15+ Things to Do in Cleveland This Weekend (May 18-21)

Grog Shop hosts an Ode to Hessler and comedian Tom Papa comes to the Ohio Theatre

The Aquadolls. - Courtesy of Big Hassle Media
Courtesy of Big Hassle Media
The Aquadolls.
Our weekly picks of the best things to do in Cleveland this weekend. Also check out our full Cleveland event calendar.

THU 05/18
The Aquadolls
In advance of the release of their new album that's due out June 2, the Aquadolls swing into town tonight to play House of Blues Cambridge Room. So far, the group has released the singles “Beachy,” "Sneaky" and "Burn Baby Burn." The infectious tracks bring together melodic ’60s harmonies and ’90s-driven rock in a really accessible way.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

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.

The American Dream, the American Nightmare, and Black American Music
Julian Davis Reid, a pianist, producer and composer who's performed and spoken throughout the country and around the world in various solo and collaborative musical projects, will reflect on his own experience as a Black composer and performer. Music selections include "Come Sunday" by Duke Ellington, "Dolphin Dance" by Herbie Hancock and "What’s Going On" by Marvin Gaye. The concert begins tonight at 7:30 at Reinberger Chamber Hall.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

A Celebration and Roast of Dick Pogue
This event that takes place tonight at 7 at the Ohio Theatre acknowledges the life-long civic leadership and philanthropy of local hero Dick Pogue. In honor of Dick and the late Pat Pogue’s love of ballet and Dick Pogue’s work as Chairman of the Cleveland Ballet Board, proceeds of this event will inaugurate the Richard W. and Patricia R. Pogue Cleveland Ballet Endowment Fund.
1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Dear Evan Hansen
The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen makes its way to Cleveland this month amidst lots of hype. The story centers on a high-schooler who wants to fit in at any cost and features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman) and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal). Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30 at Connor Palace, where performances continue through Sunday.
1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Kevin Hart: Reality Check
The diminutive comedian and actor brings his latest stand-up show to the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton tonight at 7:30. Check the website for more info.
2121 George Halas Dr. NW, Canton, 330-456-8207, profootballhof.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 Sunday.
1407 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Marlon Wayans
One of the best known comics to emerge in the late '80s, Marlon Wayans has come a long way since working with his brother Shawn Wayans on sit-coms such as The Wayans Brothers and films such as Scary Movie, White Chicks and Little Man. Tonight at 7and 9:30 and tomorrow night at 7:30 and 10, he performs at the Improv.
1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com.

FRI 05/19
Brit Floyd

Formed in 2011, Brit Floyd goes all out in paying tribute to the British psychedelic rock group Pink Floyd. It offers “immense, immaculately curated state-of-the-art production,” as it’s put in a press release. Dubbed 50 Years of Dark Side, the current tour celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Floyd’s masterpiece, The Dark Side of the Moon, and the shows feature more than two and a half hours of Pink Floyd music. The concert begins tonight at 7 at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.
2014 Sycamore St., 216-861-4080, jacobspavilion.com.

Musical Reflections: Dreams We’ve Dreamed; Songs We’ve Sung; Hopes We’ve Held
Tonight at 7:30 at Mandel Concert Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra explores how composers such as Scott Joplin, Julia Perry, William Grant Still, Bernard Herrmann, Raven Chacon and Edgard Varèse have represented the American Dream.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

An Ode to Hessler
To commemorate the historic block-party that was Hessler Street Fair, the Grog Shop will host many of the bands, vendors, and organizations that made Hessler so special in the past. The two-day event, which begins today, will feature bands such as Shoreline Funk All Stars, Shākē Ground Band, Outlaws I&I , Blackout Rose, Unc D and Alex Bevan. Consult the club's website for more info.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

Tom Papa
The funny stuff continues tonight with Tom Papa, the fun-loving guy who used to host the NBC comedy show Marriage Ref. Papa routinely likes to joke about how he misses the day when he didn't have kids or the responsibility that accompanies them. He likes to reminisce about his young life, and notes how being a dad has him drinking more now. "Daddy is a lot more fun when he gets his magic juice inside of him," he likes to say, as he ponders the fact that all his daughter's drawings of him are with a martini glass. But the guy will also switch gears and talk about antidepressants and societal pressures. His talent lies in the fact that he comes off as an Average Joe. He performs tonight at 8 at the Ohio Theatre.
1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Words and Wine: A Fundraiser for Writers in Residence
Writers in Residence, a group that teaches creative writing to youth who are incarcerated to "empower their voices and assist in their re-entry into society," hosts this fundraiser that takes place tonight at 6 at Visible Voice Books. Alums and local artists will read from the newest chapbooks; each ticket comes with a copy of the new chapbook.
2258 Professor Ave., 216-961-0084, visiblevoicebooks.com.

