By Robert W. Plyler
Nearly every week, we conclude this column with a number of short pieces, which we call the Winks of the Critical Eye.
It is an opportunity for me to share with you information which I have received about the arts in general or about specific upcoming events which you might find interesting, but about which we cannot devote the space for a full examination. It's not unusual for a reader to complain that by the time a Wink appears in print, there isn't much time to make preparations to go. On the other hand, it isn't unusual for a reader to complain that an announcement is made so far in advance that the reader is distracted by other concerns and never gets to act upon the announcement.
At the moment, my email inbox contains 318 announcements which people want us to share with you. With the understanding that it isn't possible to match the personal planning styles of all of our readers at the same time, I have found that this week, I need the entire column space to share it all with you. So, with that in mind, let's look at the banquet of riches which are available for arts lovers in Chautauqua County in mid-November of 2013.
Often we pass up the opportunity to share events which are happening right here, because they appear again in the arts calendar, which follows this column by a page or two, but since we're devoting so much space this week, we can even include some which will be there, as well. Welcome to a Week of Winks.
The Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown will perform a production of ''Shrek: the Musical,'' opening Dec. 7 and running through Dec. 14. Some days there are two performances, and other days, there are none, so be sure when you purchase your tickets that you know for certain when your curtain will rise.
Purchase your tickets in person at the LBLTJ box office at 18 E. Second St., in Jamestown, or reserve them by phone at 483-1095,
On Dec. 4, Symphoria, a symphony orchestra from Syracuse, will perform in Jamestown a concert of light classics and holiday pops.
The performance will be at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, at 8 p.m. Those holding memberships in the Jamestown Concert Assn. will be admitted without additional charge. For additional information about the concert or to purchase tickets, phone 487-1522 or go to www.jamestownconcertassociation.org.
The Bemus Point United Methodist Church will present a production of a stage version of the popular holiday film ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' on Dec. 6-7 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.
The entire production is family friendly. Tickets may be purchased in person from the church's office, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., or immediately after services at the church. They may also be purchased at itickets.com. Admission price is $15.
The church is located at 4954 Bemus-Ellery Road, Bemus Point.
Tomorrow at 7 p.m. the Chautauqua Region Youth Symphony will perform a concert at Saints Peter and Paul Church, at 508 Cherry St., in downtown Jamestown. The advanced string players from the ensemble will perform, under the baton of their music director, Bryan Eckenrode, a concert of music by Mozart, Vivaldi and Leroy Anderson, plus a selection of traditional holiday works.
There is no admission charge for the performance, although a freewill offering will be taken to support the purchase of music and other expenses.
Beginning in January, all three of the organization's youth ensembles will begin rehearsals for the current academic year. For information about a young person's joining of the ensembles, or to arrange for musicians to perform at a meeting or a gathering, phone 664-2465, ext. 202.
Through Dec. 1, Buffalo's Road Less Travelled Theater Company is performing a production of the play ''Clybourne Park,'' by Bruce Norris. Although the company is incorrectly billing the production as the "Western New York Premiere" of the play, which had a successful run on Broadway in the recent past, the play was produced at Chautauqua Institution last summer.
Performances are taking place, not in the usual performance space of RLTP, but at 710 Main St., the former home of Studio Arena Theatre, at the intersection of Main and Tupper streets, in downtown Buffalo. Admission is $35 for the general public, and $17 for students. Performances begin on Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
To reserve tickets, phone 629-3069, or go online to the company's website at roadlesstravelledproductions.org.
Through Dec. 13, artifacts of the Mayan Indians will be on display at the KOA Gallery at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Some of the artifacts date approximately to the year 600.
The artifacts have been donated to the university by alumni Jerome and the late Jack Fishkin, of Bradford. There is no admission charge.
The gallery opens Mondays through Fridays at 8:30 a.m., and closes Mondays through Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Fridays at 4:30 p.m.
Readers who are interested in giving a unique, arts-related holiday gift this year may want to visit the Burchfield-Penney Art Gallery in Buffalo on Dec. 6-8. In addition to the usual fine merchandise in their gift shop, the gallery will sponsor Open Studios Days, at which a number of local artists and artisans will sell original creations of theirs, with 20 percent of the sale price being donated to the gallery. During the evening, the Burchfield's cafe will be selling a number of special holiday treats, including homemade egg nog.
