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Tony Award nominees Elizabeth Stanley and Mary Testa
By Robyn Horn
Oct 27, 2020, 10:01
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BUFFALO, NY—Alleyway Theatre announces the full cast of its first-ever Digital Theatre Festival, running November 6-22, 2020. Tony Award nominees Elizabeth Stanley and Mary Testa lead the pack of almost 30 performers from Buffalo, NYC, and around the country who will perform in eight different world-premiere works presented both live and on-demand. Tickets for the plays can be purchased individually or as a discounted festival pass. Tickets and information are available at www.alleyway.com.

Exclusively at Alleyway Theatre

"All of these plays are Alleyway originals—they're not productions you can see anywhere else," says Artistic Director Chris J Handley. "New plays are so important. And it's important to us to continue to produce them even now, when we have to do it all virtually."

"The silver lining in this festival is that, because the actors can be located anywhere, we’re able to bring all of these wonderful Broadway performers to the Alleyway. Seeing them work alongside our awesome hometown actors is a real treat for me. It’s what I’ve been talking about since I came on board: highlighting what we do at the Alleyway to a national audience, and bringing world-class writers and performers to create original plays right here in Western New York.”

About the Plays and Performers

Elizabeth Stanley stars in BIG BREATH, a one-woman play by Elizabeth Gjelten. Stanley received her first Tony Award nomination this year for the musical JAGGED LITTLE PILL. BIG BREATH, a finalist this year in Alleyway’s Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, reveals three inner-voices of a woman grappling with isolation and quarantine as it explores what it means to take action and breathe. BIG BREATH will be available for streaming on-demand and is directed by Ansley Valentine.

Brian Gallagher, featured in Broadway’s JEKYLL & HYDE, will star in the Mazumdar-winning play, GOAT SONG, by Matt Harmon. This story of an indie singer-songwriter recovering from addiction and trying to connect to his fans will be performed live twice – on Facebook and Instagram. It will then be available to stream on-demand. Directed by Robyn Lee Horn.

LOL-OL by Sheri Wilner features a plethora of Western New York favorites, led by Debbie Pappas Sham as a laughter yoga instructor navigating the new world of Zoom lessons and all of its twists and turns. Her students are played by Marta Aracelis, Bethany Burrows, Matt Gilbert, Jake Hayes, Sara Jo Kukulka, Bob Mazierski, Mike Starzynski, and Alexandria Watts. Another Mazumdar finalist, LOL-OL is directed by Susan Drozd and will be performed for three livestreamed performances.

SCREAMING INTO THE VOID by Kira Mason is a Mazumdar finalist. Actors Jen Horne, Caroline Huerta, Renee Landrigan, and Michelle Zink-Muñoz will each perform from a different city (Detroit, Tampa, Buffalo, and New York). Directed by Katie Horwitz, the play finds four very different women dropped into a void-like limbo where they begin to question what they might have in common. (Also, screaming and vandalism.) It will be available for streaming on-demand.

Buffalo comedians Don Gervasi and Todd Benzin, of the improv duo BABUSHKA, will perform two livestreamed shows in their first appearance since March. Each time the pair performs, they take suggestions from the audience and create a brand-new original improvised play on-the-spot.

2019 Mazumdar finalists RED ALIEN by Jane B. Jones and THE MIGHTY MAISIE by Bella Poynton will each have a one-night-only livestreamed reading of their play, which includes a short discussion afterward with the playwright. Leading these casts are Buffalo actors Dominique Kempf, Brett Klaczyk, Sara Kow-Falcone, Smirna Mercedes, Jamie Nablo, Ember Tate, Niki Nowak Tolnay, and Emily Yancey. Both productions will be directed by Alleyway dramaturg Samantha Marchant.

Mary Testa will lead an all-star cast for a very special one-night-only benefit reading of MYSTERY BOX by Broadway’s Tom Alan Robbins. Mary Testa is a three-time Tony Award nominee and veteran of more than a dozen Broadway productions including Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Xanadu ad her role as Aunt Eller in the most recent revival of OKLAHOMA! She will be joined by Dakin Matthews (veteran 250 television appearances like “Gilmore Girls” and “King of Queens,” 30 films, and 8 Broadway shows (including Henry IV, The Iceman Cometh, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Waitress), Wesley Taylor (star of TV’s “Smash” and Broadway’s SpongeBob SquarePants and The Addams Family), and Helen Cespedes (from Broadway’s The Cripple of Inishmaan and “The Knick”). The benefit reading will raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, ECMC’s Immunodeficiency Clinic, and Alleyway’s new play programming.


Dakin Mathews
Rounding out the Festival will be masterclasses from Broadway actors Ali Ewoldt (Christine in Phantom of the Opera and Cosette in Les Miserables) and Jared Gertner (Cunningham in The Book of Mormon and Barfee in 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee).

GOAT SONG

November 6 @ 8pm: live on Facebook

November 7 @ 10pm: live on Instagram

November 9-22: streaming on demand



BIG BREATH

November 7-22: streaming on demand



LOL-OL

November 13, 15, 19 @ 8pm: live on Zoom



SCREAMING INTO THE VOID

November 12-22: streaming on demand



BABUSHKA

November 14 and 20 @ 8pm: live on Zoom
MYSTERY BOX

(a special star-studded benefit not included in the Festival Pass)

November 21 @ 8pm: live on Zoom



RED ALIEN

November 10 @ 8pm: live on Zoom



THE MIGHTY MAISIE

November 17 @ 8pm: live on Zoom



ALI EWOLDT MASTERCLASS

November 12 @ 5pm on Zoom



JARED GERTNER MASTERCLASS

October 29 @ 5pm on Zoom


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