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Arts beat: Neil Simon in Lockport, Coltrane celebration, lifetime in art and classical Sunday

Playwright Neil Simon is feeling the love in Western New York this season with two of his comic classics being presented on local stages. "Rumors" is now on stage at the Lancaster Opera House and on Sept. 20 "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" will debut in Lockport at the Kenan Center's Taylor Theater.

The Carriage House Players will present six performances of Simon's popular story about Manhattan neighbors, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Sept 20, 21, 27 and 28 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 22 and 29. Gail Golden directed the show, which features Darryl Hart, Kathleen Rooney and Daniel Morris. Tickets are $20, with discounts for students and Kenan members, available at

Theatergoers have a one-day-only dining option right on the Kenan Center grounds on Sept. 21, with the Niagara Barbecue Brew Fest. Local barbecue restaurants and two craft brewers will be serving ribs and suds outside the Kenan Center from 3 to 7 p.m. Tickets include tastings and are $20 in advance on the Kenan website and $25 the day of the event.

Three days of Coltrane

The sounds of the sax will ring out at the Burchfield Penney Art Center for three days to celebrate the life and music of the incomparable John Coltrane, born 93 years ago on Sept. 23, 1926. The Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective is sponsoring the minifestival, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in the Burchfield's Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium.

Saxophonist Bilal Nugravee and the Nugravee Band open the event at 7 p.m. Sept. 19. Gallery admission is $10; $8 for seniors and $5 for students; free for gallery members.

Buffalo-born Joe Ford, longtime member of the McCoy Tyner Quartet and member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, takes the stage on Sept. 20 with drummer Nasar Abadey, founder of Supernova, and pianist George Caldwell, onetime member of the Count Basie Orchestra. The concert begins at 8 p.m. with Henri Star leading the Muhammed School of Music Chamber Players. Tickets are $25; $10 for Burchfield Penney and Jazz Society members.

The festival continues with two performances on Sept. 21. At 1 p.m., the young members of the Progressions Quartet will sample some Coltrane in a concert that is included with regular museum admission. The 8 p.m. concert features bassist Curtis Lundy with tenor taxman Wayne Escoffery, vocalist LeNard Rutledge and drummer Montez Coleman. Tickets are $25; $10 for Burchfield Penney and Jazz Society members.

For tickets, visit or call 878-6011 for member benefits.

Gallery gathering

One of Western New York's most avid and influential members of the artistic community is being honored with a show at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University. The title of the exhibit says it all: "For the Love of Art: A Tribute to Gallerist Nina Freudenheim." Opening reception for the show is from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 19.

The opening is paired with a reception for another Castellani show, "Western New York Collects: Allan D'Arcangelo," featuring works by the Buffalo native, who was part of the pop art vanguard of the 1960s. Visitors will see works D'Arcangelo created over three decades of his career, chosen from pieces in local public and private collections.

Regular hours for the gallery, which is on the NU campus in Lewiston, are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5. Admission is free.

Classics in the afternoon

Two free concerts are open to all on Sept. 22, both starting at 3 p.m.

The Buffalo Chamber Music Society opens its 2019 Gift to the Community series with a nontraditional performer, Hanzhi Wang, an accordionist who takes the familiar polka instrument into classical territory. Wang, who earned her music degree at China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, has won several Young Artist awards and has a CD on the Naxos label. She will be performing works by Bach, Scarlatti, Grieg and others at 3 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle).

Meanwhile, the Amherst Chamber Ensembles opens its 2019-20 season at Trinity United Methodist Church (711 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst). The 90-minute concert, titled "Musical Friends," will include works by Handel and Dvorak. Free parking is available behind the building, where there also is an entrance.

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