In September, the Buffalo Theatre Ensemble will raise its curtain once again as it presents its first production in three years.
"It feels like the first show," said longtime Buffalo Theatre Ensemble member Kurt Naebig of Lombard, who is directing the ensemble in the Tony-nominated comedy "Don't Dress for Dinner." "It's really nice to be working with people I'm familiar with, but it also feels like we've got to make this one great. We want to start with a bang again."
"Don't Dress for Dinner" will be presented from Sept. 8 to Oct. 9 at the College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Tickets for adults are $35, available by going to the MAC's website, atthemac.org.
The Buffalo Theatre Ensemble is returning this fall as a resident theater company at the College of DuPage. The majority of COD trustees at their April 21 meeting voted to support a plan to bring the theater group back to the campus.
The Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, founded in 1986, previously had operated out of the McAninch Arts Center. The group had been on a hiatus after being told it would no longer get any in-kind support from the college, including subsidized rent and front-of-house services, as the college sought a more financially viable presence for the MAC. The group recently received its status as a nonprofit organization.
Although the ensemble is a nonprofit equity theater group featuring professional actors, students have the opportunity to learn about the productions and help with them, including as assistant stage managers and crew members.
That includes COD acting student Patrick Wood, 27, of Glen Ellyn, who is serving as acting stage manager for "Don't Dress for Dinner." He is the first recipient of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's stage management scholarship.
"I get to see how the professionals do it," Wood said. "I think if you're going to go into an industry, you've got to see how the professionals are doing it. And the best way to be a professional is to learn from one... And being able to actually work in there with them is a learning process that you wouldn't get in a classroom."
Wood previously has worked as a stage manager for student shows at COD. He is a 2008 graduate of Glenbard South High School.
Besides being an actor and director with Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Naebig has acted in such films as "Public Enemies" and "Road to Perdition" and television shows like "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D."
Naebig enjoys being part of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble.
"One of the great things about an ensemble is you get to know each other," he said. "You get to know how everybody works."
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble will present three shows this season. Besides "Don't Dress for Dinner," the season will include "Good People," which will be from Feb. 2 to March 5, and "Improbable Fiction," which will run from May 4 to June 4.
The group's artistic director, Connie Canaday Howard of Downers Grove, is also a theater professor at COD. She plays the role of Jacqueline in "Don't Dress for Dinner."
She is currently in rehearsals with other Buffalo Theatre Ensemble members.
"It feels like a step forward," Howard said.
She said season ticket sales have been strong.
"We're nearing 450 subscribers the first year back," Howard said. "For having been gone for three years, we're really happy with how sales are going."
Information is available by going to Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's website at btechicago.com.