Congratulations Jess!

Congratulations to ITOWNY member Jess Levesque on her 2020 AUTISM SPECTRUM award nomination! We are so proud of you!

“We have had a record number of submissions for nominees of the Els for Autism Spectrum Award, and have been blown away by each entry. It has been such a pleasure to read about each of these nominees’ stories, accomplishments, and contributions to the Autism community.”


Happy Birthday ADA!

ITOWNY did a thing! And our video is LIVE! Happy Birthday ADA!! Like and share our video and help us win this challenge!! Would also love to speak with folks in media who might be interested in our journey!

Disability representation in the media is important now more than ever. (Did you know 1 in 4 people have a disability yet this is not represented in the media?! Let’s fix that!)

Check out the documentary shorts submitted to the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge to show your support! 

Commentary · Uncategorized

ITOWNY’s Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and on the Persistence of Racism in America

ITOWNY’s Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and on the Persistence of Racism in America

The members of Inclusive Theater of WNY (ITOWNY) are horrified by and abhor the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Force on 25 May 2020. The lives of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, and a tragically long list of other black Americans lost to the hands of racial injustice and police brutality in recent years is cause for despair, especially because the stories are not new.

It is easy to look to the arts in moments of crisis such as the present, when we seek an understanding of the incomprehensible persistence of political, economic, and social discrimination against persons of color. It may seem harder to remember the outrage we feel in this moment when we return to our theaters and performing art spaces.

However, ITOWNY resolves to keep these troubling aspects at the forefront of our work going forward. There is, of course, much to celebrate in the artistic work that we do, but our passion should never blind us to injustices.

We must never let that indifference to human suffering become our own. We must never deaden our hearts to the pain of others. Our fundamental values demand that we care.

We must bridge the differences of our individual thoughts, to make space for the conversation! This is how we can move forward and sustain momentum, to bring about real change!

Inclusive Theater of WNY

Full (limited edit)

Commentary · Shakespeare in the Parking Lot - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Who Knew?

As rehearsals proceed for Shakespeare in the Parking Lot: A Midsummer Night’s Dream the cast is finding its footing. And they are hilarious. Did you know that Shakespeare was a very funny guy? And he was an anti-snob. His play within a play (at the end of Midsummer Night’s Dream) is ridiculous, and the royal court doesn’t know quite what to make of it–they’re kind of clueless. It’s Shakespeare’s way of making fun of the upper crust. The actors are disrespectful and the royal court can’t figure out if it’s just part of the play–or could it be they are the butt of the joke? Nah…

Our creative and hilarious cast takes the fun to the limit. Here are a few pictures from this weeks’ rehearsals…

For tickets go here


The Power of Theatre

Last night I had a theatre experience I won’t soon forget. The Kavinoky Theatre’s production of 1984 is a disturbing and imaginatively staged vision of a future in which truth is relative and ever changing, depending on the needs of the “elite” which is control of, well, reality itself. Big Brother is always watching but a man called Winston dares to dream that perhaps he has escaped observation in small stolen moments with Julia, the woman he has the audacity to love. The audience is pulled in to believing that maybe, just maybe this couple will find freedom: Freedom to think, freedom to feel, freedom from observation, freedom to have real chocolate..

Aleks Malejs gives depth to what could have been a one dimensional character–Julia– a woman who may (or may not) be just who she says she is. Chris Avery’s portrayal of Winston is something I can’t even describe–but I’ll try. Gut wrenching comes close, but other than that words fail me.

There is one heart stopping moment in that play that occurs between Winston and the audience, and it is shocking, disturbing, paralyzing and is reason alone to see the show. It’s a moment that will stay with me for a very long time.

At the opposite end of the seriousness spectrum, Inclusive Theatre of WNY’s A Festival of Shorts opens on Friday April 5th at 7:30 pm and runs until Sunday April 7th at 2pm at The Foundry, 298 Northampton Street, Buffalo. Tickets are available through paypal here.

So. Here’s my recommendation for a perfect weekend: Catch one of the final performances of 1984 at The Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville on Porter Rd in Buffalo, and then head over to The Foundry for a little comic relief!

Here are pictures from today’s rehearsal of A Festival of Shorts.