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Celebrating Buffalo's guitar heroes

As veterans of the Buffalo music scene, guitarists Jamie Holka, Mark Krurnowski, Ron LoCurto and Bruce Wojick have played with some of the area's best known bands, performed solo gigs, taken part in various musical projects and shared stages with some true musical greats of nationall renown.

On Saturday, the four guitarists will be the main attraction in an evening celebrating Buffalo's rich heritage of great guitar players. Holka, Krurnowski, LoCurto and Wojick will play separate sets as well as do a bit of jamming together during "Buffalo Guitar Heroes Part 1" at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.)

To learn more about them, read the Gusto cover story by Jeff Miers and watch Buffalo News photographer Harry Scull Jr.'s video where you can hear from the musicians in their own words, as well as hear them perform.

Tickets for the concert are $8 advance, $10 day of show (box office, Walmart). Call 852-2860 or visit www.tralfmusichall.com.

New Direction Band's new CD celebrates polka

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The New Direction Band's new CD, "Follow Directions," is now available.

Why wait until Dyngus Day? Let the spring polka season begin! The New Direction Band, featuring Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee Ron Urbanczyk on concertina, has just released a new CD, and is celebrating with a polka party.

The CD is called "Follow Directions," and bears the classic subtitle: "Honky Style Polkas With Just a Little Push." Honky style, the band explains, refers to the old country style of polka music, the style this band prefers. The new disc reflects those sensibilities. Included are such promising-sounding polkas as "Nights Alone," "Lost My Shoes" and "It’s Polka Time Somewhere," as well as traditional Polish numbers.

Besides Urbanczyk, the New Direction Band features Jim Raczkowski on drums; Bob Krupka on trumpet; Frank Zeczak on clarinet, sax and drums; and Bill Barnas on piano, keyboard bass, fiddle and stand-up bass.

They roll out the barrel from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 21) in Potts Banquet Hall (694 S. Ogden St.). Admission is $7. The CD will be available at a discount and, it is whispered, Danny Potts is throwing in a "free" buffet.

For info, call 675-6588.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

"A Chorus Line" opens in the Lancaster Opera House

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Red Carpet Productions presents "A Chorus Line" in the Lancaster Opera House.

"A Chorus Line," that anguished musical love letter to the sprit of the stage performer conceived and directed by Buffalo’s Michael Bennett, has long been a community theater favorite. And for good reason -- its large ensemble cast, lush score, performer-centric subject matter and challenging choreography are just the thing for young actors to sink their teeth into.

That’s just what we’ll see on the stage of the Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster) as Red Carpet Productions opens its production of the beloved musical for an eight-show run. Directed by Dawn Smith-Deluca, it features a cast of 19, with Bennett’s choreography re-created by Stacy Zawadzki-Janusz and music direction by Linda Appleby.

Tickets to the show, which runs through Feb. 4, are $20 to $22. For more information, call 683-1776 or visit www.lancopera.org.

-- Colin Dabkowski

Miers on Music live chat

Having Faith: Buffalo United Artists present "Avow"

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Michael Seitz stars in the Buffalo United Artists production of "Avow."

Until relatively recently, the idea of reconciling an openly gay lifestyle with the tenets of the Catholic faith was all but impossible. But as LGBT rights continue to advance (if only by inches), more gay men and women are striving to be true to themselves without losing their religion.

This contemporary challenge, along with questions of celibacy and sexual repression, sits at the heart of "Avow," the 1996 play by Bill C. Davis that opens tonight (Jan. 20) in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre (119 W. Chippewa St.). The show, first produced by BUA in 2001, follows the story of two men who want their love recognized in the eyes of their priest, who insists the pair live a celibate life in order to remain in the church. Through the course of the play, the priest begins to question his own vows of celibacy.

The show, directed by Kelli Bocock-Natale, stars Danny Beason, Diane Curley, Kevin Keleher, Joseph Natale, Michael Seitz, Tess Spangler and Kathleen Betsko Yale. Tickets are $15 to $23 with more information available at 886-9239 or www.buffalobua.org.

