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The Ultimate Guide

5 theater companies off the beaten path

Theatre Jugend

Young director and playwright Drew McCabe founded this small company in 2010 to present edgy work by local and national playwrights that appeals to an under-30 crowd. The goal, McCabe said at the time, was to “inject some much-needed youth into the Western New York theater community.” It has since become the artistic home for angst-ridden Buffalo playwright Justin Karcher and other local writers, but also has presented musicals by Trey Parker (of “South Park” fame) as well as jarring plays by Eugene Ionesco and Bert V. Royal.

Second Generation Theatre

Founded by a trio of University at Buffalo’s theater department graduates intent on making lives in the arts for themselves in Western New York, this young company burst onto the scene in June, 2013 with a well-received production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” Though its mission has yet to come fully into focus, the energy and ambition of its producers – each of whom is also a talented actress in her own right – is evident.

Raíces

A newly re-established company, headed by local actor and director Victoria Perez and operating under the auspices of Road Less Traveled Productions, Raíces is dedicated to plays by Latino writers and/or about Latino culture. In a city with a large and vibrant Latino community, the company strives to produce plays relevant to the lives and experiences of the Spanish-speaking population. Its plays and readings are presented in English – with a little “Spanglish” thrown in, according to Perez – and are meant to appeal to a broad audience.

Brazen-Faced Varlets

As the city’s only official feminist theater troupe, the Brazen-Faced Varlets presents updated takes on classics from Shakespeare and other standard-bearing playwrights as well as original pieces that explore the lives and struggles of women. The troupe frequently performs in the tiny back room of Rust Belt Books, a favorite venue for Buffalo’s Bohemian crowd and a place where the Varlets seem right at home.

Alemaedae Theatre Productions

Launched by playwright Phil Davis in 2007, this eclectic theater and film production company grew out of the culture of Buffalo’s East Side. Its original plays and comedy events take place in venues across the city – many of them in the Road Less Traveled Theatre in downtown’s Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre. Productions range from relationship dramas to urban kitchen sink plays, sometimes infused with hip-hop music and dance and occasionally in the mode of Tyler Perry.

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  • Bill Blenk

    Happy to have such ambitious folks in our city choosing and writing such amazing work! Great to see them get a "shout out." Keep it coming!