Friday | 23
MythBusters on Tour
It's taken years to figure out how to take the MythBusters show on the road. Apparently, a Discovery Channel science series filled with bombs, guns, and explosives doesn't translate well to live theater. The big question, of course, is how to meet fans' expectations for gonzo action while still maintaining safety. "It did take a while to figure it out," admits co-host Jaime Hyneman of the brand-new stage show. "But what we finally came up with is a series of experiments where we know roughly what will happen each time and still have a reasonable expectation that it will be interesting." Those experiments are the meat of MythBusters' Behind the Myths Tour, a 31-city odyssey that lands tonight at Playhouse Square. As a bonus, more than a dozen fans are picked from the audience at each stop to serve as assistants. "That's the biggest crowd pleaser," says co-host Adam Savage. "The fervor with which those kids wave their [liability] waivers is inspiring!" As for how the experiments were chosen, Savage says they picked ones that told the most interesting stories. "The underlying theme is perception," adds Hyneman. As their nine-year run on the Emmy-nominated show continues, do the guys ever worry they'll run out of myths to bust? Savage just laughs. "As long as people believe in crazy things, we'll always have work!" Tonight's show is at 7:30 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $11.50 to $101.50 by phone, online, or at the Playhouse Square box office. — Elaine T. Cicora
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. — Elaine T. Cicora
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.
Mozart Lightens Up with Apollo's Fire
When Mozart wrote The Magic Flute way back in 1791, it became a raging box-office sensation: Written in the language of the people and featuring light, youthful voices, it was performed more than 100 times in its first year alone. "In short," says Jeannette Sorrell, music director of Apollo's Fire, "this is not an opera, and it was never intended for operatic voices. It is a musical." And that's just the way Sorrell is staging it this weekend: as popular music theater, performed in English with a cast of young singers. The internationally acclaimed baroque chamber orchestra is known for performing on period instruments, and The Magic Flute will be no exception — right down to the period-reconstruction glockenspiel from London that Sorrell will play as she directs, just as Mozart did. The semi-staged production will also feature a pair of baroque dancers portraying a series of enchanted creatures, and the stage will be set with scenic banners that evoke a fairy tale. In other words: It's a family-friendly bit of entertainment that Mozart would be proud to call his own. Tonight's performance is at 7:30 at Oberlin College's Finney Chapel. Encores are set for Friday, March 23, at Severance Hall and Saturday, March 24, at Kent State. Ticket prices vary with location; tonight's go for $10 to $75 by phone or online. Check out the website for details. — Cicora
90 North Professor St., Oberlin, 216-320-0012, apollosfire.org.
Friday | 23>
Our Greatest Year
Love, Loss, and Cleveland Sports
One day at the end of the 2007 season, Cleveland expats Robert Attenweiler and Scott Henkle found themselves in New York City, bemoaning another round of disappointing performances by the Indians, Browns, and Cavs. "But you never know," Attenweiler recalls saying in jest. "This could go down as our greatest year." Out of that simple observation — and a bone-deep understanding of what it means to be a Cleveland sports fan — came a work of art: Our Greatest Year, a play that examines love, loss, and the first year in a young couple's marriage through the lens of our local sports teams. Attenweiler describes the show, which debuted last June as part of Brooklyn's Comic Book Theater Festival, as a mix of traditional stagecraft and animated motion comics. According to The New York Times, the play proved to be the high point of the fest: "an oasis of psychological complexity," which "buoyed the festival, albeit in a melancholy way." Both guys say the play also serves as a tip of the hat to Cleveland's legendary graphic novelist Harvey Pekar. "We owe an enormous debt to Pekar," says Henkle. "He freed up comic book writers to talk about the personal stuff." This weekend, Attenweiler and Henkle are hosting three performances of Our Greatest Year at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights. (Thursday's performance is already sold out, but tickets likely remain for tonight and Saturday.) "We figured if a New York audience could get behind a story of Cleveland's suffering, maybe Cleveland would like it even better," chuckles Attenweiler, who shares writing credit with Henkle, a fellow John Carroll University grad. Reprising their roles from 2011 are Eric Slater as the young husband Harvey, Rebecca Benhayon as his wife Elton, director Anna Brenner, and animator Jay Tekus. Joining the writers after tonight's show for a talkback session is Cleveland native Scott Raab, a fellow sports sufferer and author of The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James. Should be a fun night. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 on the website. — Cicora
2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6838, ourgreatestyear.com.
I-X Indoor Amusement Park!
