Almira Gulch was last seen pedaling her bike down a dusty trail, with Dorothy's lovable pooch, Toto, trapped inside a basket. When Miss Gulch Returns!, she's a boozy cabaret singer with a repertoire of sassy songs and an attitude to match.
Written more than 20 years ago, the one-man musical is playwright Fred Barton's tribute to pen-pal Margaret Hamilton, who played Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West in 1939's The Wizard of Oz. "Poor Miss Gulch," sighs Barton. "The only stimulation she gets is from a bicycle. What if she let down that iron hairdo of hers and let loose with a ditty or two in a cabaret?"
Warbling "I'm a Bitch" and "Pour Me a Man," actor Nick Vannello starts the male-bashing with a quick costume change -- from a three-piece suit to a cocktail dress. "But this is not a drag show," insists director Lora Workman. "It just happens that a man is portraying the woman."
And a foul-mouthed one at that. "It's not a rated-G show," warns Workman. "There are no F-words, but it's definitely an adult show." Miss Gulch Returns! is at Kennedy's (1511 Euclid Avenue) Friday through October 30. Show time is 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $20, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Cris Glaser
Gay blacks throw a party for themselves and their partners.
On Sweetest Day, Cleveland's gay African Americans will pay tribute to their longtime companions at the Onyx Ball, a "fierce and stylish" black-attire gala for "the grown, sexy, and chic." "I know it sounds kind of corny, but it's to promote monogamy and relationships, because of the political climate [over] the proposed constitutional amendment" to ban same-sex marriages, says organizer Jon Everett. To back up the claim, several couples will be honored for staying together for 10 years. "People need to see that gays, lesbians, and transgendered people have meaningful, loving, committed relationships," says Everett. "We want to honor that." The Onyx Ball starts at 9 p.m. Saturday at Modä, 1871 West 25th Street. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; call 216-937-2268. -- Cris Glaser
A Woman's Place Is in the Lab
NASA finds the link between kitchens and science.
If you're under the impression that whipping up a meal ain't exactly rocket science, well, NASA has news for you at Saturday's Chemistry -- From Kitchens to Rockets. "A great deal of [similar work] goes on at NASA," says scientist Dorothy Lukco. "Rockets are propelled by the release of gases. And the preparation of surfaces for exposure in space starts with a good cleaning." Among other things, Lukco will show that kitchens are perfectly equipped labs by discharging natural gases to make spaghetti dance, testing invisible ink, and creating slime. "Chemistry goes on in the kitchen every day," she says. It happens at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, 21000 Brookpark Road. Admission is free; call 216-433-9653. -- Lucy McKernan
A pack of four gray wolves show why they're the party animals of all carnivores at Saturday's Wolf Awareness Day. Experts will be on hand to clear up lupine rumors, lead "fact-or-fable" interactive games, and share tips on how to conserve the wolves' habitats. It happens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way. Zoo admission is $9, $4 for kids; call 216-661-6500. -- Cris Glaser