We hear it’s been a great summer, even if all we know about it is what we could see out the office window. But no regrets: As various arts and entertainment orgs release their new schedules, fall is shaping up as prime time to get out. Here are five of our top picks for the coming season:
1. Don’t come around Cleveland Public Theatre looking for mainstream musicals, bland rom-coms, or tired Disney retreads. Instead, in the words of artist director Raymond Bobgan, what you’ll find at this daring theater are “adventurous and diverse” works intended to “add choices to our community and enliven the scene.” True to his word, Bobgan kicks off the 2012-2013 season with the regional premiere of Standing on Ceremony, a confluence of activism and great theater staged to “promote gay marriage rights and explore our ever-evolving (and sometimes not) society.” Performances run October 4 through 20. See cptonline.org for details.
2. Emerging Chefs has been creating showcase culinary events for nearly two years, bringing together outstanding local chefs and unique venues for memorable evenings of food, drink, and fun with fellow foodies. This fall’s lineup of events is no exception. The highpoint has to be October 28’s Roaring Twenties Gala at Crop Bistro, a blowout that EC’s Michael DeAloia calls “a once-in-a-life-time” event. The “culinary play in three acts” starts with oysters, champagne, and live jazz in the bar, moves onto a five-course dinner by executive chef Steve Schimoler in the restaurant’s historic former bank vault, then winds up with dessert, aperitifs, and cigars in the main dining room. Black-tie is requested. Find out more at emergingchefs.com.
3. Apollo’s Fire, Cleveland’s internationally acclaimed Baroque orchestra, launches its 21st season with what promises to be a boisterous performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 2, and 5. An exhilarating challenge to performers’ virtuosity, the big, brassy concertos are some of the 18th century’s most glorious pieces — not to mention an enticing entry point for listeners just starting to dip their toes into the classical-music pool. The orchestra closed its 20th season last April with rousing performances of Concertos 3 through 6; based on those concerts alone, this is likely to be a high point of Cleveland’s classical music season. Concerts are scheduled for October 11 through 14 at various Northeast Ohio venues. Go to apollosfire.org for more information.
4. The Cleveland Museum of Art opens its 2012-2013 VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts Series with Inca Son, an acclaimed music and dance ensemble that recreates the color and vibrancy of its homeland in the Peruvian Andes. This is the Cleveland debut for the troupe, which has previously performed everywhere from the Kennedy Center to Native American pow-wows. As is nearly always the case with CMA’s fabulous annual series, it should deliver an evening of compelling sound, spectacular visuals, and memorable cultural enlightenment. The show is set for October 26 in the museum’s Gartner Auditorium. Find out more at clevelandart.org/vivagala.
5. Cleveland’s shiny new Museum of Contemporary Art makes its public debut on October 8. But Clevelanders can get a sneak peak on Saturday, October 6, during MOCA’s opening gala. Hex: A Spellbinding Event is one of those tiered parties increasingly popular with arts orgs: With admission at 6, 8, or 10 p.m., the earlier you arrive, the more perks you get, and the more cash you pay. Besides live music, dancing, an avant-garde DJ, light hors d’oeuvres, and a bar set up in the lovely outdoor lounge, the shindig promises an early look at the architecturally excellent space and the opening exhibit, Inside Out and From the Ground Up. VIP tickets are available at 216-421-8671; 8 p.m. tix are currently available at mocacleveland.org; and 10 p.m. tickets go on sale online on September 4. Find more information on the website.