Costum-Wha?!?!/Out of the Black Box

The curtain rises tonight on a sketch-comedy production to kick off Cleveland Public Theatre's eight-week Big Box series of new plays by local playwrights. And Steve Maistros' Modern Problems is a prime example of the theater's mission to bring scripts tweaked in its Little Box program to the Big Box stage. "It's really some of the best sketch comedy I've seen in years," says artistic director Raymond Bobgan about tonight's offering. "When we did it in Little Box, someone said it made them remember how good Saturday Night Live used to be." The series continues next weekend with Megan Pitcher's cabaret-style Companions, followed in two weeks by Anne McEvoy's female-driven Crashing Through Ceilings. The schedule also includes Jason Mullin's faith-based The Greatest Story Ever Told, Michael Williams' romance-challenged The Josie Project, Scott Plate's gay-themed The One Who, Deborah Magid's operatic Costumbrismo or Khandihba Wars, Kalindi Stockton and Maree ReMalia's dance-noir, vis-à-vis, Shenee King's African dance, De Vices, and Barbara Becker's drama, Ictus. "We're always amazed at how much potential there is in our artistic community. People who think that we don't have a vibrant arts community should see the proposals we get and come see the shows," says Bobgan. "This has become, over time, one of the most popular things we do." The series runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through Sunday, February 24, at Cleveland Public Theatre, 6415 Detroit Avenue. Tickets are $12 to $15. Call 216-631-2727 or visit
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008