At Cleveland Play House
LombardiJust in time for football season, Cleveland Play House kicks off its 98th season with a new production of the Broadway hit Lombardi. Based on the book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss, the intimate and often hilarious work explores the life of the famous Green Bay Packers coach through his relationships with his wife, his players, and a determined young reporter who tries to penetrate the façade of one of football's most mercurial personalities. Bob Ari — seen last season at CPH in the role of Mark Rothko in Red — plays the title role. Lombardi begins in previews at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square on September 14 and continues in performance through October 7. Tickets are $49 to $69 at 216-241-6000 or online at clevelandplayhouse.com. The Allen Theatre is at 1407 Euclid Ave. — Elaine T. Cicora
The Motherfucker With the Hat: Dobama Theatre launches it 53rd season with a real mouthful: the dark, raucous comedy The Motherfucker With a Hat. Even without Broadway co-star Chris Rock in a supporting role, this verbal knock-down about love, fidelity, addiction, and the importance of keeping track of one's personal belongings promises plenty of fireworks. Penned by veteran playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Little Flower of East Orange, In Arabia We'd All Be Kings), the play debuted in NYC in 2011 to mixed reviews — several of which noted Rock's "light weight" theatrical chops. Still, it earned six Tony Award nominations before going on to the regional-theater circuit. Dobama's production is helmed by associate artistic director Diane Boduszek. The curtain rises on September 13 for a preview performance. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and select Sundays, and 2:30 p.m. on the remaining Sundays. Performances continue through October 7 at 2340 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $26 at 216-932-3396 or at dobama.org.
Xanadu: Beck Center for the Arts rolls out its new season with the locally produced premier of Xanadu, the retro Broadway musical that explores the intimate connections between ancient Greece and 1980s roller disco. We think Beck's director Scott Spence sums it up best: "Xanadu is a barrage of roller-skate wheels, disco balls, and the best of 1980s cheese — music and all." Yum. Performances are set for Thursday, September 13, through Sunday, October 14, on the Mackey Main Stage; that's at 17801 Detroit Rd. in Lakewood. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $10 to $28 at 216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org.