Those able to make an especially generous gift may want to consider naming a seat in the gallery's auditorium for the person of your choice. Each seat will bear a small plaque, identifying the donor or the person of the donor's choice. To dedicate a seat costs $1,000, or $1,500 for an aisle seat.
For more information, go to www.ArtistsinBuffalo.org, or phone the gallery at 878-6011. The gallery is located at 1300 Elmwood Ave., directly across the street from the Albright-Knox Gallery.
The Buffalo Philharmonic and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus each spring holds a program called High School Choral Affiliates, which gives talented singers among high school students the opportunity to perform with the two professional music organizations. This year's regular program will begin in April.
This year, the organizations have expanded their program, to invite entire high school singing ensembles to perform with them in holiday pops concerts, Dec. 13 at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Dec. 14 at 8 pm. and Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
Each year, for many years now, the Living Christmas Tree has performed during the early dates in December, at First Covenant Church, 520 Spring St., in Jamestown.
A choir of community volunteers sings a Christmas cantata, with full orchestra accompaniment and additional performances by narrators, actors, dancers, and others.
This year, performances will be Dec. 6-8. Friday start time is 8 p.m. Saturday there are two performances, at 5 and 8 p.m. Sunday's performance begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $7. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, go to www.firstcovchurch.com, or phone 483-9825.
Women artists are invited to apply to display their artwork in this year's Women Create Juried Art Show, which will be held in the 3rd on 3rd Gallery, March 1-29, 2014. Deadline for applications is Dec. 15.
Application fee is $35, which will pay for the professional juror and for the hanging of the show. Accepted artists must make individual arrangements to deliver artwork to the gallery and to pick it up, when the exhibit ends.
For additional information about the show, go to www.womencreate.org.
Disney on Ice will perform in Erie, Jan. 29 to Feb. 2. This year's show includes scenes involving Ariel and Ursula from the Little Mermaid, Aurora and the Prince from Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White and other characters from Disney film classics.
To purchase tickets, and for more information about performances, to www.erieevents.com, or phone 814-452-4857. The performances take place at the Erie Insurance Arena, 809 French St., in downtown Erie.
Through Dec. 9, Buffalo's Kavinoky Theatre will be performing a production of Buffalo native Tom Dudzik's play, ''Miracle on South Division St.''
The play is set in Buffalo, and concerns a family who believes they have been visited in person by the Virgin Mary. Should they hold a press conference, build a shrine, or keep the good news to themselves?
Tickets are $39 for the general public, with discounts for senior citizens, students and active members of the U.S. military. To reserve tickets, phone 829-7668 or go to www.kavinokytheatre.org. There is no service charge for tickets purchased at these sites.
The company performs in their own theater, on the campus of D'Youville College, 320 Porter Ave., in Buffalo.
The Shaw Festival, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, completed their 2013 season earlier this month and has released statistics from the season to the public.
This year, the festival gave 744 performances, which were attended by a total of 270,570 paying audience members. Box office revenues were the highest in the festival's history, topping $16 million in Canadian funds. Canadian audience members increased by 19 percent over previous years. One-third of audience members came from outside Canada, including the U.S.
The most successful productions of the season were ''Guys and Dolls,'' and ''Lady Windermere's Fan.'' Details of the 2014 season of plays at the festival can be viewed at www.shawfest.com, or by phoning 800- 511-7429.
Speaking of Canadian theater festivals, the Stratford Festival has recently experimented by running two buses per day to Stratford from Toronto. Many readers complain to us that they love to attend performances at Stratford, but they find the traffic and the highway conditions unpleasant to deal with.
The Toronto buses have been so successful, the festival has announced they will run buses from Detroit to Stratford, three days per week. The buses, with a round trip fare of $40, leave Detroit at 8 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. They leave for the return half of the trip at 5 p.m. on those same days. Passengers do not need to return on the same day on which they arrive in Stratford, but may stay for as many performances and other activities as they wish. Passports or other government-approved documents are required for the border crossing. Those purchasing the bus tickets must also purchase theater tickets, as well.
