The Vibrator Play at the Play House:
What's the Buzz, Ladies?
If the notion of a night of theater based on a moment in medical history sounds about as, um, stimulating as a cold shower, you clearly haven't heard the buzz about In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. Turns out, the details of female sexuality were still pretty foggy back in the late 1800s — so much so that physicians found nothing creepy about treating the ladies to a session with Ol' Buzzy to help 'em calm down. A touchy topic, to be sure, but one handled with humor and tenderness by New York playwright Sarah Ruhl, who saw her 2009 drama about intimacy and fulfillment earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Play and become a 2010 Pulitzer finalist. Under the steady hand of associate artistic director Laura Kepley, previews begin at the Cleveland Play House on April 13; opening night is April 18. While the premise — that women who were anything other than passive and nonsexual suffered from a medical condition that could be treated with a physician-induced orgasm — is based on historical fact, Kepley says the story line is "adventurous, bold, surprising, and incredibly funny. The vibrators are a catalyst for a much greater awakening, and for themes of connectivity and release. My sense of what audiences will find most shocking is how funny, moving, and contemporary this story actually is." Performances continue through Sunday, May 13, at the Second Stage at Cleveland Play House. Tickets are $49 to $69, and less for students. Get them by phone, online, or at the Playhouse Square box office. And as you've probably figured out by this point: Mature audiences only, please. — Elaine T. Cicora
At 1407 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, clevelandplayhouse.com.
The Addams Family: Based on the deliciously creepy characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, this funny, fast-paced musical made its Broadway debut in March 2010. Performances by the national touring company continue through April 22 at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $10 to $87.50 by phone, online, or at the box office; call 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.org.
Elegy for a Lady/Three Women: Cesear's Forum presents a pairing of two short discourses — one by Arthur Miller and the other by Sylvia Plath — that explore individual consciousness. Performances are set for April 13 through 28 and May 11 through 26 at Kennedy's Theatre, 1501 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $15 at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org.
Iphigenia 2.0: Think your family is dysfunctional? Check out the one at the center of this modern retelling of Euripedes' original Greek tragedy. Presented in partnership with Oberlin College from April 12 through 28 at Cleveland Public Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-631-2727, cptonline.org, or at the box office at 6415 Detroit Ave.
Romeo and Juliet: Great Lakes Theater tackles the essential Shakespearean love story April 13 through 28 at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St. Tix range from $15 to $70 at 216-241-6000, greatlakestheater.org, or at the Playhouse Square box office.
Velocity of Autumn: Beck Center serves up a dark comedy by Cleveland playwright Eric Coble. Performances continue through April 29 in the Studio Theater. Tickets are $10 through $28 at 216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org. Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.