“Third time is a charm for ICTC” – Cherie Messore, buffalotheatreguide.com

Long before there were hours of football on TV and the ubiquitous electronic devices in the hands of teens at the dinner table, families made Christmas memories by spending time together. They would sing songs, tell stories, indulge in the art of conversation, and help rescue various kitchen catastrophes. You know, like when your new-fangled gas stove blows up and makes a foul (fowl?) mess of Christmas dinner.

These moments are at the heart of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company now to December 15. Based on the prose of Dylan Thomas, his 1952 reflections were adapted for the stage 30 years later by Jeremy Brooks and Adrian Mitchell.

It’s a simple work, really. Thomas’ stories about his boyhood Christmas celebrations could be anyone’s stories. The happy sounds from a houseful of relatives, those memory snapshots of racing around outside with cousins and pals, poignant thoughts of the older generation now passed…all part of the Christmas canon. ICTC does this show really well.

Director Chris Kelly has the dream team of local actors on stage for this, starting with Joseph Donohue III and Brandon Barry (from The Albrights) providing the music. They give a contemporary nod to some Christmas classics, starting with the plaintive sweetness of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

Vincent O’Neill is grown up Dylan; his reminiscing is wistful, almost ethereal. Young Dylan is Tyler Eisenmann, totally in the moment enjoying his youth and family foibles. Michele Roberts as Mother; Ben Michael Moran as Father; Nicole Cimato as Hannah with her ever-present flask; Christian Brandjes as Gwyn; Karen Harty as Nellie; Brittany Bassett as Brenda; Renee Landrigan as Glenda; Gregory Gjurich as Tudyr; Charmagne Chi as Bessie; and Megan Callahan as Elieri wear their roles like perfectly knit woolen mittens.

Highlights are Chi’s rendition of “The Holly and the Ivy” in its pure loveliness and Roberts’ comic chops when she’s coping with that new-fangled gas stove in her kitchen.

I always appreciate ICTC’s artful and minimal staging; it’s elegant to suggest a living room, the streetscape and countryside with almost very few set elements. Set Designer Primo Thomas feeds our imagination with this beautifully. Director Kelly then has to lead his cast through imaginary spaces and places under a canopy of flickering lanterns suspended overhead. These small touches, with sparse pine bough and buffalo check bows suggest countryside and homemade décor. Perfection. With a cast this talented, it looks effortless.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is all about sentiment and nostalgia in the season where heart-felt memories ground us and remind us that hearth and home are best. Thank you, ICTC, for this early gift.

https://buffalotheatreguide.com/2019/11/24/a-childs-christmas-in-wales-third-time-is-a-charm-for-ictc/


“a magical Christmas to behold.” – Melinda Miller, The Buffalo News

There are few things more powerful than memories of childhood Christmases, partly because of the magic and anticipation, and partly because of the traditions and familiarity …

Into that “wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays,” (Dylan) Thomas wrote, “I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find.”

And thus “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” was born, chock-full of memories of snow and packages, feasting and foolery, populated with friends and family and the postman and neighborhood toughs, all spending this day of all days in all their varied ways …

The tale was first intended to be read alone or aloud … but in recent times it also has been turned into a charming theatrical … With an abundance of music underlining the mischief and merrymaking, it is a magical Christmas to behold.

… Vincent O’Neill gives a lyrical performance as the adult Dylan Thomas … Tyler Eisenmann as young Dylan (is) so comfortable with his stage family he seems to have grown up with them …

Of course, he is surrounded by excellent castmates and mentors here, starting with director Chris Kelly and music director Joseph Donohue III …

The whole group is so in sync you can imagine all of them celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and all future holidays together.

Favorite moments are watching Brandjes as the postman on his rounds, collecting a drink at every house … Later, when young Dylan and the other children go for a prowl outside, they resemble a pack of Dead End Kids looking for action, making it up when they have to, and teasing policemen behind their backs …

In the end … the takeaway is one of happy satisfaction, providing one more day for the snowball of memory.

