Shrek Everyone's favorite ogre ambles into the Palace Theatre March 1 to 13 in a lively touring production from Dream Works Theatricals. Based on the original book and the movies that followed, Shrek the Musical stars Eric Petersen reprising his role from the Broadway production, and features book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole). The by-now familiar story finds Shrek and his gang of lovable misfits embarking on an adventure involving a fearsome dragon, a fiesty princess, and lessons in real friendship and true love. Happily, some tales just never lose their charm. Tickets are $10 to $75. Get yours at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.org. The Palace Theatre is at 1615 Euclid Ave. in Playhouse Square. — Elaine T. Cicora
A Steady Rain: A routine call sends two flawed cops on a journey that will change their lives forever. When the two friends are forced to offer their differing accounts of that night's disturbing events, the audience becomes the jury in this dramatic work by Keith Huff. Opening February 25; continues through March 20 at Dobama Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-932-3396 or dobama.org. The Dobama Theatre is at 2340 Lee Rd., in Cleveland Heights.
Flanagan's Wake: A zany blend of written dialogue and improvised laughs, this interactive show transforms the audience into guests at Flanagan's wake in the fictional Irish village of Grapplin. Through April 30 at Playhouse Square's Kennedy's Theatre 1511 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $20 to $23. Learn more by calling 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.org.
Free Man of Color: An historical drama presented by Ensemble Theatre in collaboration with Notre Dame College, Free Man of Color tells the story of John Newton Templeton, Ohio's first black college graduate in 1828. Through February 27 at 1857 South Green Rd. in S. Euclid. Tickets are $20, less for students and seniors. Call 216-321-2930.
Jerry Springer: The Opera: Strippers, whore mongers, and tap-dancing knights of the Ku Klux Klan populate this provocative satire now making its regional debut at the Beck Center. While controversial in this country — and definitely for mature audiences only — the British comedy won Best New Musical kudos when it opened in London in 2003; Beck Center's version survived an opening-night protest of its own. The show runs through March 27, with a post-show discussion of art and society set for February 25. Tix are $28, with discounts available for students and seniors. Call 216-521-2540 or go to beckcenter.org. The Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.
Rent/La Bohème: Baldwin-Wallace College takes an innovative approach by offering two great musicals — Puccini's opera La Bohème and its progeny, the Broadway musical Rent — in repertory now through February 27, under the direction of Victoria Bussert. Weeknights, the shows alternate at 7:30 p.m. On weekends, La Bohème is performed at 2 p.m. and Rent at 7:30 p.m., at the college's Kleist Center for Art & Drama. Tix are $25, or $45 on weekends for both shows. To order, call 440-826-2240. For directions and more information, go to bw.edu/quickfacts/directions/kleist.
Riverdance: Irish culture's greatest American achievement since happy-hour pints of Guinness, this dance showcase composed by Bill Whelan has logged some 10,000 performances since its 1996 Dublin debut. Now add two more to the list: Wednesday, February 23, and Thursday, February 24, at E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill Street in Akron. Tickets are $25-$55; go to ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.
The Trip to Bountiful: Director Timothy Douglas brings a new twist to Horton Foote's touching meditation on the notion of home and its power to sustain us: an African American cast starring veteran Broadway actress Lizan Mitchell. Through February 27 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $46 to $66, with discounts for seniors and students. Call 216-795-7000 or go to clevelandplayhouse.com.