Liz Maugans and Jen Craun have used similar vocabularies of images in their printmaking, especially idealized human figures and gender roles from half a century ago, and they've shown their work together before. But in their upcoming show, Coming Undone, they are taking on different subjects and even different media. Craun writes that her new prints and drawings are about migration and "the mixed and simultaneous compulsions to both leave and stay, waging perceptions of freedom and captivity, and the hopeful resolve to take flight." Maugans says her new work "reflects upon the overheard conversations of my midlife circle of friends after drinking too much wine." The show includes wall-sized charcoal drawings, neon, slate as a work surface and even sculptural installation, which, she says, "brutally voice the real picture of the overworked and underappreciated: mothers and fathers, married types and those over 40 with an unused yoga ball in the basement and an overused remote control in their hand." Coming Undone opens with a reception from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Zygote Press (1410 E. 30th St.). Free. Call 216.621.2900 or go to zygotepress.com.
The late Sarah Kane's first play, Blasted, was initially considered an immature attempt to shock for its own sake. But that criticism has mellowed since the British playwright took her own life by hanging, while recovering from an overdose of prescription drugs in 1999. After that, critics began to say she was a "poet" and that the play - about a rape and its aftermath, including a suicide, while a war rages outside the apartment that serves as the setting - has "a fine, moral purpose." Still, it took until October 2008 before it got its New York debut. The Bang and the Clatter brings the play to its Sometimes in the Silence Theatre (224 Euclid) for a Cleveland debut. Performances are at 8 p.m. nightly, and 3 p.m. Sundays, through February 7. Tickets: $15. Call 330.606.5317.
Four little pieces in translation add up to one comedic evening of Anton Chekhov, as Actors' Summit (86 Owen Brown St., Hudson) presents Russians in Love. Writer George Malko - who's worked on projects as divergent as The Dogs of War (1980) to an ABC Afterschool Special - has also, as it happens, translated Chekhov. The evening-length program includes first-ever English language productions of two of Chekhov's brief works, "In The Springtime" and "The Dimwit," and two of his classic short stories, "The Bear" and "The Marriage Proposal." The cast includes Sally Groth, Frank Jackman, Keith Stevens and Constance Thackaberry. They give a preview performance at 8 tonight, and additional performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through February 1. Tickets: $25-$28. Call 330.342.0800 or go to actorssummit.org.
Theater companies tend to help each other out, especially the little ones that operate on a shoestring. So it's no surprise that when upstart Oddy Festival impresario Matthew Greenfield was waiting with Cleveland Shakespeare Festival production manager Tyson Rand to see a production at convergence-continuum, they hatched a plan to create a benefit for the local outdoor Shakespeare festival. Greenfield had done his own adaptations of Shakespeare, and so he was a natural when Rand told him he wanted to produce CSF director Larry Nehring's scaled down version of Twelfth Night, or What You Will. The result is What, You, Will?, a collection of scenes, sonnets and improv bundled with the abridged Twelfth Night, which they'll perform at venues east and west. The abbreviated, five-actor version of Twelfth Night takes inspiration not from John Gielgud, but from Dr. Gonzo, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Beyoncé's hit single, "If I Were a Boy." Performances are at 7 tonight at Heights Arts Studio (2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights); 7 p.m. Saturday at Pilgrim Congregational Church (2592 W. 14th St., Tremont); 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heights Arts Gallery (2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights); and 8 p.m. Sunday at the Phoenix Coffeehouse (2287 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights). Doors open a half hour before show times. Admission is $10 at the door. Proceeds benefit CSF's free summertime productions. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bianca Sams, who's been seen on stage locally in Cleveland Public Theatre's In The Continuum and more broadly in the feature-length DVD version of Rent, has a play of her own going up on the CPT boards. Tony Sias, who also directed In The Continuum, will direct a Big [BOX] production of her Summer Nights and Fireflies, the story of Zandra Richards, her brother Tyrone and the family business, a small bar for locals and factory workers. Her family is haunted by alcoholism and abuse, but the beautiful black twentysomething is the fifth generation of her family to be born and raised in the bar, and this is ultimately a story of salvation, recovery and redemption. It's in the James Levin Theater (6415 Detroit) at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15. Call 216.631.2727 or go to cptonline.com.