Round trip buses from Detroit to Stratford are not likely to be convenient for local readers, but I pass the information along because such bus arrangements might eventually be offered from Buffalo to Stratford, and that is especially more likely if those interested in making that trip were to inform Stratford that it is so.
Tickets for the 2014 season at Stratford are already on sale to members of the festival. They go on sale to the general public on Jan. 4. The new season will open April 21 and is scheduled to end Oct. 12, although in most of the recent seasons, one or more plays have been extended due to demand for tickets.
Contact Stratford at 800- 567-1600, or by email through their website at www.stratfordfestival.ca. Note the ending ''.ca,'' rather than ''.com.'' Their regular mailing address is Stratford Festival, 55 Queen St., P.O. Box 520, Stratford, Ontario, Canada N6A 6V2. Mail to Canada requires additional postage from the U.S.
Readers interested in something different in a holiday performance are invited performances of ''The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,'' a comedy of scandal in extremely northern locations, performed by the Fearless Players at American Repertory Theatre, at 16 Linwood Ave., in Buffalo.
The production contains adult language and situations, and is not intended for children. Performances run Dec. 12-21, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $15 if purchased in advance online, and $12 for students and military veterans. Phone 634-1102 or go to www.artofwny.org.
Next Saturday, between noon and 2 p.m., more than 50 published authors from Western New York will be present at the Buffalo History Museum to sell copies of their books, and to autograph those books for the public.
The event is an opportunity to meet these authors and to obtained signed copies of their works, either for yourself or as a gift for someone who especially values them.
Admission to the event is free of charge, and there is no charge for parking. In addition to the books, the museum's gift shop will be open, enabling the public to purchase unusual and interesting merchandise for themselves or to give as gifts. Many of these are created by local artists or by local manufacturers.
The museum is located just off Elmwood Ave. and the intersection of Nottingham Terrace, at One Museum Court, in Buffalo. For additional information, phone 873-9644, ext. 0, or check their website at www.buffalohistory.org.
Comic Jim Gaffigan and his White Bread Tour will perform at Erie's Warner Theatre, on March 26. Country singer Darius Rucker will perform at the Erie Insurance Arena on Feb. 27.
For information about either performance or to purchase tickets, use the contact information for ''Disney on Ice,'' above.
On Dec. 5-15, the theater department at Niagara University, in Niagara Falls, will present a production of the comic play ''The Philadelphia Story,'' by Phillip Barry.
Performances will take place in the Cleary Theatre, inside Clet Hall, on the university's campus. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for senior citizens, audience members age 21 or younger, or employees and faculty of NU. Students of NU are entitled to one free ticket per production. Students with valid I.D. from other institutions than NU may obtain free admission by waiting at the box office until just before curtain time, at which time they may claim any unsold tickets which might remain.
To reserve tickets, phone 286-8685 or send an email to email@example.com.
Programs in December, in the ''Great Performances'' series on WNED-TV, public broadcasting from Buffalo, include programs dealing with Oscar Hammerstein II, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, The National Dance Company of Ireland, the production of ''Boris Gudonov'' from the Metropolitan Opera, the Texas Tenors, Il Volo, the Irish Rovers, singer Chris Mann, and many more. Consult your television listings for specific times and the location of the station on your dial.
Through Dec. 22, O'Connell and Company will perform ''Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings,'' which is the holiday version of the popular ''Plaid Tidings'' plays, by Stuart Ross, in the Buffalo suburb of Snyder.
Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for the general public, with discounts offered to students, senior citizens, members of the U.S. military, and those who are associated with the Park School Community.
Performances take place in the Park School, at 4625 Harlem Road, in Snyder. The theater is in the Helen Long Building. For additional information or to purchase tickets, phone 848-0800 or go to their website at www.oconnellandcompany.com.
Tickets go on sale Dec. 1 for the musical ''American Idiot,'' with music by the rock group Green Day and lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong. The show will be performed Feb. 28 by the professional touring company of the production. The show had a successful run on Broadway in 2010, where it was nominated for a Tony for Best Musical and won a Grammy for best cast album.
The single performance is a special engagement by Shea's Performing Arts Center, in Buffalo, and is not included on season tickets to Shea's Broadway series.
Tickets range in price from $27.50-$57.50. For more information or to purchase tickets, phone 800-745-3000 or go to www.sheas.org.