-- Colin Dabkowski

"Choice" Words: Brazen-Faced Varlets perform this weekend

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The Brazen-Faced Varlets, Buffalo’s premiere (OK, only) feminist thespian troupe will mount a three-show performance this weekend focusing on women’s reproductive rights.

"Words of Choice," a defiantly pro-choice one-act piece by Cindy Cooper that excerpts various works by advocates of abortion rights, opens at 7:30 tonight (Jan. 20) in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.) and repeats at the same time Saturday (Jan. 21) and Sunday (Jan. 22).

"With all of the current controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights once again in the forefront, the piece is very timely and controversial," said the Brazen-Face Varlets’ Kelly Beuth, who directs the piece. The cast includes Diane DiBernardo, Wendy Hall, Paul McGinnis, Brittany Kucala, Kate Olena, Amelia Scinta, Jennifer Arroyo, Jenny Gembka, Theresa DiMuro Wilber and Amy Wrzos.

Tickets are $12, with a portion of the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. For more info, call 854-1694 or visit www.hallwalls.org.

-- Colin Dabkowski

O'Connell & Company presents "Nunsense A-Men!"

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O'Connell & Company presents the all-male production of "Nunsense A-Men!"

As fodder for lighthearted theater, the conventional wisdom is that you can’t go wrong with nuns. In heavily Catholic Buffalo, theater producers have had no problem signing on to that philosophy, usually to hilarious effect.

Just in the last two years, we’ve had "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun," "The Divine Sister" and "Sister’s Midnight Catechism," among others. And let’s not forget the women of "Nunsense," the irrepressible franchise of nun-based musicals that got its start just down the Thruway in Rochester’s Downstairs Cabaret.

Tonight (Jan. 19), O’Connell and Company will mount its latest "Nunsense" production with "Nunsense A-Men!" The show, which features an all-male cast, takes the winning script and formula of the first "Nunsense" show and simply flips the gender of the performers. The cast includes Guy Tomassi, Dudney Joseph, Josh Snyder, Nick Lama and Joey Bucheker, with direction by Mary Kate O’Connell.

Tickets are $15 to $25. For more information, call 848-0800 or visit www.oconnellandcompany.com.

-- Colin Dabkowski

Seth Meyers to perform at UB

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Seth Meyers will perform standup at UB's Center for the Arts in February     Getty Images

Seth Meyers, the "Weekend Update" anchor on "Saturday Night Live," will present an evening of standup comedy at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts on the North Campus, Amherst.

Tickets are $35 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday (Jan. 20) through the box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ubcfa.org

Disney on Ice begins run in First Niagara Center

Snow White will be there. So will Cinderella. Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook, too. It’s not Disney, after all, without those familiar characters. But perhaps most exciting are the new friends arriving when "Disney on Ice Presents Treasure Trove" visits the First Niagara Center starting today (Jan. 18). Look for Rapunzel from "Tangled" to make her "Disney on Ice" debut. Tianna from "The Princess and the Frog" will skate as well.

"Treasure Trove," the newest addition to Disney on Ice tours, takes us through 50 years of Disney films, from the very first animated feature ("Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs") to its 50th ("Tangled") and the many films between including "Sleeping Beauty," "The Little Mermaid," "The Lion King" and "Alice in Wonderland."

Performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 18), Thursday (Jan. 19) and Friday (Jan. 20), plus 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 21) and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 22) in the First Niagara Center. Tickets are $60 rinkside, $40 VIP, plus $26, $20 and $13 through the FNC box office, Tickets.com and by calling (888) 223-6000. Also visit www.disneyonice.com.

-- Toni Ruberto

Esperanza Spalding to perform at UB

Esperanza Spalding, the 2011 Grammy Award winner for best new artist, will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 18 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre on the North Campus, Amherst.

Tickets are $27, $37 and $42 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday (Jan. 20) through the box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ubcfa.org.

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