On Stage This Week

The Rap Guide to Evolution:

A New Species of Theater

WyBaba Brinkman sees the world through the lens of hip-hop. Maybe that's just what happens when a guy with an advanced degree in Medieval and Renaissance Literature decides to become a rapper ... and an actor ... and a playwright too. In any case, Brinkman is bringing his award-winning Rap Guide to Evolution to the 14th Street Theatre for two performances: Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12. A fave at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009, the ever-evolving 90-minute play illuminates Darwin's theories and the complexities of hip-hop culture at one and the same time. Seems like a natural selection for Cleveland Play House's New Ground Theatre Festival, doesn't it? Tickets are $25. — Elaine T. Cicora

At 2037 East 14th St., 216-241-6000, clevelandplayhouse.com.Come Fly Away: A long, cool pour of mid-century chill, this Broadway Series offering at Playhouse Square combines Frank Sinatra's music with choreograhy from Twyla Tharp. The national touring company performs through May 20 at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $10 to $77.50 at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org.

Devil Boys From Beyond: What's going on in the mysterious swamplands of Lizard Lick? Find out in Christine Howey's review, one page back from here. Presented by Convergence-Continuum through June 2 at the Liminis. Tickets are $10 to $15 at 216-687-0074 or convergence-continuum.org. The Liminis is at 2438 Scranton Rd.

Elegy for a Lady/Three Women: Cesear's Forum presents a pairing of two short discourses that explore individual consciousness. Tickets are $15, available at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org. Performances are set for Fridays and Saturdays through May 26 at Kennedy's Down Under at Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave.

Bust: Comedic actress Lauren Weedman presents her one-woman play about volunteering in the women's unit of the L.A. County Jail. Part of Cleveland Play House's New Ground Theatre Festival, performances are 7:30 p.m. May 10 through 12 in the Lab Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $25 at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.

Gem of the Ocean: Karamu concludes its season with the first entry in August Wilson's 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle. Set in 1904, Gem explores themes of freedom, redemption, and spirituality. Performances are set for May 11 through June 3 in the Jeliffe Theatre, 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-795-7070 or karamuhouse.org.

God of Carnage: Dobama concludes its 52nd season with this award-winning drama about grown-ups behaving badly. Writes house critic Christine Howey: "The laughter flows freely as these four people are swept along by the riptides of their own weaknesses and insecurities." Through May 20 at 2340 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $26; get them at 216-932-3396 or dobama.org.

Gruesome Playground Injuries: Ensemble Theatre presents this dark comedy by Pulitzer nominee (and native Clevelander) Rajiv Joseph. Some of the show's eight scenes resonate with subtlety and dark humor, says critic Howey, "but Ensemble's two-person cast is not consistently well matched." Through May 20 at 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $20 at 216-321-2930 or ensemble-theatre.org. On May 12, a benefit performance will include a chance to meet the playwright.

Hellcab: Set in Chicago, Will Kern's Hellcab is a 70-minute series of off-beat vignettes drawn from the life of a big-city cabbie. Presented by Blank Canvas Theatre, performances continue through May 20. Tickets are $15 at blankcanvastheatre.com. Find them at 1305 West 78th St.

In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play: Yes, it's that kind of vibrator. Through May 13 at Cleveland Play House, 1407 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $49 to $69, available at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.

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