3 stars (out of four)

Click here for full review. https://buffalonews.com/2019/11/23/music-memories-star-in-irish-classicals-childs-christmas-in-wales/


“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” opens Friday, November 22

“I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.”
– Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales

The Irish Classical Theatre Company is proud to present a special Holiday offering, A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, adapted for the stage by Jeremy Brooks & Adrian Mitchell. A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES will be presented Friday, November 22 through Sunday, December 15, 2019 at ICTC’s Andrews Theatre, 625 Main Street, Buffalo, New York.

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES is a spirited Holiday musical entertainment for the whole family. It is recommended for children ages 8 and up. Director Chris Kelly describes this Christmas Musical as “a heart-based patchwork of different Christmas memories lovingly stitched together.”

A wonderfully nostalgic look at that most magical of seasons, A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES gives us all the opportunity to experience a magical snow-filled Christmas through the innocent eyes of youth, celebrated in the glorious words of Dylan Thomas. Vincent O’Neill stars as the grown Dylan, revisiting a dreamlike Christmas of days gone by.

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES is directed by ICTC Associate Director Chris Kelly, who last Season warmed our hearts with his fresh and fanciful production of Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility.” Previous ICTC directing credits include A Little Night Music and Minding Frankie. Chris, an Artistic Associate at MusicalFare, has also directed for Second Generation Theatre, New Phoenix Theatre, Theatre of Youth and All For One Productions. Chris is the recipient of four ARTIE Awards as well as two Best of Buffalo awards from Buffalo Spree for both acting and directing.

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES stars Vincent O’Neill as Dylan Thomas; Tyler Eisenmann as young Dylan; Michele Roberts as Mother; Ben Michael Moran as Father; Nicole Cimato as Hannah; Christian Brandjes as Gwyn; Karen Harty as Nellie; Brittany Bassett as Brenda; Renee Landrigan as Glenda; Gregory Gjurich as Tudyr; Charmagne Chi as Bessie and Megan Callahan as Elieri. Music Director Joseph Donohue III who plays Jim and Brandon Barry who plays Tom, members of the pop/rock band The Albrights, provide the show’s lively music.

Performances will take place at The Andrews Theatre,625 Main Street, Buffalo, Friday, November 22, continuing through Sunday, December 15, 2019. Curtain times will be Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30PM, with Matinees on Saturdays at 3PM and Sundays at 2PM.


Young Professionals – Save the Date – Thursday, November 21, 4:30-6:30PM

Young Professionals wanted! Join the actors, staff, and friends of the Irish Classical Theatre Company for a free-admission Cocktail Hour at Marble + Rye, 112 Genesee Street, Buffalo, on Thursday, November 21 from 4:30-6:30PM.

Mixology is the aim, as Young Business Professionals mix and mingle with Young Theatre Professionals while enjoying a good mixed drink!

Enjoy seasonal cocktails and mixology demonstrations, learn about ICTC, a gem of regional theatre, and enter a free raffle to win eight tickets, eight drinks at the ICTC Chris O’Neill Lounge, ICTC theatre cups, and more.

This event is an open to all (21+ please).

Presented by the Irish Classical Theatre Company Young Professionals Committee and the Buffalo Junior Chamber of Commerce (Buffalo Jaycees).


Learn more about ICTC’s Ireland Tour Thursday, December 12, 11AM!

FREE INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION – THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 AT 11AM AT ICTC’S ANDREWS THEATRE.

Plan now to experience Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast & Literary Dublin with your host, ICTC Artistic Director Vincent O’Neill, June 12-20, 2020.

Your memorable 8-day 7-night tour includes breathtaking natural wonders, majestic historic sites, celebrated cultural icons, and all the captivating beauty and charm that only the Ireland possesses.

Your once-in-a lifetime Irish adventure will include Galway, Westport, Yeats Country, a guided tour of Dublin, a literary Pub Crawl, a scenic cruise on Lough Corrib, and much, much more.

After the presentation, enjoy some light refreshments, mix and mingle with Vincent and your fellow hibernophiles and celebrate the adventures that await you..

Contact Cassie Cameron at 853-1380 x106 or development@irishclassical.com to find out more!
This informational event is free and open to the public.
There is no obligation.


“‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore” engrosses and shocks – Michael Rabice, BWW review

by Michael Rabice, broadwayworld.com, Sep. 30, 2019

Buffalo’s Irish Classical Theatre Company has chosen to open their 2019-20 season with a rarity, ‘TIS PITY, SHE’S A WHORE by John Ford. First seen in 1633, the question arises as to whether this Jacobean drama still deserves to be produced. Happily, this often shocking play has enough intrigue to keep the audience engaged. By its final moments, the elements of incest, murder, poisoning, and deception lead to a drama of epic proportions that grips the viewer.

With a nod to Romeo and Juliet, Ford’s story of forbidden love is pressed to the max as young Annabella must choose a proper suitor, but her brother Giovanni confesses that no one can love her more than he, and she agrees that she equally desires him. Lord Soranzo is the most likely man to wed her due to his military position, but he has a spurned lover (Hippolita) who seeks revenge on him. The young soldier Grimaldi offers his hand, while the wealthy but foolish Bergetto is also in line. Bergetto (Adam Yellen) and his servant Poggio (Aleks Malejs) are stock characters from the commedia dell’arte genre of Italian theatre. The Catholic church serves as the moral backdrop, as Friar Bonaventura (Christian Brandjes) counsels Giovanni and a Cardinal, played by Adam Yellen, proclaims his condemnation of the situation and claims the property of the household for his own use in the Catholic church.

Director Fortunato Pezzimenti has updated the time period to Pre-War Italy in Parma, without much effect positive or negative. His deft hand paces the action well, despite an overly long expository first act. The sheer nature of an incestuous marriage is shocking enough, and Ford does not stop there in his desire to jar the audience’s sensibilities. But in using incest as a central theme, he prepares the viewer for other unthinkable acts that truly heighten the drama.

Jeremy Kreuzer is Giovanni, and brings a youthful and earnest portrayal of the lovesick brother. Kreuzer’s multi-layered performance is full of soul searching as he grapples with his desirous feelings, but morphs to crazed lover. He is asked to perform a mad scene that would rival that of grand opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” and he handles this with great conviction. Anna Krempholtz is the object of everyone’s desires, the fair Annabella. She brings a self assured nature that almost convinces the audience she is able to love her brother as well as take a husband. Ms. Krempholtz is lovely to watch, but her future comes to a crashing end as her new husband learns of her forbidden love.

Adriano Gatto gives a winning performance as Lord Soranzo, dashing and fully in control. He dominates his scenes, as he should, and brings some great physicality to the drama in the second act, causing audible gasps at his handling of his new bride. Roland Martin Gomez is Soranzo’s man servant, who becomes an integral character as he is manipulated by Hippolita to take Soranzo down. Mr. Gomez dives into the meaty role, clearly enjoying the twists and turns that Ford has written for him.

Aleks Malejs is delightfully conniving as the evil Hippolita, oozing a seductiveness to conceal her inner demons. She effectively leads the trio of dancers who entertain at Annabella’s wedding in a sinuous dance of love.

Charmagne Chi brings levity to the play, as the tutor and confidante to Annabella, whose own comical name is Putana (meaning whore in Italian). Despite some very unflattering costuming, Chi’s bubbling personality is endearing as she attempts to protect the young lovers, but her chatty nature leads to her ultimate demise.

The simplistic set by David Dwyer provided a multi level playing area, but could have benefited from a few more regal trappings.

Irish Classical Theatre has essentially unearthed a riveting drama that at first glance may seem like a dated piece of melodrama, but has instead been presented in a thoughtful production that engrosses the audience. Such programming is to be lauded.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/buffalo/article/BWW-Review-TIS-PITY-SHES-A-WHORE-Engrosses-and-Shocks-at-IRISH-CLASSICAL-THEATRE-2019093


“… absorbing, a fine production … no holds barred” – Ann Marie Cusella, buffalo vibe

Review: ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore
By: Ann Marie Cusella | Posted September 21st, 2019

“… Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord’.” Romans 12, v. 19.

‘Tis a pity that biblical exhortation is not taken to heart by the players in Irish Classical Theatre Company’s season opener, ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, John Ford’s early 17th century tragic tale of incest, betrayal and revenge that ends in torture, death and murder. There is no thought of forgiveness by those wronged in this very absorbing play, only a desire for vengeance that results in complex plotting, often going awry, and retribution for real or imagined betrayers.