OK, maybe not so much a party as a faculty recital. But the Cleveland Institute of Music will celebrate the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (actually January 27, when he'd be 253 years old) with a concert featuring faculty, students and guests. Apollo's Fire music director Jeannette Sorrell is guest conductor, leading members of the CIM Orchestra in Mozart's Divertimento in F Major for Strings, K. 138, the Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for Violin and Viola, featuring violinist Annie Fullard and violist Erika Eckert, and the Concerto in D Minor for Piano, K. 466, featuring pianist Sergei Babayan. It's at 8 p.m. in Kulas Hall (11021 East Blvd.). It's free, but you need a seating pass. Call 216.791.5000 or go to cim.edu.
You've got to reach a certain age to appreciate David Harrower's Blackbird, a play about Una and Ray, who had a relationship 15 years ago and haven't seen each other since. Then Una finds her one-time beau, resurrecting feelings of guilt and desire. Scott Plate directs a Dobama production opening Friday at the Cleveland Playhouse Studio Theater (8500 Euclid), with the company's new artistic director Joel Hammer onstage with Alyssa Weldon and Katrina Walker. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through February 8. $15- $22. Call 216.932.3396 or go to dobama.org.
The show goes on at Ensemble Theatre, despite the passing of founder and artistic director Lucia Colombi earlier this month. Tonight the company opens Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, starring Bernie and Dorothy Canepari, at the Cleveland Playhouse Brooks Theatre (8500 Euclid Ave.), in which Simon takes on the flu season in a series of comedy sketches based on the short stories of Anton Chekhov. Tickets: $18-$24. Call 316.321.2930 or go to ensemble-theatre.com.
"More Than 50 for 50" sounds like a point spread or at least something involving risk, but at these prices, if pop-culture graphic sensibility is your thing, how could you go wrong? The Pop Shop Gallery (17020 Madison Ave., Lakewood) presents works by more than 50 local artists, all priced for $50. An opening reception runs from 6-9 p.m. As usual, gallery owner Rich Cihlar has arranged for drink specials at an afterparty at Mullen's, the bar next door. For more information call 440.227.8440 or e-mail email@example.com.
If the name Obie Shelton rings a bell, that's probably because you're one of those people who watches TV news - WKYC TV Channel 3 News, to be specific. And before that, WEWS Channel 5. Well, it happens that Shelton also plays the violin. He made a solo recording, In Hymn, 10 years ago, and since then has been guest artist with a few presenters, like the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Chicago's Gospel Celebration and Trinity Cathedral's Brown Bag concert series. At 3 p.m. today, he performs at Tri C Metro Auditorium (2900 Community College Ave.) as guest soloist in the Cleveland Philharmonic's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Keynote speaker is author and newsman Juan Williams. Victor Liva will conduct the ensemble and Mr. Shelton in Beethoven's Romance in F for Violin, and selected spirituals arranged for violin and orchestra. The orchestra will also perform an acclaimed work by an African-American composer with an Ohio connection, William Grant Still's 1944 Festive Overture. It's free, but tickets are required. Call 216.987.4805 or go to tri-c.edu.
Wednesday, January 21
The Cavani String Quartet - Annie Fullard (violin), Mari Sato (violin), Kirsten Docter (viola) and Merry Peckham (cello) - came together 25 years ago, became quartet-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1988, and since then has mentored individual students and student quartets, while keeping a steady performance schedule. They mark their own anniversary by celebrating another, the 200th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn. Joining them are colleagues and guest musicians including violinist Donald Weilerstein, violinist Peter Salaff, violist Erika Eckert and cellist Paul Katz, performing Mendelssohn's String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13, Mozart's Quintet for Two Violins, Two Violas and Cello in G Major, K. 516, and Mendelssohn's Octet for Strings in E-flat, Op. 20. The performance is at CIM's Kulas Hall (11021 East Boulevard) at 8 p.m. It's free, but you need seating passes. Call 216.791.5000 or go to cim.edu.
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