Here’s a list of some of the offerings of CLE professional theaters through the winter and spring seasons (January-May). You can track my reviews on http://www.royberko.info/, or contact me to get on my direct review list. You can see a synopsis of the local reviewers’ comments about the plays at http://www.clevelandtheaterreviews.com/
BECK CENTER 216-521-2540 or http://www.beckcenter.org 8 p.m. evenings, 3 p.m. matinees
February 9-February 25—HAIR--Beck Center and Baldwin Wallace University Music Theatre Program collaborate for the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking musical that introduced rock and roll to Broadway. It examines a group of 60s-era youth struggling to balance their lives, loves, and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the Vietnam War and conservative parents and society.
March 30-April 29—MY FIRST TIME-- Before blogging technically began there was myfirsttime.com which allowed people to anonymously share their own true stories about their “first times.” Ken Davenport’s script brings these true tales to life.
June 1-July 1—BENT—Few know about the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany. Martin Sherman’s script follows a group of gay men finding ways to survive persecution before and after the Night of the Long Knives.
BLANK CANVAS 440-941-0458 or http://www.blankcanvastheatre.com/ Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm
CESEAR’S FORUM 216-241-6000 or go to http://www.cesearsforum.com/
CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE 216-241-6000 or go to http://www.playhousesquare.org 7:30 Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 Saturday and Sunday
January 20-February 11—MARIE AND ROSETTA—Sister Rosetta Tharpe, "The Godmother of Rock n' Roll" who influenced performers from Elvis to Hendrix, plucks prim and proper Marie Knight from a rival gospel show, and the two challenge one another on music, life, and the Almighty.
February 17-March 11—THE INVISIBLE HAND—a tale of terrorism and capitalism, where greed and deceit prevail and no one escapes without blood on their hands.
April 14-May 6—THE 25 th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE--A coming-of-age Tony award winning musical comedy with a high-spirited, improvised spelling bee that gives new meaning to P-A-N-D-E-M-O-N-I-U-M.
May 5-27—THE ROYALE—It's 1910, and Negro Heavyweight Champion Jay "The Sport" Jackson is determined to prove he is equal to his white counterpart – in the ring and in life. (Inspired by the life of sports legend Jack Johnson.)
CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE 216-631-2727 or go on line to http://www.cptonline.org/
January 24-28 (7:30) -- HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES—Over the course of 90 minutes, audiences list, explore and ultimately decide how to spend $1,000 from that evening’s box office sales.
February 8-March 3 (7:00)—You are invited to be in the studio audience of AMERICAN DREAMS where you will decide which of three contestants will receive the ultimate prize: citizenship.
February 22-March 10 (7:30)—EN EL TIEMPO DE LAS MARIPOSAS/IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES—A fictionalized account of the courageous Mirabal sister from the Dominican Republic who inspired resistance cells against the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo.
March 29-April 21--BR’ER COTTON (7:30)—Ruffrino, a 14-year-old militant, incites riots in school and on-line. (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere)
convergence-continuum.org or 216-687-0074 Thursday-Saturday @ 8
February 8-17—NEOMFA PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL-- For the seventh year, con-con will produce new plays by graduate students in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. It will include two full-length plays by final year students, and two short one-acts by second year students.
March 23-April 14: THE OLDEST PROFESSION by Paula Vogel. As Ronald Reagan enters the White House, five aging practitioners of the oldest profession are faced with a diminishing clientele, increased competition for their niche market, and aching joints.
DOBAMA 216-932-3396 or http://www.dobama.org check the theatre’s blog for performance times
January 19-30—GROUNDED—Cleveland writer George Brant’s award winning poetic monologue about a hotshot fighter pilot sidelined by pregnancy and reassigned to manage drone strikes.
March 2-25—THE EFFECT—The UK Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play is about a clinical trial for a new antidepressant – which might be a Viagra for the heart.
April 20-May 20—APPROPRIATE—the Obie Award winning provocative family drama from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the writer of AN OCTOROON.
