Looking for something different to do other than hitting the local movie theater? One of Buffalo's artistic glories has always been Shea's Performing Arts Center. The new season at Shea's shows promise to exceed all expectations with many award-winning Broadway shows coming to town.
"Mary Poppins" is the first Broadway show to arrive at Shea's this season. The adaptation of the musical puts a new twist on the Disney classic. Innovative songs have been added to the wonderful story line about a British banker, his wife and his two unruly children, Jane and Michael. The show also has numerous elaborate sets and choreography to all the new songs, and also some original ones such as "Feed the Birds," "Step In Time," and, of course, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." "Mary Poppins" will be playing Oct. 14-31.
After "Mary Poppins" departs, "Dreamgirls" steps in. The catchy music leads the way to an ingenious plot about three show girls -- Effie, Deena and Lorrell -- who become backup vocalists for a famous rock 'n' roll and soul singer. "Dreamgirls" will play Dec. 14-19.
Next up, "Shrek the Musical" stomps onto the stage. Following the same plot line of the original DreamWorks movie, Shrek, an ogre played by Eric Petersen, must save Princess Fiona, played by Haven Burton, with the help of his friend Donkey, played by Alan Mingo Jr., from a dragon so that Lord Farquaad, played by David F.M. Vaughn, can marry her and become king of his small principality, Duloc. It plays from Feb. 22-27.
After "Shrek" leaves, another monstrous production arrives. In "Young Frankenstein," the original Frankenstein's grandson, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced Fronkensteen), dreams of creating an animated corpse with the help of his assistants Igor and Inga. When Frederick succeeds in creating a monster, it's up to the trio to stop the monster from creating any destruction. Fun choreography accompanies songs such as "Transylvania Mania," "Life, Life" and "Deep Love" in this musical, which runs March 22-27.
Another green character comes to town in "Wicked," in which Elphaba, played by Mandy Gonzales, is born green with enormous magical powers in the Land of Oz. When Elphaba and her sister, Nessarose, attend Shiz University, they meet Galinda. Galinda and Elphaba loathe each other at first, but when Elphaba allows Galinda to take magic lessons with her, they soon become friends. The magic continues in Emerald City. Based on the book by Gregory Maguire, this spellbinding musical plays from April 27 to May 22.
The final Broadway show coming to Shea's is truly a classic. "West Side Story" is about the Jets, a gang from the streets of New York City, and the Sharks, a gang that hails from Puerto Rico but moves to New York City. Tensions build between the two groups and a vast rivalry is set up. The original Leonard Bernstein music accompanies stellar choreography. A new twist has been added when the Sharks sing and speak in Spanish. The musical runs June 7-12.
The musical season at Shea's will be a thrilling one. For more information, visit www.sheas.org.
Emily DeRoo is a sophomore at Williamsville North High School.