There are a number of shows on tap from now until the first day of summer that will make you open up like a new daisy, or at least a Venus Fly Trap.
SING LIKE A BIRD
Performers are ready to trill, delivering the songs in musicals such as Freaky Friday, the new musical adaptation of the hit Disney film from back in the day. Mom and teen daughter switch bodies, hilarity and crooning ensue.
Cleveland Play House, April 15 to May 20
Ever wonder what the first musical sounded like? Of course not, but here's the answer anyway in Something Rotten. At the end of the 16th century, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom go (hilariously) crazy writing their own show.
Playhouse Square, April 25 to May 14
If a four-person, close-harmony guy group of singers has to die in an automobile accident, what could be better than coming back to life for one last chance at stardom? That's what happens to the doomed but tuneful nerds in Forever Plaid.
Great Lakes Theater, May 5 to 21
It's "If I Loved You," it's "You'll Never Walk Alone," and yes, it's none other than Carousel by those up-and-comers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Hey, it's just the greatest musical of the 20th century (Time magazine).
Mercury Theatre Company, June 9 to 24
Back when 9 to 5 came out in 1980, we thought it might help change things for abused working women. Ha! So now the musical version will take a swing at the same material, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton.
Porthouse Theatre, June 15 to July 1
Lush music and stellar dancing: You can have it all in An American in Paris, the new Tony-winning piece about an American soldier who meets a French girl in the Paris of our dreams. Ooh-la-la.
Playhouse Square, June 20 to July 9
SEX, VIOLENCE & RELIGION
How can you miss with any combination of those topics? In Hand to God, kids in a small Texas town are taught to steer clear of Satan's hand. But then, at a Christian puppet ministry, a puppet goes all Damien-ish in this raucous comedy.
Dobama Theatre, April 21 to May 21
Is violence the best response to life under a repressive regime? Before we test that theory out for real in the U.S., Massacre (Sing to Your Children) takes a stab at it. This play promises more gore than BOGO-day at the local abattoir.
convergence continuum theater, May 19 to June 10
Sexual politics and class warfare on a college campus raise their ugly heads in Really Really. Based loosely on the Duke lacrosse team hoax/scandal, the play delves into a story involving a supposed sexual assault and all the issues whirling around it.
Beck Center, June 2 to July 2
Sexual tension = The Taming of the Shrew. Love it, hate it, see it. At the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival — plus, it's free and it's outside at various venues around town.
June 16 to July 2
What happens when you discover you're not alone in your own body? The insanely prolific Cleveland playwright Eric Coble will provide the answer in These Mortal Hosts at the New Ground Theatre Festival.
Cleveland Play House, May 11 to 20
There are doldrums in a video game store? Hard to imagine. But it happens, along with fracturing realities, in Red Ash Mosaic, an original creation by Raymond Bobgan and his fiendishly innovative team.
Cleveland Public Theatre, May 25 to June 17.
Did Einstein and Picasso ever chew the fat? Could be. And comedian Steve Martin wrote up this idea in the "what if" play Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
Blank Canvas Theatre, June 9 to 24
ECCENTRICS AND OTHERS
Few writers have ever been funnier than George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and they prove it with a passel of eccentric folks in You Can't Take It With You.
Karamu House, April 20 to May 7
Life as a transfer student from the Middle East is tough enough without having the vice principal on your case, as he is in Cleveland-bred playwright Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool.
Ensemble Theatre, April 28 to May 21
Esteemed local playwright George Brant explores what happens when a young man dies and his possessions are fought over by his mother, sister and girlfriend.
none too fragile theater, May 6 to 20