Curtain Up! Opens Fall Theater Season

September 11, 2010 Updated Sep 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

September 11, 2010 Updated Sep 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The 29th annual Curtain Up! celebration
celebrated the start of the Western New York fall theater season Friday night.

Festivities began with a black-tie dinner on the main stage at Shea's, where a record crowd donned their best "creative black tie' to enjoy a full course meal. Tony Conte, the President of Shea's Center For The Performing Arts, told Eyewitness News that this long running event is unique to Buffalo.

Following the dinner, patrons are off to attend one of over 20 theatrical presentations staged in the city or other venue in WNY. Mr. Conte noted that support for theater in a city the size of Buffalo is immense. Many productions that visit Shea's break attendance records, which is why so many top shows visit the Queen city. While there was no production on the main stage at Shea's due to the dinner, the adjacent Smith Theater was home to "The Eclectic Improv."

Lisa Ludwig-Kramer, a popular fixture in the theater community, told reporter Jaclyn Asztalos about the diverse selection of theatrical presentations that followed. For instance, the Alleyway Theater staged an edgy effort called "Mookie Cranks A Tater," while the Irish Classical Theater presented "The Cant." Ludwig-Kramer noted that with over 20 theaters to visit, there was something for everyone - whether it was the music of the 60's at the Theater Of Youth on Allen Street, or the presentation at the Lancaster Opera House out in the suburbs.

You didn't have to go to the black tie gala to enjoy the shows. Thousands flocked to theaters taking in a production. Many of those shows will continue for several weeks at their respective theaters.

Several of the participating theaters visited Channel 7's 'Good Morning Western New York" this week. You can see those segments by going to the Local News section of and click GMWNY.

At 10pm, the weather couldn't be better for the free street party on Main Street. The final part of the night included musical performances from the likes of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Latin Jazz Project, Mark Winsick, Theresa Quinn & Friends, 12/8 Path Band and many more. Street performances and vendors from all over joined in the fun.

Constance Caldwell from the Theater Alliance of Buffalo, and cast member of Channel 7's "Off Beat Cinena"- has put together a comprehensive website of all the theatrical offerings in Western New York on their website - so the celebration of theater and the arts can continue all season long.

For more information, click here.