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Arts Beat: A 'Superstar,' a 'Meteor Shower' and a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch

Meteor showers usually peak for a couple of nights, when the Earth's orbit takes us through their path, so it makes sense that audiences will have only three chances this weekend to see Steve Martin's unusual take on relationships in "Meteor Showers." Belissima Productions is presenting the absurd comedy at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15 and 2 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Theater Loft space (545 Elmwood Ave.).

The play is set in California in summer 1993, when one couple invites another over to their house to watch what was forecast to be a spectacular Perseid meteor shower. While the heavens may have been on fire, it turns out that the real sparks were flying in Corky and Norm's living room above Los Angeles.

Tickets are $20 in advance at eventbrite.com and $25 at the door. Doors open 30 minutes before performance.

Remembering Marvin Hamlisch

Valentine's Day weekend brings out the love for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as it honors its beloved former Pops conductor and international music superstar Marvin Hamlisch. The maestro's friend and collaborator Kevin Cole will join the musicians and conductor John Morris Russell for  "Nobody Does It Better: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch." Performances are at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14 in a Coffee Concert, with the Sweetheart Dance concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 in Kleinhans Music Hall. Tickets start at $41 at bpo.org.

Hamlisch, who won the Pulitzer Prize, plus Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Academy awards in his career, was principal Pops conductor for the BPO from 2003 to 2007. He died in 2012.

'Such a strange land'

The 50th anniversary edition of "Jesus Christ Superstar" continues at Shea's Buffalo Theatre (646 Main St.) through Feb. 16.  Back in 1970, it was considered controversial when Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber applied the rock musical tribal ethos of "Hair" to such biblical topics as Joseph (and his "technicolor dreamcoat") and the Passion of Jesus Christ, seen mostly from the conflicted viewpoint of Judas.

The new edition of the musical features less long hair and hippie fringe, and a more earth-toned, streamlined Pottery Barn design. While that may downplay the original show's counterculture appeal, it also brings into focus the events — real and metaphorical —  in the final week of the life of Jesus. Lent begins a little late this year (Feb. 26), so consider this a preview.

Tickets start at either $34 or $40, depending on the date and time, with most remaining seats in the balcony. You can get them at sheas.org or save the hefty service charges by picking your tickets up at the box office, 650 Main St., open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and two hours before each scheduled performance.

They speak for the trees

Without the beautiful woods and forests of Western New York, we may never have had the artwork of watercolorist Charles Burchfield, for whom the natural world provided inspiration for some of his greatest artworks. It only makes sense, then, that the Burchfield Penney Art Center should host a talk on "The Intricate Life of Trees: Revealing the Extraordinary Impact of Trees in Our World." The free event brings in two experts on the natural environment, Mark A. Bradford, a professor and researcher in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Robert J. Warren II, associate professor at SUNY Buffalo State in the Biology Department. The discussion begins at 6 p.m.Feb. 13 in the center's Tower Auditorium.

It takes two in the Kenan Center

MusicalFare impresario Randy Kramer will be taking a night off from introducing the theater's current (and terrific) show "Cookin' at the Cookery" to spend Valentine's Day "out of town," playing piano and singing with wife Theresa Quinn in their cabaret show "A Guy, a Girl and a Piano" at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Kenan Center's Taylor Theater (433 Locust St., Lockport).

Expect duets from Gershwin, Sondheim, the Beatles, Scott Joplin, Carole King and more from one of the area's most musical couples. Tickets are $20 general, $10 for students and those under 18, at kenancenter.org or by calling 433-2617.

Beethoven for four

The annual Slee Cycle of Beethoven Quartets at the University of Buffalo will be featuring the award-winning Calidore String Quartet for Concerts III and IV of the series. The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and at 3 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Lippes Concert Hall of the UB North Campus's Slee Hall (adjacent to the Center for the Arts). Consider seeing both concerts, since the musicians will be playing different string quartets each day.

The quartet is comprised of violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, cellist Estelle Choi and Jeremy Berry on viola. They are currently in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Bowers Program.

Advance tickets are $15 at eventbrite.com or $19 at the UB Center for the Arts box office, with discounts for seniors. Tickets also will be sold at the door for $22. All UB students can get one ticket free.

Play looks ahead at Niagara University

The Niagara University Theatre Department will be presenting the time-traveling adventure "On the Verge, or The Geography of Learning" starting Feb. 20, with five shows through Feb. 23. The play is written by Eric Overmyer, who may be best known for writing the television series "The Wire" and "Treme," and for the streaming series "Bosch." In "On the Verge," three Victorian-era women find themselves in the middle of the near future of 20th century America, and in the process find their destinies. Tickets are only $8; call 286-8685 or visit theatre.niagara.edu. Performances are in the Leary Theatre at 16 Vincentian Drive on the Niagara University campus.

 

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