Friday | 23
MythBusters on Tour
It's taken years to figure out how to take the MythBusters show on the road. Apparently, a Discovery Channel science series filled with bombs, guns, and explosives doesn't translate well to live theater. The big question, of course, is how to meet fans' expectations for gonzo action while still maintaining safety. "It did take a while to figure it out," admits co-host Jaime Hyneman of the brand-new stage show. "But what we finally came up with is a series of experiments where we know roughly what will happen each time and still have a reasonable expectation that it will be interesting." Those experiments are the meat of MythBusters' Behind the Myths Tour, a 31-city odyssey that lands tonight at Playhouse Square. As a bonus, more than a dozen fans are picked from the audience at each stop to serve as assistants. "That's the biggest crowd pleaser," says co-host Adam Savage. "The fervor with which those kids wave their [liability] waivers is inspiring!" As for how the experiments were chosen, Savage says they picked ones that told the most interesting stories. "The underlying theme is perception," adds Hyneman. As their nine-year run on the Emmy-nominated show continues, do the guys ever worry they'll run out of myths to bust? Savage just laughs. "As long as people believe in crazy things, we'll always have work!" Tonight's show is at 7:30 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $11.50 to $101.50 by phone, online, or at the Playhouse Square box office. — Elaine T. Cicora
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. — Elaine T. Cicora
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.
Mozart Lightens Up with Apollo's Fire
When Mozart wrote The Magic Flute way back in 1791, it became a raging box-office sensation: Written in the language of the people and featuring light, youthful voices, it was performed more than 100 times in its first year alone. "In short," says Jeannette Sorrell, music director of Apollo's Fire, "this is not an opera, and it was never intended for operatic voices. It is a musical." And that's just the way Sorrell is staging it this weekend: as popular music theater, performed in English with a cast of young singers. The internationally acclaimed baroque chamber orchestra is known for performing on period instruments, and The Magic Flute will be no exception — right down to the period-reconstruction glockenspiel from London that Sorrell will play as she directs, just as Mozart did. The semi-staged production will also feature a pair of baroque dancers portraying a series of enchanted creatures, and the stage will be set with scenic banners that evoke a fairy tale. In other words: It's a family-friendly bit of entertainment that Mozart would be proud to call his own. Tonight's performance is at 7:30 at Oberlin College's Finney Chapel. Encores are set for Friday, March 23, at Severance Hall and Saturday, March 24, at Kent State. Ticket prices vary with location; tonight's go for $10 to $75 by phone or online. Check out the website for details. — Cicora
90 North Professor St., Oberlin, 216-320-0012, apollosfire.org.
Friday | 23>
Our Greatest Year
Love, Loss, and Cleveland Sports
One day at the end of the 2007 season, Cleveland expats Robert Attenweiler and Scott Henkle found themselves in New York City, bemoaning another round of disappointing performances by the Indians, Browns, and Cavs. "But you never know," Attenweiler recalls saying in jest. "This could go down as our greatest year." Out of that simple observation — and a bone-deep understanding of what it means to be a Cleveland sports fan — came a work of art: Our Greatest Year, a play that examines love, loss, and the first year in a young couple's marriage through the lens of our local sports teams. Attenweiler describes the show, which debuted last June as part of Brooklyn's Comic Book Theater Festival, as a mix of traditional stagecraft and animated motion comics. According to The New York Times, the play proved to be the high point of the fest: "an oasis of psychological complexity," which "buoyed the festival, albeit in a melancholy way." Both guys say the play also serves as a tip of the hat to Cleveland's legendary graphic novelist Harvey Pekar. "We owe an enormous debt to Pekar," says Henkle. "He freed up comic book writers to talk about the personal stuff." This weekend, Attenweiler and Henkle are hosting three performances of Our Greatest Year at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights. (Thursday's performance is already sold out, but tickets likely remain for tonight and Saturday.) "We figured if a New York audience could get behind a story of Cleveland's suffering, maybe Cleveland would like it even better," chuckles Attenweiler, who shares writing credit with Henkle, a fellow John Carroll University grad. Reprising their roles from 2011 are Eric Slater as the young husband Harvey, Rebecca Benhayon as his wife Elton, director Anna Brenner, and animator Jay Tekus. Joining the writers after tonight's show for a talkback session is Cleveland native Scott Raab, a fellow sports sufferer and author of The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James. Should be a fun night. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 on the website. — Cicora
2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6838, ourgreatestyear.com.