On Stage This Week

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Damn Yankees at Porthouse Theatre:

Play Ball!

A promising underdog baseball team reviles the big, bad Yankees and pins all its hopes on a promising rookie player: Sound familiar? Enter Damn Yankees, the musical comedy whose sentiment Indians fans can appreciate. When down-and-out real estate agent Joe Boyd makes a pact with the devil to allow his beloved Washington Senators to beat those "damn Yankees," his very soul is at stake. The pact transforms Boyd into the rookie player Joe Hardy, a long-ball hitter who can turn around the season and bring home the pennant. Singing and dancing ensue. Helmed by Porthouse's artistic director Terri Kent, whose recent works include favorites like Bye Bye Birdie and Annie Get Your Gun, this Tony Award-winner is likely to hit home with Cleveland fans. Says Kent, "This show is like an Indians game I remember from the late '90s with Jose Mesa on the mound with a full count, two outs, and bases loaded: Audiences won't know what hit 'em." Fifteen performances are scheduled at Porthouse Theater at Blossom Music Center from June 14 through 30. Tickets are $17 to $33. — Kathryn Potraz

At 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-672-2497, porthousetheatre.com.Avenue Q: Often touted as "Sesame Street for adults," this funny, raunchy puppet show uses familiar fleece exteriors to expose the hard interiors of life. The show opens June 15. Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays through July 1, at the Alma Theater in Cleveland Heights' Cain Park, 14591 Superior Rd. Tickets are $15 at 216-371-3000 or cainpark.com.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: "Gleefully loaded with anachronisms and ballsy candor, this play is a freaking rush from the get-go," advises house critic Christine Howey. The rip-snortin' rock musical continues at the Beck Center through July 1. Tickets are $28 for adults at 216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org. Find them at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.

Cats: Mercury Summer Stock opens its season with Andrew Lloyd Weber's feline-friendly musical Cats. Performances open June 15 and continue on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through June 30, at Regina Auditorium at Notre Dame College, 4545 College Rd. in South Euclid. Tickets are $15 to $18 at 216-771-5862 or online at mercurysummerstock.com.

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth: Cleveland Shakespeare Festival opens its 15th season of free outdoor theater with this classic Shakespearean drama. Directed by David Hansen, performances are set for June 15 and 16 at Notre Dame College. Shows continue in repertory with As You Like It (opening at Notre Dame on June 22) on Saturdays and Sundays through August 5 at venues throughout the region. See cleveshakes.org for details.

Sondheim on Sondheim: Victoria Bussert directs this musical revue which intertwines dozens of live song performances with exclusive interview footage of the famously reclusive Stephen Sondheim — telling the tale of his life, his artistic process, and the stories behind the songs. A collaboration between Great Lakes Theater and Playhouse Square, performances continue through July 8 at 2067 East 14th St. Tickets are $10 to $60 at 216-241-6000, or playhousesquare.org.

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