Marino Formenti pulls out all the stops. Really. Known for his onstage antics, the Italian pianist climbs under his Steinway to remove the foot-pedal stops, so that the instrument's tones segue into the next piece without interruption. He performs pieces that require the rigging of keyboard strings with bits of rubber and plastic to create a muffled sound. And for his grand finale, Formenti bounces between two pianos, tuned to different keys, to play a one-man duet.
Formenti makes his Cleveland Orchestra debut on Thursday (with a repeat performance on Saturday) with the U.S. premiere of a funky piano-and-orchestra piece by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth, which is connected by seven movements, ranging from woodwinds and strings playing long-held chords to a distorted march that ends with trumpets and E-flat clarinets wailing a plaintive high A.
For an encore, Formenti will kick off the orchestra's Pianistic Kaleidoscope series Monday with a solo recital. He performs at 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $27.50 to $53; call 216-231-1111. -- Cris Glaser
Chuckles With Chekhov
The Seagull swoops into Beck Center.
Perhaps you've heard this story before: Boy loves girl. Girl cheats on boy. Fling backfires, and everybody winds up miserable. Bummer, right? Not in The Seagull, Anton Chekhov's dark comedy about a Russian actress and her son, who has a major crush on a neighbor's daughter. He ends up retreating to the countryside to write a book. "It's deeply moving, but achingly funny, because [Chekhov] writes about the little tiny details of life," says Thomas Q. Fulton, director of Beck Center's production. But heads up: The show lasts nearly three hours; actual relationships have soured in less time. "If we do our job right, you won't know the time passed," Fulton guarantees. The Seagull plays at Beck Center's Studio Theater (17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood) through February 15. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 to $22. For more information, call 216-521-2540. -- Cris Glaser
Comedian Angel Salazar tears up the stage and more.
Funnyman Angel Salazar promises he'll be on his best behavior when he comes to town Tuesday. "We weren't having an orgy," he says about his last trip to Cleveland, which resulted in his getting booted from his hotel. "We were just having a really good time partying." Salazar fuses his Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage with street humor, regularly sharing his life story onstage. He's at the Cleveland Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) Tuesday through Saturday, January 31. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, January 29; 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday; and 7:15, 9:30, and 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets range from $10 to $16, available by calling 216-696-4677. -- Damian Johnson
DJ Micro has commanded New York's underground scene for more than a decade, spinning alongside Frankie Bones, Adam X, and Onionz. By 1991, he was revolutionizing rave parties by pioneering acid breakbeat on his Caffeine record label. His latest CD, My Frequency, is a barrage of epic trance and hard house. He spins at 9 p.m. Saturday at Modä, 1871 West 25th Street. Admission is $10 to $15; call 216-781-3805. -- Cris Glaser