Cleveland Public Theatre
Survival of the WittiestAn early contender for the year's Most Enjoyable and Engrossing 70 Minutes, Darwinii: The Comeuppance of Man is a one-man tour de force, spinning you through a funny and thought-provoking story involving Charles Darwin, his still (!) controversial ideas, and the dangers of getting up in somebody's niche. As dense and rich as Paula Deen's Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake, this delicious piece of theater is conceived, written, and directed by Glen Berger and its sole actor, Brett Keyser, who turns in a remarkable performance as Cristobel, the apparent great-great-great-great-bastard grandson of Darwin. The show continues through March 19 at Cleveland Public Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-631-2727 or online at cptonline.org. — Christine Howey
A Steady Rain: A routine call sends two flawed cops on a journey that will change their lives forever. When the friends are forced to offer their differing accounts of that night's disturbing events, the audience becomes the jury. Through March 20 at Dobama Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $25, available at 216-932-3396 or dobama.org. The Dobama Theatre is at 2340 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights.
God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse: Karamu House brings James Weldon Johnson's poetic classic to the stage by way of the fire-and-brimstone teachings of seven galvanizing preachers, accompanied by soul-stirring singing, thunderous dancing, and biblical verses — all woven together into a hand-clapping, foot-stomping spiritual celebration. March 18 through April 10 at Karamu, 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $25 to $30 at 216-795-7077. Go to karamuhouse.org for more information.
Flanagan's Wake: A zany blend of 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; call 216-241-6000 or visit playhousesquare.org.
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. Through March 27. Tix are $28. Call 216-521-2540 or go to beckcenter.org. The Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.
My Name Is Asher Lev: Where does a young artist draw the line between his family's expectations and the need to fulfill his inner genius? When does self-expression trump religious tradition? That's the territory explored in this story of an Hasidic Jew struggling to actualize his creative mojo. Through April 3 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets start at $46; call 216-795-7000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com.
Valparaiso: The troupe at Convergence-Continuum begins its tenth season with the darkly comic story of an "average Joe" who tries to make sense of his life by throwing himself beneath the spotlight of celebrity. In the process, the play becomes a look at how our needs and desires are shaped by the forces of broadcast technology. Nothing is allowed to be unseen. Nothing remains unsaid. And everything melts repeatedly into something else, as if driven by the finger on the TV remote. March 18 through April 16 at the Liminus, 2438 Scranton Rd. Tickets are $12 to $15 at 216-687-0074 or online at convergence-continuum.org.