Michael Stanley Superstar: The Unauthorized Biography of the Cuyahoga Messiah --
Mike Polk (right) renders a wonderfully nuanced performance in Michael Stanley Superstar.
When Satan himself presents the opportunity to be world-renowned, fledgling rocker Michael Stanley avers that he'd be satisfied with just being famous in Ohio -- more specifically Northeast Ohio, the area from Brunswick to Willoughby to Sheffield Lake. That's one of the many comedic high points in Michael Stanley Superstar, a loose, energetic, and frequently hilarious faux profile of the Cleveland (and nowhere else) rock legend. The Last Call crew traces Stanley's richly fictionalized career in both live scenes and manufactured video clips: Stanley was born in 1948 in Cleveland ("home to more than 800 people"), where his hardscrabble family was forced to live in a Tyco plastic playhouse for most of his youth. But once in high school, our hero joins three geek musicians so they can pound out "hard-hittin', no-quittin', girl-gittin' rock and roll." Mike Polk, wearing the worst fake beard ever devised, plays Stanley with just the right amount of dazed earnestness. The show's many knowing Cleveland references, plus some knock-off MSB musical accompaniment and a relentlessly outrageous script, make it irresistible. Presented by Last Call Cleveland on Friday, January 21, at the Cleveland Black Box Theater, 1210 West Sixth Street, 216-696-4242. -- Christine Howey