HATFUL OF RAIN and SHINE Set for ART/WNY's 2013-14 'Second Half'

With two acclaimed shows of the 2013-14 season in the books, American Repertory Theater of WNY sets sights on the "Second Half" of the season. All presentations will be held at ART/WNY's new performance space, ART in the Box, located at 16 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo NY, in the Church of the Ascension.

After three successful events with the Living Poets Society, publishers steel bellows and No Frills Buffalo, the ART/WNY literary series continues with an evening of WNY women poets entitled Women at ART, January 24th and 25th, 8 pm. These two evenings will be filled with poetry from a woman's perspective as seven writers, with uniquely different writing and performing styles read their original poetry and prose. The evening is hosted by one of Buffalo's most engaging stage personalities, Kim Piazza, with featured readers including Sharon R Amos, Janna Willoughby-Lohr (aka MC Vendetta), Shawtell Tillery, Nava Fader, Sinead Tyrone, Tara Heavern and Sara Marie Ries. Showtime is at 8 pm, $10 general admission. For more information call 716-471-2839.

The "Second Half" continues with ART/WNY's annual Mardi Gras Celebration on March 1st, 2014. With modest beginning at Rust Belt Books, this event has substantially grown over the past six years. So much that the company has shifted the celebration to Saturday evening, instead of the traditional Fat Tuesday, so more folks can get their laissez les bon temps rouler a rollin'. As in the past, selected readings from the Louisiana folklore book Gumbo Ya Ya will be part of the evening's entertainment that also includes music acts, including the return of Doctor Jazz and the Jazzbugs, The Fearless Players will host their hilarious Gong Show showcase and good gumbo, rice & beans, and drink throughout the evening. Tickets are $5 online or $10 at the door. The revelry begins at 7 pm.

That month will also see the opening of Michael Gazzo's story of dope, hope and love entitled HATFUL OF RAIN scheduled for March 6th, 2014. Directed by Matthew LaChiusa (THE GUYS, KILLER JOE) the piece features the acting talent of Hugh Davis, Maura Nolan, Victor Morales, Raphael Santos, Monish Bhattacharyya, Steve Brachmann and Leo Dibello.

Returning to the ART/WNY stage is Davis, who's compelling work was last seen in LITTLE ROBERT as the legendary bluesman, Robert Johnson. He portrays Johnny Pope, a Korean War veteran returning home with a taste for the "white horse". His wife Celia, played by Maura Nolan, who was last seen in BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson, (but who's work was best seen as Lizzy in JESUS HATES ME) looks for her husband to return to the man he once was but doesn't realize he left part of his soul on a hospital floor next to an empty syringe.

Newcomer to Buffalo stage, Raphael Santos, makes his ART/WNY debut as Johnny Pope's little brother, Pablo, who's desires nothing more than to be with his brother's wife. Overseeing this mess, is the paternal John Pope Sr. portrayed by the versatile Victor Morales, last seen on ART/WNY stage as the grieving fire chief, Nick, in the haunting work THE GUYS. Feeding Johnny Pope's habit is a shady sort including ART/WNY stage first timer Monish Bhattacharyya as the dope enabler, Mother, returning actor Steve Brachmann (BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson) as the Jiminy Cricket of heroin street dealing, Church, and playing the muscle of doper operation, Leo Dibello, as the appropriately named Apples.

HATFUL OF RAIN opens March 6th and runs until March 29th.

The final show of the 2013-14 season "Second Half" is an original piece written by Artie Award winning playwright Matthew LaChiusa entitled SHINE. This Americana ghost story centers on a Moonshining family in the backwoods of Tennessee during the 1960's.

Established playwright, poet and director, Mark C Lloyd directs this story of the McCormick's moonshining operations that is deep in tradition and producing "top-shelf" moonshine. Forced to make a decision to continue the prolific operation or not, a young Linus McCormick faces the obstacles of doing business with the ruthless State Line Mob, the ways of the Ol' South and a persistent State Senator. Recent Niagara University graduate, Michael Wachowiak (BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson), joins ART/WNY veterans David Mitchell (KILLER JOE, LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR, MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS) as well as the multi-talented Billy Horn (BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson, music director) with ART/WNY first-timers, BranDon Williamson and the unknown but the exceptionally talented Michael Leszczynski.

Playwright Matthew LaChiusa offered his thoughts about SHINE, "While some playwrights are comfortable writing about what they only know, feel comfortable about or surroundings they are familiar with, others chose to take a interesting historical moment or a piece of folklore, do some research and create a new story around it. That challenge is where SHINE comes from."

And the inspiration behind the piece, LaChiusa continued, "I began the piece in 2009 after developing a taste for this Americana heirloom and wanted to do some research on the origins and the makers of moonshine. So many fascinating stories, individuals and history came from this research, then, I got inspired by a Drive By Truckers tune and SHINE was conceived. Its an intense piece, but so is the 'shine that inspires the work."

Online tickets for the "Second Half" can be purchased through Brown Paper Ticket at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/16599 For more information on tickets or the "Second Half" call the ART/WNY box office (Mon-Sat; 9 am to 4:30 pm) at 716 634-1102 or go to www.artofwny.org

Showdates & Times:

Women at ART
January 24th & 25th, 8 pm $10 General Admission

Mardi Gras Celebration
March 1st, 8 pm $5 online/$10 General Admission

Hatful of Rain Written By Michael Gazzo Directed By Matthew LaChiusa Featuring Hugh Davis, Maura Nolan, Victor Morales, Raphael Santos, Monish Bhattacharyya, Steve Brachmann and Leo Dibello.
March 6th-8th; 13th-15th; 20th-23rd; 27th-29th, 7:30 pm $20 General Admission/$15 Online/$12 Student & Military Veteran

SHINE Written By Matthew LaChiusa Directed by Mark C Lloyd Featuring Michael Wachowiak, David Mitchell, Priscilla Young Anker, Billy Horn, BranDon Williamson and Michael Leszczynski.
April 24th-26th; May 1st-3rd; May 8th-10th; May 15th-17th, 7:30 pm $20 General Admission/$15 Online/$12 Student & Military Veteran

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