At Cesear's Forum:
My Life With Cranky Pants
Playhouse Square's smallest resident professional theater company, Cesear's Forum concludes 2011 with a take on Joanna McClelland Glass' Trying. Set in 1967, the thoughtful two-person drama was inspired by the playwright's own experience as a fresh-faced secretary to the cantankerous 81-year-old Judge Francis Biddle, a towering legal mind best known as F.D.R.'s Attorney General and Chief Justice for the Nuremberg war crimes trial. Through witty, acerbic dialogue, the story reveals the many ways in which two people — at dramatically different stages in their lives — can affect each other deeply and forever. Directed by Greg Cesear, the Cleveland production features Glenn Colerider and Tricia Bestic. Performances continue on Fridays and Saturdays through December 10 at Kennedy's Down Under, 1501 Euclid Ave. (beneath the Ohio Theatre). Curtain is at 8 p.m., and all seats are $15. Snag yours at 216-241-6000 or at playhousesquare.org. — Elaine T. Cicora
The Game's Afoot (or Holmes for the Holiday): Cleveland Play House presents a world premiere by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig. A sprightly murder mystery/comedy, the action takes place in a Connecticut mansion on Christmas Eve, where homicide and hilarity ensue. November 25 through December 18 at the Allen Theatre, 1501 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $49 to $69, available at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.
The Internationalist: Convergence-Continuum completes its 2011 season with Anne Washburn's clever comedy for the age of globalization. November 25 to December 17 at the Liminis, 2438 Scranton Rd., in Tremont. Tickets are $10 to $15 at 216-687-0074 or convergence-continuum.org.
The Santaland Diaries: A Christmas tradition since 2005, David Sidaris' classic is presented November 25 through December 17 by Cleveland Public Theatre. Performances are at the 14th Street Theatre on Playhouse Square. Tickets are $20 to $30 at 216-241-6000 or cptonline.org; learn more in Get Out!
St. Nicholas: The calendar notwithstanding, this one-man show from 1998 is no cheery Christmas extravaganza. It's more like a scary bedtime story for grown-ups, relayed by a master raconteur: The tale of a tired, self-loathing Irish critic who abandons his family and follows a beautiful young dancer to London, only to fall under the spell of a crew of vampires. Through December 11 at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $20 at 216-321-2930 or online at ensemble-theatre.org.