ENSEMBLE THEATRE 216-321-2930 or http://www.ensemble-theatre.com Fridays and Saturdays @ 8, Sundays @ 2
January 5-28—ANGELS IN AMERICA PART ONE: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES—Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize winning play--Set in 1980's New York City, a gay man is abandoned by his lover when he contracts the AIDS virus, and a closeted Mormon lawyer's marriage to his pill-popping wife stalls. New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.
February 9-25—JELLY BELLY-- A powerful story of a convict returning from a brief prison stay to resume his position as the neighborhood kingpin.
April 27-May 20--ANGELS IN AMERICA PART TWO: PERESTROIKA--The plague of AIDS worsens, relationships fall apart as new one’s form, and unexpected friendships roll-out. America in the mid-1980s.
GREAT LAKES THEATER http://www.greatlakestheater.org or 216-241-6000 Wednesday-Saturday @ 7:30, Saturdays @ 1:30, Sundays @ 3
February 16-March 11—MISERY—Stephen King’s thriller, in which a successful romance novelist awakes in a secluded home, rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan.” Fiction quickly becomes stark reality. The production brings local favorite Andrew May back to the area.
March 29-April 15—MACBETH—Shakespeare's towering tragedy melds unforgettable characters and incomparable language in a fascinating drama of corruption and heroism. (Note: For this production, GLT will transform the Hanna into an Elizabethan theater, including seating sections on stage - surrounding the playing area and creating an immersive experience for audiences! Consider onstage seating when planning.)
May 4-20—BEEHIVE THE 60s MUSICAL—The groovy retro-musical-review, under the direction of Victoria Bussert, features hits that range from the Supremes’ melodies to Janis Joplin’s heart-rending rasp to Aretha Franklin’s soul.
INTERPLAY JEWISH THEATRE email@example.com or 216-393-PLAY (Play readings at Dobama are free, but reservations are required. Presentations at the Maltz Museum are fee based)
January 28 @ 2 PM (Maltz Museum, 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood)--Rx--Kate Fodor's comedy which accompanies the museum's "Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews & Medicine in America.") Reservations: 216-503-0570 or www.maltzmuseum.org
KARAMU HOUSE 216-795-707) or www.karamuhouse.org (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
February 8-March 4—SASSY MAMAS—Three longtime girlfriends find themselves living single and ready to ensnare much younger male suitors.
March 22-April 15—ADVENTURES OF THE BLACK GIRL IN HER SEARCH FOR GOD—Based on G. B. Shaw’s short story, it follows a young African girl who is abandoned by a white missionary for asking too many questions about God.
May 10-June 3—PASSING STRANGER--An edgy musical which follows a nameless African-American Youth who is on a quest to find “the real.”
LAKELAND CIVIC THEATRE 440-525-7134 or http://lakelandcc.edu/academic/arts/theatre/index.asp
February 2-18—MERRILY WE ROLE ALONG—Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, which revolves around Franklin Shepard who, having once been a talented composer of Broadway musicals, has now abandoned his friends and songwriting career to become a producer of Hollywood movies.
NEW WORLD PERFORMANCE LAB
For details: https://nwplab.com/
February—Ma’Sue Productions stages a new play
May—DON QUIXOTE—a new version of the Cervantes play of a Knight in search of the impossible dream.
none-too-fragile theatre 330-671-4563 or http://www.nonetoofragile.com
February 2-17—BOY—Anna Ziegler’s tale of a little girl who wants to be good but is thwarted by the discomfort that comes from being born a boy, a fact of which she (he) is unaware.
March 16-31—THE LATE HENRY MOSS—Sam Shepard’s work about a father who has spun his dysfunctional American family web and then disappeared, leaving the fractured members to replay the past with longing, with resentment.
May 11-26—WHITE GUY ON THE BUS-- Tells the tale of the dynamics between low-income blacks and economically comfortable whites.
OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL www.ohioshakespearefestival.com (Winter and Spring Home: Greystone Hall, Akron). Shows Thursday-Saturday at 8:00, Sunday matinees at 2:00.
January 24-28—THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED—37 plays in 97 minutes!
March 2-18—SCAPIN—Molière’s tale of two young lovers who fall in love with two penniless and beautiful women who need to be helped by Scapin, the crafty servant, who can scheme his way into (and out of) any situation.
