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.
A modern take on an old classic can be risky business, and morphing a murder mystery into a comical farce sounds intriguing on the page. Micro sized casts have done wonders with Hitchcock's 'The 39 Steps' and Charles Ludlam's 'The Mystery of Irma Vep,' so it is no surprise that comic playwright Ken Ludwig, known best for his brilliant 'Lend Me A Tenor' should take a stab at the genre. His adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes mystery 'The Hound of The Baskervilles' has been shortened to 'BASKERVILLE' and opened last night at Shea's 710 Theatre. This production by MUSICALFARE unfortunately is high on hijinks and low on true comedy.BWW Review: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Shea's Buffalo Theatre April 30, 2018
Seldom is there a musical where the question asked is not have whether you seen it, but rather how many times have you seen it. Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1988 blockbuster THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is such a musical. Repeated viewings are commonplace in Western New York, with many having seen the original Toronto or New York production in addition to many of it's national tours.BWW Review: THE AWFUL TRUTH at IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE April 24, 2018
Whatever your artistic quest may be, from unearthing gem stones or archeological ruins to discovering a lost manuscript of music, there is always an element of nostalgia and new found glee when the item arises. Stage director Fortunato Pezzimenti discovered Arthur Richman's unpublished 1922 script THE AWFUL TRUTH in the New York Public Library for The Performing Arts in 2011. Only briefly produced on Broadway in 1935, the story has been told on 3 occasions on the silver screen.BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at SHEA'S BUFFALO Theatre April 4, 2018
Andrew Lloyd Webber has become a household name and he is having a resurgence in popularity of late. His 1970 JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR garnered great accolades this past Sunday in it's TV presentation. Buffalo audiences will have no less than 4 of his works to see in the next year in the Shea's Buffalo Broadway Seasons with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, LOVE NEVER DIES, and CATS all in the lineup. But his latest musical to hit Broadway is SCHOOL OF ROCK and the slick new touring production is in town for the week.BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at SHEA'S BUFFALO Theatre March 7, 2018
Oh, remember those great mega-musicals from the 90's? There was LES MISERABLES AND PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and OMELETTE: MUSICAL...Well OMELETTE was the little known musical from the 1590's, not 1990's, that is the subject of the riotous National Tour now playing at Shea's Buffalo Theatre, aptly named SOMETHING ROTTEN!BWW Review: THE NIGHT ALIVE at Irish Classical Theatre March 5, 2018
Unhappiness in rural Dublin-- Not an altogether unlikely topic for a play. But when Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre included Conor McPherson's THE NIGHT ALIVE as part of their season of comedies, I wondered how it fit the bill. Happily the play about unhappiness somehow morphs from dark comedy to a classic film noir script and ticks all the boxes for a riveting production.BWW Review: MASTER HAROLD...AND THE BOYS at Shea's 710 Theatre February 18, 2018
For it's second season offering the Shaw Festival and Shea's 710 Theatre in Buffalo chose to present Athol Fugard's MASTER HAROLD....AND THE BOYS. The production was a hit during Shaw's 2016 Festival in Niagara on the Lake and besides Buffalo, it recently was presented in Montreal.BWW Review: WAITRESS at SHEA'S BUFFALO Theatre February 7, 2018
A successful Broadway musical has always been anchored by an engaging story augmented by a great score. Over the years the formula hasn't changed much but the sound of the music certainly has, as popular music changes and evolves The 30's had Cole Porter, Burt Bacharach and his synthesizers appeared in the 60's, and Elton John's pop score succeeded for THE LION KING , so no one should be surprised that Sara Bareilles and her unique style of song writing could be next on the list. Her 2016 score to WAITRESS, now playing for a one week engagement at Shea's, earned her a TONY nomination and the show has a been a hit ever since.BWW Review: A Triumphant CONSTANT WIFE at Irish Classical Theatre January 29, 2018
A Triumphant CONSTANT WIFE. Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre continues it's season of comedies with a splendid production of W. Somerset Maugham's THE CONSTANT WIFE. In lesser hands the story of a wife who appears to turn a blind eye to her husband's infidelities could come across as a dreadfully dated and unbelievable drawing room comedy of 1926. This period in theatrical history allowed love to be proclaimed to the mountains, despite who was in earshot- where a woman's place was in the home, lest it be thought that her husband was unable to provide for her- where rest cures in far off countries were the panacea to every ailment- and where propriety was tantamount.BWW Review: An Awe-Inspiring LION KING at SHEA'S BUFFALO Theatre December 15, 2017
Julie Taymor may not be a household name, but her magical staging and mesmerizing creativity is most likely the reason why THE LION KING has become a world wide phenomenon. The termed blockbuster is tossed about all too frequently but the Disney stage production of their 1994 animated musical has garnered such praise that even on repeat viewing, audiences still are captivated.BWW Review: Tailor made Hometown 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL' at SHAW FESTIVAL December 4, 2017
