If classic literature's your thing, you're in the wrong theater.

Little Dickens 

If classic literature's your thing, you're in the wrong theater.

The cast of Oliver Twisted, ready to make you - laugh at Hilarities.
  • The cast of Oliver Twisted, ready to make you laugh at Hilarities.
MON 3/15

Their French translation is a bit off-kilter, but so is everything else about the cast of Oliver Twisted and their new comedy, Les Musical.

Every Monday, the seven Second City Cleveland alumni perform a 90-minute improvised sketch that begins with the troupe scurrying around the Hilarities theater, hitting up audience members for their names and occupations, and fishing for responses to questions such as "If you could cross the country with only one person, who would that be?" and "If you could develop a cure for something, what would it cure?"

With accompaniment by pianist Adam Brooks, the cast then weaves together the responses to create a different comedic operetta every week. Recently, they told the tale of Sister Mary Theresa Mary Jo Calcutta and her stroll to morning mass. Another character soon joined her onstage, pretending to be a cross; a third performer then hung himself from it. "All of a sudden, it becomes Jesus the Musical," explains cast member Sean Lackey. "We take a mundane situation and go over the top." Oliver Twisted performs at 8 p.m. at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, 2035 East 4th Street. Tickets are $10. Call 216-241-7425 for more information. -- Cris Glaser

It's All Greek
The Independence Day Parade flaunts a sporty new look.

SAT 3/20

When Eleni Papouras started planning this year's Greek Independence Day Parade, its theme became obvious: It needed a sporty vibe, to connect it with this summer's Olympic Games in Athens. Grand marshal George Voinovich will lead the procession around Tremont's Lincoln Park on a bicycle. "It's definitely a pride thing," says Papouras, undoubtedly referring to the Athens games and not to the cycling senator. The celebration continues inside the nearby Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation, with Hellenic folk bands and dancers commemorating Greece's liberation from the Ottoman Turks in 1821. It's the first time in the parade's six-year history that the party takes place in Tremont, where Cleveland's first Greek immigrants settled. "People can come out on their porches and watch the parade," Papouras says. "In the past, [many] didn't get a chance to come downtown." It starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lincoln Park, at West 14th Street and Fairfield Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-861-0116. -- Cris Glaser

Forever Your Girl
Paula Abdul drops in at the Women's Expo.

3/20-3/21

American Idol judge Paula Abdul will sign autographs and meet fans from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Women's Expo. The event features more than 200 exhibitors displaying health, fashion, and entertainment products for women, and a trip to Los Angeles will be raffled off. "[Fox TV] said, 'What if we brought in Paula Abdul, and we gave away a trip to the American Idol finals?'" says the expo's Dean Taylor. "I said, 'That would be great.'" Straight up. It opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Convention Center, 500 Lakeside Avenue. Admission is free; call 440-239-9200. -- Cris Glaser

No Place Like Rome

3/19-3/21

Nero was one mean dude. The Roman emperor not only made lion vittles out of his citizens; he plotted to kill his wife to free up more time with his mistress. It's all documented in The Coronation of Poppea, Cleveland Opera's stirring take on the 17th-century potboiler. It's at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $24 to $107, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci

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