April 6-22—KING CHARLES III--Prince Charles has spent his entire life in a state of waiting. But now, Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, and the erstwhile prince finally receives his chance to ascend the British throne.
216-241-6000 or go to www.playhousesquare.org See the website for specific dates and times
PLAYHOUSE SQUARE CENTER
January 9-28—State Theatre—LOVE NEVER DIES, sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, picks up the tale 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House and has escaped to New York where he lives in Coney Island. Christine, who is now a famous opera singer, is lured to America by the Phantom in a last attempt to win her love.
February 6-11—Connor Palace—STOMP-- a percussion group, originating in Brighton, United Kingdom that uses the body and ordinary objects to create a physical theatre performance using rhythms, acrobatics and pantomime.
March 6-25—Connor Palace—RENT—In the late 1980s and early 1900s, a group in NY ‘s East Village face pennilessness, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, social tension and political unrest as they make personal self-discoveries about what matters in life. (1996 Tony Winner for Best Musical)
April 10-29—Connor Palace—THE HUMANS—2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play, showcases the Blake family, gathering at the run-down Manhattan apartment to have dinner and deal with aging, illness, and a changing economy.
May 2-27—State Theatre—ALADDIN—The musical tale of Princess Jasmine and her search for a royal groom with the aid of a magic lamp and a Genie.
It’s coming—Lin-Manuel Miranda’s HAMILTON arrives on July 17 for a six-week run!
RUBBER CITY THEATRE--2207 Romig Road, Akron
234-252-0272 or http://www.rubbercitytheatre.com/
February 9-25—TWELFTH NIGHT—The Shakespeare play centers on the twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as a boy) falls in love with the Duke, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Mayhem ensues.
April 6-15—EQUIVOCATION-- a play about telling the truth in difficult times. It proposes the question: what if the government commissioned William Shakespeare to write the definitive history of a national crisis.
THE MUSICAL THEATER PROJECT http://www.MusicalTheaterProject.org or 216-529-9411 for tickets and information (productions staged in review format with narration)
January 27—Hanna Theatre, 28—Temple Tifereth Israel—THE GERSHWINS IN HOLLYWOOD—George and Ira penned some of the best popular songs of the decade. This is the story of George’s last years, capped by the brothers’ iconic “Love Is Here to Stay.” Featuring Bill Rudman and Paul Ferguson, Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Joe Hunter Trio, Vince Mastro and Treva Offutt.
March 1-- 3 PM -- OLD FRIENDS: AN AFTERNOON WITH CRYER & FORD—GRETCHEN CRYER AND NANCY FORD were the first female writing team to be produced in New York (I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road (1978), Now Is the Time for All Good Men (1967). With Bill Rudman, special guests Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, Music direction by Nancy Maier, and featuring Katherine DeBoer and Eric Fancher.
April 15 (Kent State University), April 16—Breen Center for the Performing Arts) --Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ALLEGRO: In-Concert Musical—The musical journey of Joe Taylor, Jr., from his birth in small-town America to the big city and back again to his roots--directed by Terri Kent, music direction by Nancy Maier, new arrangements by Ty Alan Emerson, featuring Joe Monaghan and members of Kent State University’s Musical Theatre Program.
May 6 –3 PM Cuyahoga Community College—East Campus) -- LET’S NOT WASTE A MOMENT: THE IMPACT OF MILK AND HONEY-- The 1961 musical MILK AND HONEY, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, placed spotlight on the state of Israel, then just 13 years old.
February 22-24—BRICOLAGE--an explosion of new fusion works created by randomly assigned teams of artists and craftspeople from all over the creative spectrum.
April 6-7--POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTS--a two-night showcase of short-form performance/time-based art, such as theater pieces, dance, sketch/comedy, music, opera, radio plays, performance art and poetry readings, along with representatives from visual and spacial art.
May 31- June. 2—MYSTERY BOX--Behind this door there is a perfectly ordinary room, and in that room there is a perfectly ordinary box. The secrets this box contains and the story of the person who made it are at the heart of a mystery that spans hundreds of years, digital and analogue worlds, and touches the very fabric of the universe