Cleveland dancer taps to the R&B tunes she heard as a kid.

Mardi Gras zydeco
In her mother's dance studio 12 years ago, Sarah Savelli became entranced with the messages of peace and love in Stevie Wonder's music and lyrics. So when Playhouse Square's arts-education department gave the 30-year-old dancer the chance to create tonight's production of Wonderland: A Tap Tribute to Stevie Wonder, she set out to fashion a theatrical memorial far different than homages like the ABBA-inspired Mamma Mia! "His music has a message to it already," says Savelli. "We didn't want to impose a story over it, but we wanted the music to shape the show into something that had a purpose."Performing the show on a smaller scale during its debut last year, Savelli has since revamped it, adding dancers, a live band, and spoken-word artist Shihan. She's also managed to whittle down 75 Wonder songs into a coherent flow of music to tell a story. "When you see the word peace, it's on a shirt or a bumper sticker, and it doesn't mean much," says Savelli. "We examine peace through relationships, and Wonder's music is all about peace." The tribute starts at 7:30 tonight at the Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $35. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.org.
Fri., Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2008
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Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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