When Porthouse Theatre opens its season on Thursday with The Spitfire Grill, the songs accompanying the musical will be decidedly different from the grandiloquent show tunes that typically play on the outdoor stage. "There's no percussion in the band," Artistic Director Terri Kent says of the bluegrass- and country-speckled songs. "There's accordion and violin. I fell in love with the story through the music."
And while Grill might seem a bit hokey on the surface -- an ex-con, new to town, bonds with a sassy diner owner and her shy pal -- director Kent promises charm that isn't overly saccharine. "It really exemplifies the values that we try to put forth at the theater," she says. "It's about people searching for a place where they can fit in."
Plus, it all suits Porthouse's theme this year: A Place to Call Home. "We form our own homes," offers Kent. "It doesn't have to be Mom, Dad, and a couple kids." The Spitfire Grill is at Blossom Music Center's Porthouse Theatre (1145 Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls) Thursday through July 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $11 to $24, available by calling 330-929-4416. -- Michael Gallucci
Canadian Pablo Francisco finds his voice.
Pablo Francisco is best known for making funny sounds during his stand-up act. But that perception is a little inaccurate, he says; the vocal effects are merely used to drive home his jokes. Like the one about how soft porn always shows the back-of-the-head angle during fellatio scenes. "The reason they call it soft porn?" he says. "Because it doesn't get you hard." When he was 13, Francisco taped comedians' TV appearances ("I learned their personalities," he recalls); a few years later, he was headlining clubs. "But I don't like when there are really old people in the front row," he says. "They think it's gonna be like Bob Hope, and they get there [and say,] 'I don't understand.'" Francisco is at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) through Sunday. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $21; call 216-696-4677. -- P.F. Wilson
Eisley dreams up some enchanting pop.
On its lingering, elegant debut album, Room Noises, Texas family group Eisley makes starry-eyed dreampop (what do you expect from a band that cribbed its name from the Star Wars spaceport where Luke Skywalker first met Han Solo?) that's quite mature for the members' ages. With the oldest topping off at 22, the three sisters, brother, and friend craft a record of subtle beauty and soaring melodies. And, fitting for a band that opened for Coldplay before it even released a full-length CD, its music is as warm, fuzzy, and downright comforting. Eisley is at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
Hide the Staplers!
As Fly by Night, Connecticut stuntmen Ryan Dekoe and Stephen King (no relation to the horror king) are the first to admit that they're "professional pests." Traveling the East Coast street-show circuit, they bring their repertoire -- from eating balloons to stapling their own foreheads -- to the Street Beats series at 11:30 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday outside House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) and 7 p.m. Friday outside the ARTcade (530 Euclid Avenue). It's free; call 216-426-7335. -- Cris Glaser