15+ Things to Do in Cleveland This Weekend (May 11-14)

Lizzo performs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Guardians take on the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field

Natalie Merchant comes to the State Theatre on Saturday. - Courtesy of Sacks & Co.
Courtesy of Sacks & Co.
Natalie Merchant comes to the State Theatre on Saturday.
Our weekly picks of the best things to do in Cleveland this weekend. Also check out our full Cleveland event calendar.

THU 05/11
Ain't Misbehavin'

This Tony-winning musical showcases the infectious energy and masterful style of iconic jazz musician Thomas “Fats” Waller. Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30 at the Hanna Theatre, where performances continue through May 21.
2067 East 14th St., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Samantha Bee
This very smart and funny producer, author and podcaster brings her Samantha Bee: Your Favorite Woman tour to the Ohio Theatre. Tonight's performance begins at 7. Tickets start at $39.50.
1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Cardio Single Release Party
A self-taught, classically trained musician, locally based Benjamin Rosolowski learned to play the cello, guitar, bass, drums, and piano before diving into music production at the age of 14. Years later, he would attend EDC Las Vegas and embrace electronic music. He adopted the name Cardio and has steadily recorded and performed under that moniker ever since. Recently, after finding out that he and his wife are expecting their first child, he penned his latest single, "Breaking Through." The song serves as Cardio’s first release on the popular online marketplace, Beatport, which will allow other DJs to easily add the tune to their mixes. Cardio plays a release party tonight at 9 at Dunlap's. Admission is free.
 3258 W. 32nd St., 216-417-2203, dunlapsbar.com.

Cleveland Stories Dinner Party
Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is a weekly series that pairs fine food with storytelling. Through it, the folks at Music Box Supper Club hope to raise awareness of the mission of the Western Reserve Historical Society's Cleveland History Center. The goal of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is to "bring to life some of the fun, interesting stories about Cleveland's past — from sports, to rock 'n' roll, to Millionaires' Row," as it's put in a press release. Admission is free, with no cover charge, although a prix fixe dinner, designed to complement the night's theme, is $20. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner is served at 6, and the storytelling starts at 7. Tonight, local comedian Mike Polk shares vintage Cleveland photos.
1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250, musicboxcle.com.

Dr. Sketchy's Art School
Founded in 2005 in a dive bar in Brooklyn, Dr. Sketchy’s has now spread to more than 100 cities around the world. Dr. Sketchy Akron, a monthly drink and draw event that takes place on the second Thursday of each month at Jilly's Music Room in Akron, gives patrons the opportunity to "draw glamorous underground performers in an atmosphere of boozy conviviality." The fun begins at 7 p.m.; it costs $10 to draw.
111 N Main St., Akron, 330-576-3757, jillysmusicroom.com.

Ken Ludwig's Moriarity: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure
Sherlock Holmes and Watson join forces with American actress Irene Adler to take down the cunning criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty and his network of devious henchmen in this Cleveland Play House production. Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30 at the Allen Theatre, where performances continue through May 21.
1407 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

New Soft Shoe
Thirteen years ago, on what local singer-songwriter Brent Kirby calls a drunken dare, a group of Cleveland friends and musicians showed up at the Happy Dog to play a couple sets of tunes by the late, great Gram Parsons. Dubbed the New Soft Shoe, the group has been at it ever since, spreading the gospel of what it refers to as "Gram's Cosmic American Music." Anything that Parsons played, the New Soft Shoe covers. As a result, the group plays tunes from the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. It also plays songs from Parsons' solo album GP/Grievous Angel. Tonight at 8, the band performs in the Waldorf Hall at Forest City Brewery. Tickets cost $5.
2135 Columbus Rd., 216-228-9116, forestcitybrewery.com.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
This musical pays tribute to the Rock Hall Inductee who's sold millions of albums and won 12 Grammy awards. Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30 at Connor Palace. Performances continue through May 14.
1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Alisa Weilerstein: Fragments
With this performance that takes place at 7:30 tonight at Mandel Concert Hall, cellist Alisa Weilerstein will create an "immersive musical space that is at once intimate and expansive," as it's put in a press release. The project for solo cello includes movements of Bach’s six cello suites with newly commissioned works by 27 of today’s most exciting composers, including the Cleveland Orchestra’s Composer Fellow Allison Loggins-Hull.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

