Today at Canalside, from 5 to 9 p.m., visitors may come across a man dressed in early-19th century garb holding forth on the construction of the Erie Canal. No need to call the men in white jackets -- that's just actor Nick Russo doing his best impression of former New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton, who was instrumental in fostering the canal's construction. The monumental waterway officially opened in 1825 in Buffalo.
The idea of having a roving historical character at Canalside came from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, which worked with MusicalFare Theatre to make the project happen. If all goes well, MusicalFare Artistic and Executive Director Randall Kramer said, more characters will be on their way. They may even develop a bit of good-natured historical rivalry while they're at it, he said.
For now, audiences can catch Clinton doing his thing at Canalside today from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sept. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.