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Mamma Mia Leads This Week's Arts Picks

Mamma Mia! Simple lyrics, hooks as sweet as lollipops and layered sound as lush as shag carpet made ABBA a worldwide sensation in the '70s. But it must have been money that inspired the stage production Mamma Mia, which, like an echo of an echo, returns to Playhouse Square just a month after the movie of the same name hit screens. Both the film and stage versions are loosely based on the 1968 film Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, about an Italian woman who sleeps with three American GIs during the U.S. occupation of Italy after WWII, gives birth to a daughter and persuades all three - each unbeknownst to the others - to support her. But who cares about the plot? The reason the State Theatre is going to be packed with Boomer girls is songs like "Dancing Queen," "SOS" and "Take a Chance on Me." You certainly can't blame a kid of a certain age for sucking those lollipops. Performances at 8 p.m. every day through Saturday and 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the State Theatre on Playhouse Square. $28 to $62. Call 216.241.6000. - Michael Gill

TRIUMVIRATE "In my brand of political Pop conceptualism, I make various attempts to either strip down or intensely exaggerate familiar items and symbols we encounter and relate to on a daily basis," says artist William Schwartz, whose work is part of Triumvirate, which opens with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, during this month's Tremont ArtWalk, at Asterisk Gallery, 2393 Professor Ave. "The pieces I have created for this exhibit deal with the influence American culture has on our personal identities," he continues. "My hope is to spark a sort of internal dialogue within the individual, a self-interrogation about what freedom really is." Rounding out the triumvirate are Dana L. Depew, who lately has been rejuvenating "forgotten textiles" by painting them with vibrant colors, and Rick Ferris, who has been using his camera to distill time by focusing on fragments of it. "For example," he says, "the noticing of a thistle on the side of the road - its simplicity, beauty and ordinariness reveals an opportunity for reflection and celebration." For information about Asterisk, call 330.304.8528. Tremont ArtWalk is from 6 to 10 p.m. Go to www.tremontartwalk.org. - Gill

Cleveland Orchestra

The Blossom Music Center calendar continues through the month, but Friday marks the last appearance this season by the Cleveland Orchestra before it departs for a pair of European festival residencies. The first is the Salzburg Festival, where Franz Welser-Mšst will lead soprano Camilla Nylund and the orchestra in five performances of Dvoÿrák's opera Rusalka, which Cleveland audiences heard in the season finale at Severance Hall and at three other concerts. Then it's on to the Lucerne Festival, where the orchestra will present the world premiere of a piano concerto by George Benjamin, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist. The orchestra will bring that piece to Severance Hall for Cleveland audiences in September. For a taste of the other parts of the program, go to Blossom Friday night, where Welser-Mšst will lead the orchestra in Schubert's Andante from Symphonic Fragment D.936A, Messiaen's "Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum," Dvoÿrák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," and Johann Strauss Jr.'s "Emperor Waltz," 8:30 p.m. at Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets $20 to $80. Call 216.231.1111. - Gill

Groundworks, Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival

There's something ritualistic and appropriate about Groundworks Dance Theater performing in a cemetery as part of the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. Groundworks artistic director David Shimotakahara was long a member of the late Poll's esteemed Ohio Ballet, and to have his company dancing among the graves of Glendale Cemetery has a celebratory quality to it that rises above the macabre. Groundworks' program this Friday and Saturday has a couple of familiar pieces - KT Niehoff's "Proximal" and David Parker's "Annie Redux," as well as Shimotakahara's "Sweet," with music by Bobby McFerrin, and the Akron premiere of his "Lights Up," with music by Gustavo Aguilar, featuring Howie Smith. There's a pre-show performance for kids at 7:45, with the main dance program beginning at 8:45 at Glendale Cemetery, 150 Glendale Ave. in Akron. Free. - Gill


The degree to which Barack Obama has inspired young people is manifest locally in the work of Grace Overbeke, whose OpenEye Productions theater company is supporting him with the latest in their series of plays in support of good works. Overbeke and her company of Very Young People (the oldest being 22) formed in college and have since raised money for the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders, treatment for hepatitis B and other causes. They'll present Harold Pinter's existential comedy of manners Celebration at 7 p.m. Sunday at Nighttown. The dinner-theater-style production will have the actors seated at tables among the crowd, so that the crowd essentially eavesdrops on them. The play satirizes upper-class attitudes and manners - as Overbeke says, "the class that has been catered to during the Bush years." Subodh Chandra is the producer of the show. Tickets cost $12 and up, and include dinner and the show. Nighttown is at 12387 Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights. For tickets, e-mail tickets.celebration@gmail.com - Gill

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Staff Pick Events

  • Corteo @ Quicken Loans Arena

    • Thu., Nov. 15
  • Violet @ Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre

    • Thu., Nov. 15
  • Altered Value: The Art of Funny Money @ Tregoning & Company

    • Fri., Nov. 16

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