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Still afloat

The musical "Show Boat" is a classic in so many ways. The show about a riverboat on the Mississippi walked the line between operetta and modern Broadway. When it premiered in the 1920s, it was the first musical in which black and white artists shared the stage, and it was also bold in its portrayal of race issues. With its songs including "Make Believe," "Old Man River" and "Can't Help Loving That Man," "Show Boat" has the power of conjuring up the past -- while, at the same time, remaining vibrant and new.

Saturday, guest conductor Marvin Hamlisch and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will be taking the audience through "Show Boat," as well as presenting other songs by its master composer, Jerome Kern. Guest artists include Gregg Baker and Elizabeth Southard, as well as Clare Gormley and the always-entertaining tenor J. Mark McVey, who has displayed his impressive pipes several times here.

The program also features the wonderful Buffalo actor Neil Garvey as narrator.

The Philharmonic's tribute to Jerome Kern takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $30 to $62. For info, call 885-5000.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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