Central to the play, as Director Fortunato Pezzimenti says in his notes, is the concept of self-governance vs. bowing to authority. Who has the right to determine one’s fate? Are people to be led in matters of the heart by authority, in this instance the Church, a powerful institution that considers sexual desire to be “that leprosy of lust that rots the soul,” and demands obedience to its tenets of sacrifice and female purity? Or can one break free of societal constraints and live according to one’s own principles and desires?

Set in Parma, Italy, where the Church is the ultimate authority, Giovanni (Jeremy Kreuzer, who begins rather stiffly, but warms to his role and loosens up alarmingly well as events unfold) is a university student in love with his sister, Annabella (Anna Krempholtz, who plays her complex role with charm, wit, passion, and great sadness). He confesses his love to the Friar (Christian Brandjes) and argues his case for personal freedom. The Friar, horrified, instructs him to cloister himself and pray to be freed from his sin, which proves to be an exercise in futility, as he returns more passionate than before. He and Annabella consummate their love, resulting in pregnancy and the full force of the patriarchy falling on her slender shoulders. In the mix are suitors for Annabella’s hand, a woman who betrayed her husband, who then is betrayed by her lover and so plots her own revenge, the husband seeking revenge for her betrayal, a soldier enemy of the lover, a servant with his own agenda, another servant who meets a terrible fate, and so on. Many of these people are killed during the play, and each actor is very believable in those scenes, which could easily have devolved into unfettered melodrama. That they do not is a testament to their skills and that of the Director.

In the midst of this tragic narrative Charmagne Chi as Putana, Anna’s free-spirited companion, Christian Brandjes as the bumbling Signor Donado, and Adam Yellen as the dim-witted and hilarious suitor, Bergetto, skillfully add comic light to the darkness.

Aleks Malejs is excellent as the angry and rather scarily vengeful Hippolita and is quite amusing as the servant Poggio. Adrian Gatto is also excellent as the passionate suitor and ultimate husband of Anna, Lord Soranzo. David Oliver, Ben Michael Moran, Jacob Albarella, Rolando Martin Gomez, and Melinda Capeles round out the fine cast.

A large, bare, three-tiered platform acts as the set, designed by David Dwyer. Its simplicity allows the often-frightening action to unfold unencumbered. Lighting designer Jayson Clarke hung candles suspended by red ribbons from the ceiling, placed them in the corners of the platform and on the floor surrounding it. Red lights dim the stage, giving the impression of blood. The crucifix that hangs overhead throughout the play, and the statue of the Virgin Mary that is paraded through the theater by the entire cast at the outset, are reminders of just who has authority and what that authority demands. Contemporary costumes by Vivian Del Bello add to the personalities of each character, e.g., Hippolita in a clingy black satin gown, Bergetto in silly gold shoes and red jacket, Donado in a rumpled suit he struggles to unbutton.

There are no holds barred in violent scenes, of which there are many. People are thrown across the stage and die excruciating deaths. Choreographer Lauren Nicole Alaimo and Fight Director Adriano Gatto have done a fine job of creating realistic scenes. The knife is the weapon of choice, so there is no shortage of blood, although poison comes into play as well.

“’Tis as common to err in frailty as it is to be a woman,” says Lord Seranzo to the desolate Annabelle, which inspired a loud groan from the opening night audience. While it may seem like an anachronism, one has only to read about current and often successful efforts to control women’s bodies to realize that there are still many changes to be made in that arena.

‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, in a fine production, gets down and dirty as it raises questions about morality, obedience to authority, love, lust, and the dark side of the human heart that humans have struggled with since – well, likely since there have been humans.

You can see ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore at Irish Classical Theatre Company through October 13th.


Join us Saturday, October 12 at 2PM for a FREE Pre-Show Talk.

ICTC’s production of ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore is sparking plenty of discussion.
Join the conversation!

WHEN & WHERE:
Saturday, October 12 at 2PM just steps from ICTC at the Market Arcade, 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY (just prior to the 3PM performance of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford).

Renowned Shakespearean scholar, Dr. Barbara Bono, will present a talk entitled:
Hypocrisy and Passion in John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
and will lead a pre-show discussion.

