2007-08 Season


Alania Renee Miller

Marie Costa & Michael Votta


Emily Littler & Andrew Michalski

Nick Dostel & Heather Violanti


Hugh Davis

Sharon Hardy

Love the ART in You

The American Classics Series  
The Rose Tattoo

April 2008
Theatreloft 545 Elmwood Avenue
An Italian-American widow in Louisiana, Serafina Delle Rose, allows herself to be emotionally and physically withdrawn from the world after her husband's death, and expects her daughter to follow in the same discourse. However, hidden passion steams to the surface, like Louisiana heat, and both mother and daughter are suddenly wrapped in the bouquet of a Rose Tatto
Directed By
Buffalo Theater ARTIE Award nominated Christopher Standard
Joy Scime; Candace Lukasik; Marie Costa Carol J Alaimo; Alaina Renee Miller; Diane M Cammarata; Kerry Kate Able; Peter Jaskowiak; Kelly Ferguson Moore; Mary Loftus; John Kaczorowski; Diane Serra; Michael Votta
2008 ARTIE Award Nomination for Best Ensemble
"We are mostly wincing or almost crying, while at the same time sagely smiling or edging toward laughter as director Chris Standart and cast mine the wealth of situations - many of them sexually charged - that arise...A detriment to this production is the volume level at which Standart and his lead actress chose to represent her character's intense emotions...Costa's portrayal of her character's distress throughout is palpable - and still would have been at a lower decibel level. The sustained volume emphasizes the heightened state this character lives in but leads to a sort of "boy who cried wolf" syndrome of emotional sameness. It is exhausting. Additionally, the screaming - delivered in English and Italian - was so loud it was difficult to understand some of the lines...The production has a cohesiveness. From the set by Thomas & Matthew LaChiusa; Chris Standart, lighting by Michael Lodick, and costumes by CC Collier, to the dozen-plus actors, including Michael Votta; Joy Scime, Peter Jaskowiak, Jeanne Cairns, an evocative atmosphere is admirably upheld...This is a challenging play. And while Matthew LaChiusa's American Repertory Theater's production adds some of its own challenges, it is worth seeing; it is thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pertinent."
 Jana Eisenburg--

Rebel Yell Series 
When Ya Comin' Back, Red Ryder?
By Mark Medoff
February 2008
Foster's Diner is situated in a New Mexico rest stop that doesn't serve as many customers as it once did, due to a new highway bypass. Today, however, the diner will see more action that it has in a long while. Written in 1973, this play remains timeless with it's focus on fear and repression displayed in various forms. A well crafted slice-of-life drama that continues to hold up in this day and age of uncertainty and cynicism.

Directed By
Matthew LaChiusa
Linda Stein; Andrew Michalski; Nick Dostal; Heather Violanti; Matthew LaChiusa; Michael Leszczynski; Emily Littler

Original Playwright Series
Axeman's Jazz
By Matthew LaChiusa
January 2008
Directed by
Matthew LaChiusa

ARTIE Nomination for Best Original Play

Artvoice's Best of Buffalo nominated for Best Production
Thomas LaChiusa; Hugh Davis; Sharon Hardy; Jennifer Arroyo

From 1917 to 1919 a series of bizarre axe-murders shocked New Orleans. With no suspects in sight, the police were baffled by the case and the denizens hid in fear as many claimed the killer was a demon. Then in March 1919, a letter was sent to The Times Picayune informing the citizens and police that if the city played jazz all night they would be spared from the axe. Those who did not faced dire consequences.

"Based on actual historical events, LaChiusa's play uses the unsolved murders to weave a tale that explores the meanings of our lives and our relationships to others as we go through an inevitable cycle that includes (but does not end with) death. The subject and setting are wonderfully compelling and the writing is impressively strong. The play clicks along economically... the reading was intriguing and tremendously enjoyable" 
Anthony Chase of Artvoice
Review of First Draft Reading
2007 Infringement Festival
Matthew LaChiusa's play, Axeman's Jazz, a reading of which was one of the happy surprises of this year's Infringement Festival, is enjoying a more fully realized production at Rust Belt Books. The story of a hoodoo doctor who plays a pivotal role in stopping a New Orleans serial killer in 1913, the tale is based on actual historical incidents.

Whereas the reading had been dominated by the women, this production is dominated by the men, giving the proceedings a rather different, but intriguing spin. Detective Talbot, played by Thomas LaChiusa, emerges as the major character and as the play's most interesting presence. As Talbot seeks to solve the crime, he also endeavors to resolve the mysteries of his life. This turns out to be a more interesting spine for the play than the dilemma of Doctor Jaquinne, which dominated the first version.