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Movie and TV actress Anne Heche (pictured above) is now starring in her own TV series, the comedy/drama Men in Trees (Fridays at 9pm on ABC), set in a small town in Alaska where the ratio of men to women is 10 to one. In 2004 Heche got a Tony nomination for her performance in the comedy Twentieth Century in which she starred opposite Alec Baldwin. She made a very successful Broadway debut in 2002 in David Auburn’s drama Proof, playing the role created by Mary Louise Parker. The play originated at Manhattan Theatre Club.

Although Kathleen Gaffney has already begun her tenure as Studio Arena’s new artistic director, her first real pick for the current season will be the theater’s upcoming production, Richard Greenberg’s fascinating family drama Three Days of Rain, which she will also direct. The play was first produced at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1997 and was presented on Broadway this past season with Julia Roberts making her not very auspicious theatrical debut. Greenberg is one of the most prominent and prolific contemporary playwrights.

Buffalo United Artists will kick off its 15th season with Charles Busch’s comic melodrama Die, Mommie, Die! Directed by Chris Kelly, the production will star Jimmy Janowski (as movie diva Angela Arden), Mary Loftus, Joey Bucheker, Jamie Cudcudney, Lawrence Rowswell and Mark Votta. The show opens October 13th at the Main Street Cabaret. BUA’s season will also include the new romantic gay comedy Based on a Totally True Story, Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, Del Shores’s Sordid Lives and the return of Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion!. The latter will run January 5-27 in the same time slot where in 1992 BUA made its debut with A…My Name is Alice at the old Franklin Street Theatre (now the Buffalo Chop House), which was home of Theatre of Youth (TOY) for a long time.

This year will mark TOY’s 35th season. It will open on October 6 with David Wood’s The Witches, adapted from the classic novel by Roald Dahl. Directed by Meg Quinn, The Witches will star Kurt Guba, Kathleen Betsko Yale, Christopher Michael LaBanca, Matthew LaChiusa, Moira Keenan, Bret McCormick and Mary McMahon. The production will also feature the Verizon Telecom Pioneers, who will volunteer on stage as witch-extras for every performance.

(photo: Rose Mattrey)

Victor DeLorenzo, drummer of the folk-punk band the Violent Femmes, will be making his Alleyway Theatre debut in the upcoming production of the musical Reefer Madness, which also stars Stephanie Bax, Jennifer Caruana, Casey Denton, Christopher J. Handley, Guy Tomassi and Kim Piazza. Directed by Todd Warfield, with musical direction by Theresa Quinn and choreography by Carlos Jones, the show will run October 26-November 17. The Violent Femmes performed at Thursday in the Square this past August.

Anne Gayley and Katie White will reprise their performances as Amanda and Laura in the upcoming Kavinoky Theatre production of The Glass Menagerie. Directed by Robert Waterhouse, the Tennessee Williams classic will also star Paul Todaro and Joseph Wiens. Gayley played Amanda back in 1989 in a production directed by Chris O’Neill (for his company No Limits Productions), which also starred Eileen Dugan, Michael Karr and Tom Dooney. White played Laura opposite Bess Brown Kregal’s Amanda in the 1997 production of the Oasis Theatre Company.

The very popular musical Mamma Mia! will mark its 5th anniversary on Broadway on October 18th. To celebrate the occasion, a special edition CD/DVD package will be released on October 17. The national tour will again hit Shea’s Performing Arts Center October 3-8.

Things are gearing up for the 25th anniversary Curtain Up! celebration which will be held on Friday, September 29. The evening starts with a Gala Dinner on stage at Shea’s and culminates with a free post/party community celebration featuring fireworks and live entertainment in the Theatre District. Special curtain time for all participating theaters that night is 8:30pm. Curtain Up! means that the holidays are just around the corner. This year the Rockettes will be making their Canadian debut with their Christmas Spectacular, which will play Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre For the Performing Arts, November 14-December 31. Here, two of the Canadian Rockettes are pictured at Lafayette Square in Buffalo during a publicity swing through the Queen City.