By the time John Ford wrote ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Romeo and Juliet’s blaze of passion had twisted to calculated negotiation and perverse desires. These talk-back comments will reflect on the rise of love lyric in the late Elizabethan court as an expression of both desire and politics and its increasingly decadent and nihilistic expression under the Stuarts.

Dr. Barbara Bono, Associate Professor in the UB Departments of English and Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, has studied and taught the works of William Shakespeare for over 40 years. For over 20 years, she has been UB’s representative to the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. In 2016, she organized the year-long region-wide commemorative celebration, Buffalo Bard 2016: 400 Years Since Shakespeare.

Dr. Bono is a subscriber to the Irish Classical Theatre Company.

ICTC’s FREE Speakers Series in sponsored by the John R. Oishei Foundation.
THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


Join us Sunday, September 29 at 1PM for a FREE Pre-Show Talk.

ICTC’s production of ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore is sparking plenty of discussion.
Join the conversation!

WHEN & WHERE:
Sunday, September 29 at 1PM at the Irish Classical Theatre Company’s Andrews Theatre, 625 Main Street, Buffalo, NY (just prior to the 2PM performance of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford).

Renowned Shakespearean scholar, Dr. Barbara Bono, will present a talk entitled:
Hypocrisy and Passion in John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
and will lead a pre-show discussion.

By the time John Ford wrote ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Romeo and Juliet‘s blaze of passion had twisted to calculated negotiation and perverse desires. These talk-back comments will reflect on the rise of love lyric in the late Elizabethan court as an expression of both desire and politics and its increasingly decadent and nihilistic expression under the Stuarts.

Dr. Barbara Bono, Associate Professor in the UB Departments of English and Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, has studied and taught the works of William Shakespeare for over 40 years. For over 20 years, she has been UB’s representative to the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. In 2016, she organized the year-long region-wide commemorative celebration, Buffalo Bard 2016: 400 Years Since Shakespeare.

Dr. Bono is a subscriber to the Irish Classical Theatre Company.

ICTC’s FREE Speakers Series in sponsored by the John R. Oishei Foundation.
THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


“The laughs come often and solidly … ICTC has a hit on its hands.” – Brad Auerbach, Enertainment Today

There are jewels of regional theatre spread across the country, and the Irish Classical Theatre is counted among them. Prominent in the burgeoning Buffalo Theatre District, Irish Classical Theatre is helping to draw people to the formerly dark sidewalks of a once-tired city.

Joe Orton’s “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” slyly balances edgy sexual innuendos and proclivities with more traditional British humo(u)r. Written in the mid-1960s as fresh voices were being given a broader platform, the play pricked up many ears and bushy eyebrows with its brashness.

Indeed, when it came time for The Beatles to move to the big screen, they hired Orton to write a screenplay. The results were too edgy for the then squeaky clean Liverpudlians to pursue. (That did not stop George Harrison from later underwriting various Monty Python film projects).

At the Irish Classical Theatre, Anthony J. Grande plays the titular character. As a rather louche chap, perhaps hiding from the law, Mr. Sloane is seeking new digs. Grande does a good job evoking what is needed to appeal to the landlord Kath (Kelli Bocock-Natale) and alternately to her brother Ed (Stan Klimecko). The siblings’ father (Gerry Maher) has little affection for his son or Mr. Sloane; the father’s homophobia undoubtedly standing in for society at large.

The roles of the siblings are well-assayed. Indeed, the brother and sister characters are crucial to the play’s success. As a four hander, the script calls for deft interaction among the actors. Kath is a rather lonely and somewhat clueless zaftig, whom Mr. Sloane quickly seduces. The more worldly brother equally sees Mr. Sloane as a younger boy he wants nearer. Klimecko is excellent in his shifting forgiveness and ruthlessness.

The laughs come often and solidly, and with little dialogue reference to the era in which it was written, the play works decades after I first saw it.
The set (by David Dwyer) is laid out cleverly, allowing for three exits through the audience surrounding the apartment flat.

With crisp direction by Greg Natale and a solid command of script by the quartet of actors, Irish Classical Theatre has a hit on its hands.