More Fun Than You Can Stand
As if flipping, dipping, spinning, and rotating through 20 acres of thrill rides wasn't enough, this year's I-X Indoor Amusement Park has added yet another enticement: an eye-popping live performance by Cirque Shanghai, a troupe of world-class Chinese acrobats. High-wire acts, choreographed balancing routines, and death-defying motorcycle stunts are all part of the new show. And that's in addition to all the usual attractions, like Big Cat Encounter and the kiddie rides of Kidzville. Plus, Marvel's Spider-Man and Captain America will be dropping in for photo ops tomorrow and Sunday, and teen star Victoria Justice will be doing meet & greets on April 1. All-day admission ranges from $10 to $24; kids under three are free. Get tickets by phone, online, at the door, or at Marc's. The park is open through April 15. — Cicora
1 I-X Center Dr., 877-772-5425, ixamusementpark.com.
Les Roberts Talks Mysteries
If you've been thinking of catching a performance of The Mousetrap at Great Lakes Theater, tonight might be a good time to, um, pull the trigger. That's because this evening's playbill includes not only a performance of the iconic Agatha Christie murder mystery, but also a pre-show conversation with Cleveland's favorite mystery writer, Les Roberts. The award-winning author is particularly popular hereabouts for his 14 mysteries featuring the Slovenian PI Milan Jacovich. Roberts' talk begins at 6; the stage production starts at 7:30. Combo tix range from $20 to $50 and can be had by phone or online. It all happens in the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square. — Cicora
2067 East 14th St., 216-241-5490 x302, greatlakestheater.org.
Saturday | 24
Blow 20 Bucks the Healthy Way
It's Cash Mob Day!
Today's your chance to knock grocery shopping off your to-do list while supporting an international buy-local movement that started right here on our shores. It's been just four months since local lawyer Andrew Samtoy organized the first Cash Mob to boost sales at an independent store in Tremont. The idea caught on such that today, Cleveland is just one of about 170 towns worldwide participating in the first International Cash Mob Day. (Some cities, like Vienna and Sydney, will hold their very first Cash Mobs today.) On the home front, Mobbers will gather in the parking lot of Nature's Bin in Lakewood at 2 p.m. The rules are simple: Bring at least $20 to spend, meet at least three new people, and have fun! Don't limit your list to organic kale and kefir either. Nature's Bin stocks everything from a full range of produce to holistic pet food and healthy heat-and-eat take-out fare. (But if you do happen to be short on nutritional yeast or organic popcorn, they have those too — in bulk.) Don't skip sampling some brew at the traditional after-shopping party, which is slated for the nearby Avenue Tap House at 18206 Detroit Ave. And don't be surprised to see camera crews tagging along; Cleveland's Cash Mobs have a way of attracting the media. — Maude L. Campbell
18120 Sloane Ave., Lakewood,
cashmobswordpress.com, Twitter: @cashmobs.
Joan Rivers at Playhouse Square
Can She Talk? Oh Yes She Can
Her 2010 documentary title pretty much says it all: Joan Rivers is A Piece of Work. But whether you admire her as a tough-as-nails survivor or distain her as a Hollywood caricature, you have to admit she's a pretty funny comedian — and a pioneering one at that. Especially in her stand-up act, the 78-year-old grandma still kills. A Columbus Dispatch review of her recent stop in that town tossed around words like "outrageous," and "hilarious," noting "profanity was in abundance." (Oh, grow up!) Rivers' next stop is in Cleveland, where she hits the Palace Theatre tonight at 7:30. Ticket prices are $10 to $55 by phone, online, or at the box office. — Cicora
1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.
A Cabin Fever Reliever in Peninsula
There will be fun things to do, see, and eat in nearly every corner of Peninsula today, as the historic little town in the Cuyahoga Valley launches its annual Cabin Fever Reliever tour. At the Log Cabin Gallery, for instance, you'll find an inventory reduction sale of artwork by 17 local artists. At the venerable G.A.R. Hall, you can take in the free traveling exhibit Ohio & the Civil War, then dig into bowls of freshly made soup: $5 gets you a sampling of five. Also happening: bird-watching hikes led by rangers from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Spring Fever excursions aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and Lambing Days at the Spicy Lamb Farm. Stick around until evening, and you can sit in on the blues jam at the Peninsula Art Academy or gather around a campfire at the nearby Ledges Shelter. There's lots of other stuff too. Get a full rundown — including hours and directions — on the website. — Cicora
A Comedian of Notes
"I still don't think of myself as a musician," says up-and-coming comedian Brian O'Sullivan. "Which is weird, because about 90 percent of my act is songs." So it's a good thing those songs are hilarious: parodies like Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" turned into an ode to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and originals like "Santa Is Just My Fuckin' Dad." ("Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 26 times, FUCK YOU!") The 27-year-old comic taught himself to play guitar about five years ago, but was an admitted Weird Al protégé from the time he hit sixth grade. ("I was just trying to impress the girls on the playground. It still hasn't happened.") His real training is in stagecraft: He earned a BFA in acting from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and spent several years studying improv with Chicago's top troupes. Regardless, he says he never takes himself too seriously. "Everything I say is tongue in cheek. For me, the comedy comes first. The guitar is just my way of getting the jokes out." O'Sullivan takes a break from the college circuit tonight with a stop at Big Dog Theater in Cleveland Heights. Opening the 9 p.m. show is Torque ... Full Throttle Improv. Tickets are $8, or $6 with a student ID; cash only at the door. Or reserve seats by phone or on the website, where you'll also find a dollar-off coupon. — Cicora
