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Artsbeat: Theater takes a bow, the BPO 'MmmBops' and Torn Space goes tonal

It is the beginning of the end for one of the finest Buffalo theater seasons in recent memory. At O'Connell & Company, they will be toasting a run that included A.R Gurney's popular "Love Letters" and a smash all-female version of "1776." Local theater's favorite Diva will be raising a glass in "Memories & Martinis with Mary Kate O'Connell," a cabaret performance of songs, stories and special guests.

Anyone who has enjoyed MK's welcoming remarks at the company's performances already knows how delightful this can be. The show runs June 6 through 23 at the Park School theater on the hill (4625 Harlem Road, Snyder). Tickets are $30 at oconnellandcompany.com.

Irish Classical Theatre Company wraps up a rather bloody season (there were body counts in "Golden Boy," "Sive" and of course "Hamlet") with the dark comedy "Entertaining Mr. Sloane." Written in 1964 by British playwright Joe Orton as a vicious send-up of traditional family life, it was Orton's first full-length play in a career that was cut short when he was murdered three years later. The show runs June 7 through 30 in the Andrews Theatre (625 Main St.). Tickets are $45, $20 for students with ID, through irishclassical.com. 

New Phoenix Theatre recognizes Pride Month with the final show of its season, "The Seat Next to the King." Set mostly in the 1960s, it is a Stephen Elliott Jackson's dramatic imagining of an encounter between two men, one white, one black, who work closely with two of the "kings" of that period, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson. It is based on the lives of two real figures who were forced to hide their homosexuality in their professional lives and who were eventually brought down by it.

The play runs June 7 through 29 at the Theatre on the Park (95 Johnson Park). Tickets are $30; $20 for students and seniors, with Thursday shows "pay what you can." Go online at newphoenixtheatre.org or call 853-1334.

"Sister Act," the musical that takes the church call "Can I get a witness?!" in a comically dangerous direction, sets up shop from June 7 to 23 in the Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster). The tuneful nonsense, based on the Whoopi Goldberg film of the same name, follows a mobster's girlfriend as she hides out in a convent after witnessing a murder. The fish-out-of-water scenario leads to unexpected friendships and life-changing transformations, inspired by song and propelled by madcap chases. Tickets are $30; $28 for seniors, $10 for students, at lancopera.org.

Hanson in the Hall

The Buffalo Philharmonic orchestra welcomes the Hanson brothers -- Isaac, Taylor and Zac -- for a performance of the group's String Theory show at 8 p.m. June 7. Hanson, which first made it big as boy-band pop act when the brothers were not yet 20, is celebrating 25 years of playing together by bringing a symphony sound to its music.

The trio is backed by the full orchestra, with Susie Benchasil Seiter conducting, in versions of its hits and previously unrecorded songs. If you aren't sure whether that's for you, check out the sounding a video posted at bpo.org, That's also where you can buy tickets ($29 to $75) for the show, which starts at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle.

As you like it with Torn Space

Whale songs? Alphorns? A psychedelic soundtrack? Perhaps it is whatever you think it is. Ticketholders are as much participants as they are audience when Torn Space Theater presents "The Illusion & The Aftermath," a two-night performance by Temporary Distortion, June 7 and 8.

Listeners hear the electronically enhanced tonal music through headphones while seated around the low "stage" on meditation pillows. There is a beginning and an end, but they are four hours apart, so people are encouraged to come and go as they please ... possibly to enjoy a draft in the bar of the venue, the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle (612 Fillmore Ave.). The performance, part of this year's Response series, starts at 7 p.m. with rolling admission. Tickets are $20 at tornspacetheater.com.

[Related: Smiles at Stations in Response 2018 | Smiles from Response 2017]

The man behind the Albright name

A century ago, when Buffalo was among the most important cities in the nation, John J. Albright was making a name and a fortune for himself here. While the shipping and steel industries that he built are long gone, Albright lives on in the world-renown gallery that bears his name and in other more surprising places.

Find out more at the Burchfield Penney Art Center's book club discussion of "Albright: The Life and Times of John J. Albright" by Buffalo's Mark Goldman, at 7 p.m. June 6  in the center's Tower Auditorium (1300 Elmwood Ave.). New members are welcome. Contact Mary Kozub at 878-3156 or kozubmm@buffstate.edu.

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