FRI 05/12
Benji Brown

Comedian Benji Brown likes to talk about how difficult relationships can be. “Brothers, stop hitting on the ladies,” he jokes in one routine. “Touch ’em, and you go to jail.” His animated routine calls attention to domestic violence in a humorous (but not offensive) manner. Expect to hear bits like this when he performs tonight at 7:30 and 10 at the Improv, where he has shows scheduled through Sunday. Check the venue website for ticket prices and more info.
1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com.

The local metal group reunites for this special series of back-to-back shows that take place at the Agora. Integrity and State of Conviction open tonight, and Ringworm and Solipsist open tomorrow night. Doors are at 6:30 both tonight and tomorrow night.
5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221, agoracleveland.com.

Shane Gillis Live
Comedian, actor, writer and one-half of the comedy fan favorite Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast, Shane Gillis is a regular guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, Spotify's The Joe Rogan Experience and Barstool Sports KFC Radio. He performs tonight at 7 and 9:30 at the State Theatre.
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Guardians vs. Los Angeles Angels
Led by all-stars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels certainly have star power. Their one-and-only visit to Progressive Field this year should attract big crowds as a result. First pitch tonight is at 7:10, and the series continues through Sunday.
2401 Ontario St., 216-420-4487, mlb.com/guardians.

Mark Guarino Book Signing
Tonight at 7 at Visible Voice Books, author Mark Guarino discusses the little-known influence the Midwest has had on country music, a topic he explores in his new book, Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival. The event includes a DJ set. Admission is free.
2258 Professor Ave., 216-961-0084, visiblevoicebooks.com.

This singer, actress and rapper began her career under-the-radar back in 2011. Her third album, 2019's Cuz I Love You, established her as a superstar, yielding defiant anthems such as "Truth Hurts," "Juice" and "Tempo." After closing out 2022 with two sold-out Kia Forum shows in L.A., Lizzo embarked on an extension of that trek, dubbed the Special 2our, last month. The jaunt includes a stop at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight at 8.
One Center Court, 216-420-2000, rocketmortgagefieldhouse.com.

Menopause the Musical
This musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s has become an audience favorite. Performances of the play take place at 7 tonight and at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Ohio Theatre.
1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Alex Williams
After being thrown on the road to tour in support of his first album, Better than Myself, singer-songwriter Alex William documented his journey along the way for his new effort, Waging Peace. He performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Tavern.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Youth Pallet
Local singer-songwriter Nick Seink, who fronts the local indie rock act Youth Pallet, turned the stay-at-home orders of 2020 into an opportunity to develop his skills for at-home demoing and songwriting. After the departure of one of the group’s original members, Seink and drummer Steve Kessler were left to imagine a new future and sound for the band. "Care Package," the infectious, Strokes-y single the group released earlier this year, shows the fruit of the band's labor. The band plays an album release party tonight at the Happy Dog. Blanket Party and Flippant open the show. The music begins at 9.
5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474, happydogcleveland.com.

SAT 05/13
Bowie Brunch

Larder Delicatessen & Bakery will provide a la carte offerings for this Bowie Brunch that takes place at noon at Jukebox. Local Bowieologist Thomas Mulready will partner with local glam rockers Vanity Crash to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bowie's classic album Aladdin Sane. The Vanity Crash guys will deliver the tunes and Mulready will give his presentation entitled "Cracked Actor."
1404 West 29th St., 216-206-7699, eventbrite.com/e/bowie-brunch-tickets-594111161477.

