On Stage This Week

A spot of theater never hurt anyone

Last Call Cleveland

Michael Stanley Superstar!

Legends never die, the old saying goes; they just go on to become classic rock DJs while puerile comedians pick easy jokes off of their decaying carcasses. So it goes with Michael Stanley Superstar: The Unauthorized Autobiography of the Cuyahoga Messiah. The brainchild of the endearingly brainless comedy troupe Last Call Cleveland, the show debuted a handful of years ago and managed not only to not be laughed off the stage, but to be ushered back in response to what we can only assume is popular demand. Is it funny? Oh hell yes. And like the great bearded wonder himself, you've gotta catch it while you can: Michael Stanley Superstar rises again at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2, at the 14th Street Theatre (2037 East 14th Street at Playhouse Square). Tickets are $15 and $17, available by calling 216-241-6000 or at playhousesquare.org. — Erich BurnettFlanagan's Wake: A zany blend of dialogue and improvised laughs, this interactive show transforms the audience into guests at Flanagan's wake in the fictional Irish village of Grapplin. Through April 30 at Playhouse Square's Kennedy's Theatre, 1511 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $20 to $23; call 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.org.

God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse: Karamu House brings James Weldon Johnson's poetic classic to the stage by way of the fire-and-brimstone teachings of seven galvanizing preachers, accompanied by soul-stirring singing, thunderous dancing, and biblical verses ­— all woven together into a hand-clapping, foot-stomping spiritual celebration. Through April 10 at 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $25 to $30 at 216-795-7077; go to karamuhouse.org.

Jerry Springer: The Opera: Strippers, whore mongers, and tap-dancing knights of the Ku Klux Klan populate this provocative satire at Beck Center. Extended through April 17; a special late-night performance will take place on April 9. Tix are $28. Call 216-521-2540 or go to beckcenter.org. The Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.

Les Miserables: Producer Cameron Mackintosh's repackaged 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables features new staging, reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and even some new music and lyrics. One thing that hasn't changed is the storyline, which remains an uplifting celebration of the human spirit, fueled by the struggles of fugitive Jean Valjean. Sixteen epic performances April 5 through 17 at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $10 to $100 at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org.

My Name Is Asher Lev: Where does a young artist draw the line between his family's expectations and the need to fulfill his inner genius? That's the territory explored in this story of an Hasidic Jew struggling to actualize his creative mojo. Through April 3 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets start at $46; call 216-795-7000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com.

Present Laughter: The members of Case Western Reserve's MFA Graduate Ensemble of 2012 take the stage in this 1939 comedy by Noel Coward — which the English playwright once called "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechnics" — examining the trials and tribulations of an A-list actor. Through April 2 at Cleveland Play House's Brooks Theatre, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $7.50 and $15 at 216-795-7000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.

The Underpants: Steve Martin's adaptation of a play by Carl Sternheim is a laught-out-loud comedy about a puritanical bureaucrat and his wife Louise, who becomes an instant celebrity when her undies accidentally fall down in public. Beginning April 1, through April 23 at the Beck Center, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. Tickets are $10 to $28 at 216-521-2540 or online at beckcenter.org.

Valparaiso: Convergence-Continuum begins its tenth season with the darkly comic story of an "average Joe" who tries to make sense of his life by throwing himself beneath the spotlight of celebrity. Author Don DeLillo's densely crafted language, so luxurious in a narrative form, doesn't always fit easily into characters' mouths. And because of some unfortunate acting in key roles, the production never entirely gets off the ground. (Christine Howey) Through April 16 at the Liminus, 2438 Scranton Rd. Tickets are $12 to $15 at 216-687-0074 or online at convergence-continuum.org.

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