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Now through February 12th.

For its first full production of 2023 (they hosted a limited one weekend run of "Tick...Tick...BOOM" in January) Rochester's Blackfriars Theatre presents "The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey", a one-person show written by Celeste Lecesne, an LGBTQ rights activist whose name you might recognize as one of the co-founders of The Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts for LGBTQ+ youth. "Absolute Brightness" traverses similar terrain, albeit intertwining comedy and tremendous heart into subject matter that is, unfortunately, incredibly timely, as anti-trans sentiment and legislation appears to once again be on the rise.

"Absolute Brightness" features one actor (Marc D'Amico) who portrays a hardboiled detective-type, along with numerous other characters in a small Jersey Shore town as he unravels the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year-old boy who goes missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town's citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind.

One-person shows are the Mount Everest of the theatre world. Not only does the storytelling burden fall squarely on the shoulders of one performer, imbuing that individual with the weight of every audience member's theatergoing experience, but that person also needs to have the dramatic ability to pivot between multiple characters (in the case of "Absolute Brightness", nine); the physical stamina to bounce between different accents, mannerisms, costumes, and styles of body language; and the mental clarity to not lose the narrative thread of the play. Anyone who sees this production will agree that D'Amico is well up to the task. At various times D'Amico becomes a Mob Wives-reminiscent hairdresser, a withdrawn teenage girl, an elderly German clock seller, and a flamboyant afterschool drama teacher, among various other characters. The constant bouncing between characters doesn't appear to tax D'Amico at all, who is equally adept at delivering emotional gut punches and side-splitting laughter; "Absolute Brightness" contains much of both.

The sparse and stripped-down production design of "Absolute Brightness" also makes it the perfect blackbox show, and the perfect show for the space at Blackfriars.

"Absolute Brightness" is equal parts hilarious, heart-wrenching, and poignant, reminding us all to embrace and celebrate our differences, and that acceptance is unfortunately still something to be fought for. It's playing at Blackfriars Theatre until February 12th, for tickets and more information click here.

BLUEYS BIG PLACE The Stage Show! Comes To Proctors, April 4-5 Photo
Grab the sticky geckos, break out the duck cakes and alert the grannies! It's time to meet the much-loved Heeler family, who will be coming to Proctors on April 4-5 with the “Bluey” live show, “Bluey's Big Play The Stage Show!”

Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown, located at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland, proudly presents “The Bachelors of Broadway – Gentlemen of the Theatre”.

ALONE: Stories From Edgar Allan Poe Comes To Catskills Bridge Street Theatre Photo
The horror! The horror! For almost a decade now, actor Daniel Hall Kuhn has been touring some of the grandest theatres in the country, interpreting “The Tell-Tale Heart” and other literary classics by Edgar Allan Poe for enthralled audiences numbering in the hundreds (and occasionally the thousands!).

Photos: The Company Theatre Presents THE SEAGULL, April 14- 30 Photo
The Company Theatre’s 2022-23 season continues with THE SEAGULL, April 14-30 at the School of the Arts Black Box Theater, 45 Prince St. Rochester, New York. See photos from inside rehearsal.

From This Author - Colin Fleming-Stumpf

Colin Fleming-Stumpf is a lover of all things theatre and performing arts. A native of Rochester, Colin has acted on stages across Western New York and is active in the local theatre community as a... (read more about this author)

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