Buzzard Rock 'n' Roll Market
Memorabilia associated with WMMS, including items from artist David Helton's personal collection, reprinted Buzzard T-shirts, posters, stickers and pennants, will be for sale at this event that takes place from noon to 4 p.m. today at Annika's Event Center in Grafton. Locals such as photographer Janet Macoska, author Fran Belkin, radio personality "Flash" Ferenc, and author and media consultant John Gorman will be on hand for the festivities.
36709 Royalton Rd., 440-315-1014, facebook.com/events/948450572827985.

An Evening with Natalie Merchant
Former 10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant brings her tour in support of her ninth solo album, Keep Your Courage, to the State Theatre tonight at 8. When Merchant joined 10,000 Maniacs back in 1981, she was only 17 years old, but she already possessed a powerhouse voice. Her vocal prowess would help the band achieve mainstream success in the late ’80s and early ’90s when folk-pop tunes such as “What’s the Matter Here?,” “These Are the Days” and “Like the Weather” became hits.
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Hello! 3D
Back in 2015, JakeFader, the frontman of this terrific local band, made a Latin instrumental rock record with New York-based Ray Lugo. They recorded a double album as a group they called Los Terrificos. Fader says it was at that time that he became interested in psychedelic music from Peru and Colombia. He first talked to local bassist Ed Sotelo, and then, Hello! 3D played it first show in 2019, opening for Los Mirlos at Now That’s Class. The group plays tonight at 8 at the Beachland Tavern. DJ Teddy Eisenberg opens the show.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Keynote Speaker: Isabel Wilkerson
A Pulitzer Prize-winning author of critically acclaimed bestsellers, including The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, which was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, Isabel Wilkerson speaks today at 7:30 at Mandel Concert Hall.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

Serious Nature
Tim Caskey' son Ben Caskey passed away last year unexpectedly from a congenital heart defect. He was a Senior at Baldwin Wallace University and his family has started a scholarship in his name. Tim Caskey's band, Serious Nature, will play a special fundraising concert tonight at 8 at the Winchester Music Tavern to raise funds for the scholarship.
12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-600-5338, facebook.com/TheWinchesterMusicTavern.

SWMRS emerged a few years ago when brothers Max and Cole Becker left the Bay Area pop-punk band Emily’s Army. Drive North, the duo's formal debut, is chant-a-long party rock with electronic beats. The group is currently at work on a new album. It performs tonight at 8:30 at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

United in Song! A Free Community Choral Celebration
This free event features vocal performances at Severance Music Center representing the rich diversity of the Greater Cleveland community. Humbly Submitted Gospel Chorus, Andy Andino and Voces Hispanas, Tri-C Vocal Arts Academy + Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus, and ensembles from Cleveland’s immigrant community will all be on hand. Writer, spoken word poet, voiceover talent and recording artist Orlando Watson, a Cleveland native who's currently the Senior Director of Programming for Pittsburgh’s August Wilson African American Cultural Center, will serve as host. It begins at 2 p.m.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

SUN 05/14

While this band’s music could be called heavy metal/hard rock, this terrific group that formed in the early ’90s also draws from the blues and from progressive rock. The hard rock act comes to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica with openers Amigo the Devil and Nate Bergman. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.
2014 Sycamore St., 216-861-4080, jacobspavilion.com.

The Gilmour Project
A “descendant” of Blue Floyd, the early 2000s group made up of Allen Woody, Matt Abts, Marc Ford, Berry Oakley Jr., and Johnny Neel, the Gilmour Project take Pink Floyd tunes and put a twist on them. The group performs tonight at 7:30 at MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793, mgmnorthfieldpark.mgmresorts.com/en.html.

The Girl of the Golden West
Today at 3 p.m. at Mandel Concert Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra takes on Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West, the operatic equivalent of a spaghetti Western that tells the tale of a love triangle between a sultry saloon owner, a carousing constable and a disguised desperado.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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