The unveiling of the refurbished facade at the Auburn Schine Theater two weeks ago was another step in a long process toward bringing this piece of Auburn's once vibrant downtown back to life.

The Cayuga County Arts Council, under the direction of president Dia Carabajal, has done yeoman's work in securing the grants and raising funds to restore the art deco theater to its original glory. There is still a lot of work to be done to make the theater usable, but it is an attainable goal. I urge anyone who can to make a donation to the Arts Council to help bring a major piece of downtown's history back.

I work from a simple premise when it comes to the revitalization of Auburn's (or any) downtown, people won't necessarily follow businesses, but businesses will always locate where there are people. One group drawing more and more people to downtown is The Auburn Public Theater. By collaborating with other local theater groups, it is providing, not just a venue for performances, but a reason for progressive people to gather downtown. The most recent example was last weekend's production of the intelligent and important play, “Stop Kiss,” by The Actor's Speakeasy.

For those who missed this marvelously talented group, there are three more productions scheduled between now and April. Feb. 23, 24 and 25, the group will present a pair of one act plays, “Autobahn” and “Match.” March 30, 31 and April 1 will feature the one acts “Crash” and “Criminal Minds;” all four will be directed by Jason Pikscher. April 27, 28 and 29, James Cantu directs “The Balcony Scene” by Wil Calhoun. Try not to miss these plays by an enormously talented new group.

In the meanwhile, some seriously adult work is offered by Syracuse Stage and The Redhouse. Syracuse Stage runs Theresa Rebeck's wonderful comedy “Spike Heels” through this weekend. The play boasts sharp direction by retiring Artistic Director Robert Moss and an impressive cast, led by a luminous Marisa Echeverria. The play is an absolute delight from start to finish (the cursing contest in Act I is hysterical.) Rebeck is also the author of last season's wonderful “Bad Dates.”

The Redhouse is offering a production of the play “Frozen,” which begins with a mother waiting for the return of her missing 10-year-old daughter. In the wait and over a period of years, the mother, the kidnapper and a psychiatrist come together to confront each other. The play opens this week, Feb. 2, and runs through Feb. 24.

Appleseed's “The Diviners,” about a preacher who tries to help a traumatized boy, and Kitchen Theatre's original musical, “Comfort Food,” both play through Feb. 10. This is also the final weekend for The Talent Company's production of “High School Musical.” This production has sold out nearly every seat of the run. Congratulations to Chris Lightcap, her cast and crew.

And while congratulations are being handed out, the theater community welcomes the arrival of nearly nine pounds of thespian potential delivered to Angela Daddabbo and Carey Eidel.

Tom Woods writes monthly on local and regional theater news. E-mail him at thewoodhead@yahoo.com

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