peter Shaffer's TONY and Academy Award winning AMADEUS. While integrating live music with theatrical plays may have been commonplace at one time-- think Beethoven's Overture and incidental music to the play EGMONT or Mendelssohn's interludes to ROMEO AND JULIET, it is a custom that has all but died of extinction in the 20th century. So the novelty of having the full BPO join forces with one of Buffalo's premier theatre companies is truly a rare theatrical opportunity.BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL at Shea's Buffalo Theatre December 14, 2016
The story of Ralphie, the boy who wants a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas took to the Shea's stage last night for a 5 day run. Based on the 1983 movie, we now have a full blown musical version of A CHRISTMAS STORY that faithfully recreates much of the classic tale.BWW Review: EQUUS at IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE November 11, 2016
STELLAR CAST DELVES IN DRAMA OF EQUUS
Near perfection. That is what Irish Classical Theatre has achieved in their exciting new production of Peter Shaffer's EQUUS.
Shaffer's poignant and often unsettling drama about a troubled teenager who commits an unspeakable act against horses can be difficult to process and to watch. The story relates how the teen is committed to a mental hospital in order to ascertain what demons lie in his psyche. The psychiatrist Martin Dysart is given the near impossible job of treating him. Director David Oliver has assembled such a fine cast that inarguably I would not consider changing it in any way.BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Shea's Buffalo Theatre November 10, 2016
Glorious Dancing Propels AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Not since Jerome Robbins staged WEST SIDE STORY and Agnes DeMille's historic dream ballet sequences have theatre goers been presented the opportunity to experience Broadway musical story telling through dance. The boldly refreshing new Broadway touring production of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS that is playing at Shea's Buffalo Theatre shows that classical dance and jazz can blend seamlessly.BWW Review: MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION at SHEA'S 710 Theatre November 4, 2016
Something exciting has happened in the former Studio Arena Theatre, now known as Shea's 710 Theatre .The Shaw Festival, Canada's only Bi-National theatre company, has forged an alliance across the border with Shea's Buffalo Theatre to present one of their productions at 710 each season. Given the caliber of last night's opening of George Bernard Shaw's MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION, Buffalo has added another gem to it's theatre community. In it's heyday Studio Arena had a national reputation of presenting cutting edge theatre with world class actors and those who still remember that era should flock back downtown to witness 710's rebirth.BWW Review: SWEENEY TODD at Shaw Festival August 1, 2016
From it's ominous sounding opening organ chords, Stephen Sondheim makes it clear that you are in for a macabre evening of theatre as his masterpiece SWEENEY TODD begins. What sounds almost too gruesome to be appropriate for a musical has over the years had audiences and critics alike arguing whether this is a musical comedy or opera. Since it's 1979 premiere it has been staged world wide by some of the most notable Opera companies in the world, from English National Opera to the Paris Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. An updated staging is happening this summer at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York with noted Wagnerian bass Greer Grimsley playing the title character.BWW Review: Victorian Charmer ENGAGED Right at Home at Royal George Theatre July 11, 2016
The Shaw Festival has unearthed a bit of a gem, that in lesser hands may be considered no more than a cubic zirconium. W.S. Gilbert's ENGAGED is a frothy trifle that seems perfect for a midsummer's night. This delightful piece of Victoriana theatre can best be thought of as a play with thin operetta plot (sans music). Gilbert and Sullivan are definitely the better known commodity, but Gilbert did work alone at times and his theatrical pieces are all but forgotten. In ENGAGED Gilbert again shows his adeptness at social commentary, marriage and the quest for wealth.BWW Review: A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE at SHAW FESTIVAL June 27, 2016
Ever the consummate commentator of society and gender, Oscar Wilde has never been afraid of controversy or potentially offending member of both sexes. Never has this been more evident than in his 1893 A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, which is receiving a glamorous new production at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake.BWW Review: ALICE IN WONDERLAND at Shaw Festival June 22, 2016
The Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake has pulled out all the stops on it's glittering new production of Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND. This new version adapted for the stage by director Peter Hinton incorporates newly composed music by Allen Cole. While often an asset, the music can also be a hindrance to this often mystifyingly magical production.BWW Review: AN IDEAL HUSBAND at BUFFALO'S IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE June 13, 2016
Out of a sense of homegrown spirit and pride, Nickel City Opera enlisted the 27 time ASCAP award winning composer, Persis Vehar to set a libretto to music based on the assassination of President William McKinley at the 1901 Pan American Exposition by Polish-American dissident and self proclaimed anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Commissioned by Dr. Judith Wolf and written by librettist Gabrielle Vehar, 'SHOT!' dramatizes the events before, during and after President McKinley's death providing the flavor of Buffalo in 1901 including actual songs that were written about the Pan American Exposition and its' relationship to Buffalo.