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W. Roberts, from Marco Paul's Voyages & Travels, Erie Canal by Jacob Abbott, 1852

New York State is planning to commemorate this year's 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Erie Canal with a series of major events along the waterway.

Of last week's two openings, A.R. Gurney's "Family Furniture" at the Kavinoky (D'Youville campus)  is "soulful" while Alan Ayckbourn's tightly plotted "Snake in the Grass," a Red Thread Theatre production at the Marie Maday Theatre (Canisius College), is the "thriller."