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SuicideGirls whip up some of that ol' burlesque magic.

Naked web gals come to life onstage at the SuicideGirls Burlesque Act.
  • Naked web gals come to life onstage at the SuicideGirls Burlesque Act.

THU 2/12

Burlesque, that bawdy branch of theater that united comedians, dancers, and strippers during the Eisenhower era, is alive and revealing at the SuicideGirls show, which rolls into the Beachland Thursday. It's a parade of gals with names like Siren, Snow, Violet, Tegan, Brandy, and Stormy -- all of whom know what to do with pasties and feathers, and all of whom are featured on SuicideGirls.com, an online community centered on naked punk and goth chicks.

Sean Suicide, one of the site's founders, says his fascination with classic 1940s-style cheesecake photos inspired him to create a modern-day pinup forum. "We started it as a gag, a side project, and it grew much faster than we expected," he says. "Now we're just trying to keep up." The tour emerged from the enthusiastic response to the Girls' sporadic live performances last year.

Credit the tease as well as the strip, says head dancer Siren. "It's teasing and mysterious, and that's sexy," she says. "And it's fun. I love the humor. This gives me a chance to be sexy and funny at the same time." The SuicideGirls Burlesque Act starts at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $10; call 216-383-1124. -- Fred Wright

Gloomy Gals
Pass the Prozac -- Chekhov's back.

2/13-2/16

Anton Chekhov once made a pact with himself: All of his plays must somehow reflect his audience's misery. The Russian dramatist didn't hold back on that promise when he wrote Three Sisters, which takes place in the backwoods of Russia, where there's little hope for the Sergeyevna sisters. Olga's a frustrated schoolteacher, Irina works a tedious job in a telegraph office, and Masha's a bored housewife. They dream of escaping their monotonous lives and heading for the big city. "It's a universal story about endurance and hope," says Matthew Wright, who's directing Oberlin College's production this weekend. And though it was written more than 100 years ago, the play "offers a wry look into the pitfalls of our own modern world," Wright says. Three Sisters plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Oberlin College's Hall Auditorium, 67 North Main Street in Oberlin. Tickets range from $4 to $10, available by calling 440-775-8169. -- Cris Glaser

Exhuming McCarthy
The Crucible looks at 200 years of witch-hunting.

2/14-2/28

On its surface, The Crucible is a simple tale: A 17th-century Massachusetts teen has an affair with a married farmer. When his wife finds out, the girl rounds up a couple dozen friends and plots revenge. They're arrested and put on trial for being witches, with fire and stakes figuring into the climax. But Arthur Miller's classic story is really an allegorical take on Joseph McCarthy's "Red Scare" hearings of the 1950s. And it's still plenty potent. The Crucible opens Saturday at Weathervane Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane in Akron) and runs through February 28. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8, available by calling 330-836-2626. -- Cris Glaser

Apocalypse Ow!

2/13-2/28

In Eric Kaiser's Charge, a bedroom-confined couple of the future spends their days gambling for body parts online and obsessing over characters in Boyz N the Hood. It's an absurdist comedy, in case you haven't figured that out. It runs Friday through February 28 at Cleveland Public Theatre's Upstairs Theatre, 6415 Detroit Avenue. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 and $15; call 216-631-2727. -- Michael Gallucci

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