At Cleveland Play House:
One Night With Janis JoplinPresented by Cleveland Play House, this regional premiere is both concert experience and reflection on the famous singer's musical roots. In the title role, former understudy Mary Bridget Davies — who took over after actress Cat Stephani bowed out right before the official opening — turns in a powerful performance. While Davies isn't exactly a dead ringer for the iconic rocker, she brings down the house with chill-inducing vocals so authentic, you'll swear Joplin has come back to life. Performances continue through August 19 at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $35 to $65 at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com. — Elaine T. Cicora
All Shook Up: Mercury Summer Stock wraps up its 2012 season with this musical comedy based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and built around a couple dozen of Elvis Presley's most famous songs. See house critic Christine Howey's review in this issue. Performances continue through August 18 at Notre Dame College, 1857 South Green Rd. in South Euclid. Tickets are $15 to $18 at 216-771-5862 or online at mercurysummerstock.com.
Legally Blonde The Musical: Despite some solid performances, Beck Center's production of this bubbly musical mostly falls flat. "Instead of being a frothy lark," advises critic Howey, "Legally Blonde seems an overly long exercise in trying to have fun." Performances continue through August 12. Tickets are $10 to $28 at 216-521-2540 or through beckcenter.org. Find them at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.
Merchant of Venice: Featuring veteran actor Robert Hawkes in the role of Shylock, Ohio Shakespeare Festival's production of this Shakespearean classic — widely considered to be one of the Bard's most nuanced and engrossing — continues through August 19 on the open-air stage at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Tickets are $12 to $30 at 330-673-8761 or ohioshakespeare.com. Stan Hywet Hall is at 714 North Portage Path in Akron.
The Sound of Music: Porthouse Theatre wraps up its 2012 season with Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical about a family of singing Austrians set against the backdrop of World War II. Critic Howey calls it "genuine" and "touching," with some "refreshing, down-to-earth performances ... Attention to detail is what separates good shows from great ones, and this Sound of Music has its share of fine moments." Perfomances continue through August 12 at Porthouse Theatre, 1145 West Steels Corners Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $17 to $33 at 330-672-3884 or porthousetheatre.com.