Local theater company opens a milestone season in a new home: ‘We love what we do’


A local theater company is celebrating a milestone 25 years in WNY, and has a new home to open its upcoming season. O’Connell & Company moved into the former Philip Sheridan Elementary School at 3200 Elmwood Ave, Tonawanda.

The company moved into the former auditorium of the building in just one month. Crews have been working around the clock to get the new space ready for their first performance of Young Frankenstein, which opens Thursday, October 10.

Fresh paint, new carpet and a state-of-the-art lighting system are just a few of the upgrades there. The multi-use building was also renamed to be called the Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons.

“This Ken-Ton community and their commitment to the arts is unparalleled,” Mary Kate O’Connell said.

Young Frankenstein is one of nine productions from the company this season. It’s a milestone season for Mary Kate O’Connell and her crew. O’Connell grew up in North Buffalo, in a large, tight-knit family. She was drawn to theater at a young ago, and the sense of community. She started her business out of a basement in 1995.

“We started small, but I feel, what people appreciate about O’Connell & Company, or at least I hope they do is that it really is a theater company with heart,” she said. “It was truly built on dreams and creativity and a family atmosphere.”

For the past several years, O’Connell & Company has put on affordable, award-winning shows out of the Park School of Buffalo, but they outgrew the space. O’Connell said there is double the audience space at this new home, and so much room to grow in the future.

“We have stories to tell, songs to sing, people to entertain, lives to touch and those that can touch us,” she said. “That’s who we are. It’s pretty simple, pretty straight ahead, and we love what we do.”

Young Frankenstein will run the next three weekends Thursday, through Sunday. For tickets, click here. You can also buy tickets at the door.

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