1) "Phantom of the Opera," 8 p.m. April 27, 2 and 8 p.m. April 28, 2 and 7 p.m. April 29 in Shea's Buffalo Theatre (646 Main St.). Limited tickets remain for several of the scheduled slots, with prices ranging from $37 to well over $100. The play runs through May 6.
Commentary: Reading through the various takes of Buffalo theater members in regard to "Phantom" is amusing; the rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 play (which was based on a French novel) was formative for some, annoying for many, and somewhere in between for the rest.
Perhaps the best line comes from Stefan Brundage, a former local actor now living in Chicago: "The fact that it’s the longest-running show on Broadway ("Cats" being second) is a testament to how unartistic, basic and tourist trappy Broadway is. But that said, I know every song and love them all on their own."
Commentary: Zoom back to the '70s and '80s at Iron Works with three powerhouse local bands: C.O. Jones, Nerds Gone Wild and the Vin DeRosa Trio, all of which have experience headlining well-attended local events.
Each of the performers have its own twist, too, as C.O. Jones is a 12-piece funk-soul group with ex-Goo Goo Doll Dave Schultz in tow, while wacky Nerds Gone Wild dress the part and make people smile. DeRosa, a 2017 Memphis Bound winner, is tireless in his gigs, diverse in his repertoire and plenty talented.
Commentary: If you're in the mood to forget your own drama and think about someone else's, then either of the two nights at Seneca Niagara Bear's Den should satisfy.
Teresa Guidice, Ashley Darby and Brandi Glanville are the three "Real Housewives" stars expected to be in attendance both nights. From interviews to audience Q&As to behind-the-scenes discussions, find out what life is like for these reality TV figures.
Commentary: If you've been huddled inside for months,
Buffalo's probably not the place for you it's possible you've been entertained, either through movies or TV, by something you wish you could experience in person.
The Bucket List Bash, which benefits Unyts, allows guests to wander between stations dedicated to red-carpet walks, celebrity interviews, virtual reality, airbrush tattoos and game shows. It certainly doesn't hurt that there's an open bar and music from Party of Nine, all inside the historic Statler.
Commentary: Whet your palate for the summer country concert season by seeing Jerrod Niemann perform at the first-ever Rock'n Redfest on the athletic field near the campus of D'Youville College.
The Kansas-born singer-songwriter's most recent release was 2017's "This Ride," in which he collaborated for a song with Lee Brice. MAX, Jon Langston and local Eric Van Houten are three other marquee names on the bill - and the low cost for eight hours of music makes this a compelling choice.
6) Fairy and Gnome Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 28 in Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Ave.). Cost is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors (62+), $9 for students (13+ with ID) and $6 for kids 3-12. Anyone donning a costume that fits the event theme will receive $1 off admission.
Commentary: A top family event of the weekend encourages (even incentivizes!) kids and adults to dress up as fairies or gnomes to enjoy a series of mini events, such as a magic show, a performance by Mama Earth's Kitchen Band, a chance to browse submissions for the Fairy House Contest, engage in arts and crafts in the Gardens and take part in an indoor scavenger hunt.
7) Knox Spring Arts and Garden Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 28 and 29 in Knox Farm Mansion, Guest House and their surroundings. Cost is $5 at the gate, while kids 10 years old and younger enter for free.
Commentary: More than 100 regional art and crafts vendors will set up around Knox Farm Estate, with the impressive guest house open to the public for the first time in event history.
While parking is limited around the estate, attendees are encouraged to park in the Moog lots on Seneca Street and take the regularly departing shuttles to the event destination and back.
Commentary: Dance late into the night to popular indie and alternative music at Mohawk Place Friday night for a special edition of Transmission Dance Party, typically held only on New Year's Eve. According to the Facebook event page, there likely won't be another until Dec. 31, so there's a reason to not miss out.
Commentary: Sunday presents an opportunity to catch a local band on the rise, as Made Violent's trajectory has taken off since its 2013 debut single, "Wasted Days."
The three-piece has already played Austin music festival South By Southwest and just wrapped up touring in cities like Santa Fe, Oklahoma City and Denver.
Yet the garage-rock band influenced heavily by Cage the Elephant has stayed true to its roots despite signing with Columbia Records, and this gig in Mohawk Place is a testament to that fact.
10) Historic Linwood Tour of Homes, noon to 5 p.m. April 29 on Linwood Avenue. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the tour, to be purchased at 11:30 a.m. at Artists Group Gallery (1 Linwood Ave.).
Commentary: This self-guided walking tour - which highlights a slew of architectural styles dating back as far as the 1820s - visits sites such as the Saturn Club, the Italianate Victorian home of Erin St. John Kelly and Charlie von Simson, as well as the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. A dozen structures will be available to the tour.