2781 Euclid Hts. Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-472-3636, bigdogtheater.com.
Sunday | 25
When Rich Guys Go Broke
Ever wonder what became of the Van Sweringen brothers — that is, after they built the Interurban Railroad, the Rapid Transit, and Terminal Tower, and accumulated land and railroad holdings of around $3 billion? Turns out, the Great Depression did them in. "They got way overextended," explains local historian Virginia Dawson. "When the stock market crashed in 1929, the writing was on the wall." Hanging in the balance, it turns out, was the fate of Shaker Heights, where the brothers had turned nearly 4,000 acres of farmland into one of the nation's first planned communities, where restrictive covenants and deed restrictions controlled the placement of every brick, shingle, and sidewalk. As the Vans sank, how would Shaker Heights survive? Dawson, who is writing a book on the city's history, reveals the answers today at the Shaker Heights Historical Society. Her talk is part of the exhibit Shaker Heights 1905-1930: The Selling of Peaceful Shaker Village, which continues through March 30 as part of the city's centennial celebration. The conversation begins at 4 p.m. Non-members pay $5, members pay nothing, and everyone has to make reservations by phone at the number below. — Cicora
16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-921-1201, shakerhistory.org.
Welcome to the Club
It's Romanian Night at Roma
Thumping techno, writhing belly dancers, and Euro videos? Yup, it's just another Sunday night at Club Roma, producer Franco Bucci's weekly international dance party. Bucci founded the "club within a club" back in 2004. "I felt there was a large void in the area's entertainment. We had nothing for an international audience," he says. While it has had several homes in its lifetime, Club Roma has been happening at Drop, in the Warehouse District, since August 2011. A DJ spins the tunes, and sometimes a percussionist joins in. Belly dancers and the occasional burlesque troupe provide live entertainment, and the everyone-is-welcome crowd consists mostly of Central and Eastern Europeans. Turns out tonight is Romanian Night, featuring all of the above but with a Romanian twist — including a gypsy belly dancer. Doors open at 9 p.m., the belly dancing begins at 11 p.m., "and then the music gets louder and the energy level soars." There's no cover charge. Check them out on Facebook. — Cicora
1392 West Sixth St.
Monday | 26
Good for You
Blankets for Burritos
There may be easier ways to score free food, but probably none that are more worthwhile: Today and all through the month of March, bring in a new, unopened blanket, bath mat, towel, or twin-sized sheet set, and get a free burrito of your choice at Moe's Southwest Grill in North Olmsted or Avon. The linens go to benefit Laura's Home, a women's crisis center that's part of the City Mission. It's the second benefit that franchise owner Andrea Graham has coordinated for the organization; if you enjoy the freebie, remember that Graham also will be dedicating 10 percent of all sales on March 31 to the shelter. — Cicora
36050 Detroit Rd., Avon, 440-934-5663;
25102 Brookpark Rd., North Olmsted, 440-801-1974, moes.com.
St. Paddy's Day Redux
Celtic Woman Plays the Akron Civic
Truth in labeling doesn't apply to bands. Take Celtic Woman. The Irish singing troupe is actually made up of a rotating corps of four Celtic women — three vocalists and a fiddler — although you'd never guess it from the name. In any case, the current crop of colleens is bringing their lovely selves to the Akron Civic Theatre tonight for one beautifully gowned performance. Part of their 58-city Believe tour, the show features a mix of Irish classics, pop anthems, and the gals' version of inspirational ditties like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." It's all in support of their Believe CD, which dropped in January. Tonight's show begins at 7:30. Tickets are $41 and $71 by phone, online, or at the Akron Civic Theatre box office. — Cicora
182 South Main St., Akron,
Wednesday | 28
Smoke Signals Author in Kent
Native American poet and writer Sherman Alexie will be at Kent State University tonight, delivering witty, ascerbic tales of contemporary American-Indian life. Should be fun. After all, Men's Journal calls the author of the 1998 film Smoke Signals "the world's first fast-talking and wisecracking mediagenic American-Indian superstar." The 6 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public in the Student Center's Kiva.
1065 Risman Plaza Dr., Kent, 330-672-2554, kent.edu.