SAT 05/20
2023 Dazzle Awards

The most talented high school performers in Northeast Ohio take center stage at 7:30 tonight at the State Theatre for the annual Dazzle Awards. Tickets cost $25.
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

The Bejeweled Ball

The Ladies Night, a regional rock/pop band, has dug deep to learn some 20 Taylor Swift songs for this special performance that takes place at the Mercury Music Lounge in Lakewood. The group will play a full 90-minute set of nothing but Swift songs. Then, after a costume contest, the group will come back on stage to play another set of songs by Britney, Kesha, Gaga, Ariana, Miley and all its other favorites. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 on the day of the show.
18206 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, mercurymusiclounge.com.

Can You Hear the Boobies, Fernando!
Cleveland Burlesque presents this ABBA-themed burlesque show that takes place tonight at 8:30 at the Beachland Ballroom. Bella Sin, Maya Bizness, Heather & Lace, Cece Noir, Monica Mod and MJ Chameli will all perform. Ken Schneck hosts.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Judy Collins Presents Wildflowers
The Cain Park Chamber Orchestra backs singer-songwriter Judy Collins as she revisits songs from her 1967 album, Wildflowers, for tonight's show at Cain Park. The album yielded Collins's first Top 10 hit and her first Grammy too. She'll perform the LP in its entirety. The concert begins at 8.
14591 Superior Rd., Heights, 216-371-3000, cainpark.com.

The Elk + Elk DTW Rib Burn Off
Now in its 10th year, the Elk + Elk DTW Rib Burn Off returns to downtown Willoughby this weekend. There will be beer and craft cocktails, local vendors, a Meijers kids play area, and, of course, ribs from participating downtown Willoughby restaurants and national vendors. Live local and national live bands such as headliners the Marshall Tucker Band and Stephen Pearcy, the voice of RATT, will perform.

The Girl of the Golden West

Today at 7:30 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.

Lynyrd Skynyrd
This Southern rock act's lineup has changed drastically since it formed in Jacksonville in 1973. According to press materials, its legacy includes a catalog of more than 60 albums, billions of streams and tens of millions of records sold, giving it a loyal fanbase despite the absence of original members. Songs such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” helped bring Southern rock into the mainstream. The group comes to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica tonight at 7.
2014 Sycamore St., 216-861-4080, jacobspavilion.com.

Bill Maher
As the host of two political talk shows, the author of five best-selling books and the documentarian behind 2008's Religulous, Bill Maher has been making his rounds for more than 30 years. In that time, he's been nominated for numerous Emmys for his live standup specials and talk shows. Maher performs tonight at 8:30 at MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793, mgmnorthfieldpark.mgmresorts.com/en.html.

Miranda Sings
Actor, comedian, vocalist, writer and magician Colleen Ballinger is best known for her alter ego, Miranda Sings, an internet sensation. She brings the character to life tonight at 7 at the Ohio Theatre. Tickets start at $35.
1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Old Brooklyn Pedal for Prizes
Old Brooklyn Pedal for Prizes is back and returns to its original format today during Cleveland Bicycle Month. The ride will start at Old Brooklyn’s Brighton Park. Registration starts at 10 a.m. and you will receive your punch card and a map of Old Brooklyn businesses and points of interest. Ride your bicycle to as many of those destinations as you’d like, having your punch card stamped at each. Destinations will open and start stamping cards at 10 a.m. Return to Brighton Park before 2 p.m. to receive a raffle ticket for each stamp on your punch card.

SUN 05/21
Pedro the Lion

For the current tour that brings Pedro the Lion, the indie rock act that David Bazan has helmed for nearly 30 years, to the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights tonight, the group will revisit early albums It’s Hard to Find a Friend and Control. A consummate songwriter with literary sensibilities, Bazan has said that he intends to emphasize the rough-around-the-edges quality to the songs and that the live show will really rock. The music starts at 8:30.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

Coming soon: Cleveland Scene Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Cleveland stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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]
Scroll to read more Things to Do articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.