Tailor Made Hometown 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL' Charles Dickens himself would most likely approve of the charming version of his classic story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge and his influence over everyone in a quaint hometown. The Shaw Festival's Artistic Director Tim Carroll has programmed A CHRISTMAS CAROL in their intimate Royal George Theatre for the first time ever this holiday season and by all accounts it was a smashing success even before it opened--the show sold out all of it's near 6 weeks weeks before an audience set foot in the theatre-- and has already started selling tickets for the 2018 production.BWW Review: Satisfying Story Telling in MINDING FRANKIE at Irish Classical Theatre November 11, 2017
Engaging story telling is an ancient art and being able to retell someone else's story can be a challenge-- where to put emphases, inflections and pauses, what to include and what to embellish, and how to bring characters to life. Playwright Shay Linehan has adapted Irish author Maeve Binchy's novel MINDING FRANKIE with thoughtful creativity and Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre Company is presenting a charmingly sensitive production at it's Andrews Theatre.BWW Review: STRONG CAST MAKES FOR SUPERB 'DESIGN FOR LIVING' at IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE September 29, 2017
BWW Review: STRONG CAST MAKES FOR SUPERB 'DESIGN FOR LIVING' at IRISH CLASSICAL THEATRE. Never afraid of controversy, Noel Coward's DESIGN FOR LIVING must have seemed bawdy and shocking in it's day. Let's face it, a menage a trois always elicits controversy. But somehow that master of witty repartee has fashioned a comedy that gets away with bad behavior by wrapping it in his signature complexities of the English language. The result is the highly polished production playing at the Irish Classical Theatre.BWW Review: Latin Rhythms Overcome ON YOUR FEET Shortfalls at Shea's Buffalo Theatre September 24, 2017
LATIN RHYTHMS OVERCOME 'ON YOUR FEET' SHORTFALLS No one would be more surprised to see a Cuban-American immigrant turn into an international superstar than a young Gloria Estefan herself. But years later her story is being retold on stage in ON YOUR FEET- The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical. After a near 2 year run on Broadway that recently closed in August, the National Tour has been in Buffalo rehearsing for weeks and opened to an energetic audience on Saturday night at Shea's Buffalo Theatre.BWW Review: SWIT Continues To Charm Audience In SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS at Shea's 710 Theatre September 15, 2017
Hold your hats boys, Hot Lips Houlihan, aka Loretta Swit from the classic TV show MASH is back in town. Shea's 710 Main Theatre is presenting the two handed play SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS for the remainder of this Curtain Up Weekend. The good new is there are still some seats available, the bad news turns out to be good news--Ms Swit is no longer Hot Lips, but she is a veteran stage actress giving a compelling performance.BWW Review: AN OCTOROON at SHAW FESTIVAL August 23, 2017
Pushing the limits of the Shaw Festival's mission, an edgy slave story from a different era is being presented in The Royal George Theatre. By the looks of it, Shaw's usual audiences are in for an eye opener. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (aka BJJ) has taken us on his own personal journey of frustrated playwright who takes the advice of his psychologist and writes a play as an homage to an obscure playwright Dion Boucicault. Boucicault's 1859 played entitled 'The Octoroon' has been transformed by BJJ into 'An Octoroon.' In doing so, BJJ creates a prologue of his own invention describing his personal journey in producing the original work, where no white actors would take on a the roles of evil white plantation and slave owners. 'The Octoroon' tells the story of a plantation that is on the brink of being sold, the original owner's sexual relations with a slave that produces an octoroon ( one who possesses 1/8 Negro blood), the threat of new found love, misogyny and the overall treatment of slaves.BWW Previews: Linda Lavin Returns To Provincetown's Crown And Anchor August 21, 2017
Age doesn't stand a chance of catching up with the busy and multi-talented Linda Lavin. Ms. Lavin is in Los Angeles to film a new sitcom, but will fly to Cape Cod this weekend for two nights of concerts at Provincetown's Crown and Anchor.BWW Review: DRACULA at SHAW FESTIVAL August 8, 2017
STRONG ACTING IN DRACULA DESPITE TEDIOUS SCRIPT
The story of Bram Stoker's DRACULA has been told long enough since the novel's release in 1897 that most everyone is familiar with the famous Prince of Darkness. Numerous films have been made, as early as the silent version NOSFERATU, and a stage version with Frank Langella was lauded nearly 30 years ago on Broadway. The Shaw Festival is presenting a stage version by Poet Laureate of Glasgow, Liz Lochhead. First given in 1985 in Scotland, this overly long stage adaptation is too bogged down in literary detail, and judicious trimming of the Victorian epic seemed necessary to make it palatable for modern day audiences.BWW Review: WILDE TALES at Shaw Festival July 13, 2017
CHARM ABOUNDS IN SHAW FESTIVAL'S 'WILDE TALES'
A verbose frog, an egomaniacal Rocket, two charming birds, and a sympathetic Prince are not the usual cast of characters in an Oscar Wilde play. But in the ever evolving 2017 Shaw Festival season, his 'WILDE TALES' proves to be an eye opening and joyous experience for young and old alike.BWW Review: NOISES OFF at CHAUTAUQUA THEATER COMPANY July 7, 2017
There can be great comedy in repetition. Allowing an audience to think they know what is coming next but slipping in an unexpected variation on a theme can throw you for a comedic loop. This premise is the basis for Michael Frayn's rioutously successful 1982 farce, NOISES OFF. The Chautauqua Theater Company is mounting a joyous production in their Bratton Theater that has theatre goers giddy with the onstage silliness.