- Brooding dude: Stanley contemplates life and stuff in A Streetcar Named Desire.
John Woodson, director of Porthouse Theatre's production of A Streetcar Named Desire, doesn't see the point in messing with a classic. Besides, how would some of Tennessee Williams's 1940s-specific conditions and conventions -- like morally fragile characters and sexy jazz music -- adapt to modern times? "It's sort of a historical piece," he says. "It doesn't make any sense to update it. You lose so many important things about how people lived and thought about each other." When the material's this good, Woodson says, the play practically stages itself. "The history precedes it. But there are so many elements that make it a relentless piece of theater. A lot of the action is continuous, so they all sort of tumble onto each other." Streetcar pulls into Porthouse Theatre (at Blossom Music Center, 1145 Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls) Thursday through July 17. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets range from $17 to $23. For more information, call 330-672-3884. -- Michael Gallucci
Music for Young Farts
Think you know the Blossom Festival Band? Guess again, says conductor Loras John Schissel. "It's not for old farts," he says. "Although we like our old farts. They're nice people. But it's not old-fart music." This weekend's gas-free concerts, Salute to America, include patriotic fare both typical ("The Star-Spangled Banner") and not-so-typical (Gardell Simon's "Atlantic Zephyrs"). "[We have] sonic booms and the songs of the various armed forces," Schissel says. "I think the band has as much fun as the audience." It all concludes with a fireworks display accompanied by Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." Expect plenty of dancing and flag-waving, Schissel says. "It's music for the feet, not for the head." Show time is 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corner Road in Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets range from $17 to $25, available by calling 216-231-1111. -- Diane Sofranec
Kent's Bluestones get the summer partying started at Downtown at Dusk, Akron Art Museum's 20th edition of its annual blues and jazz fest. The two-hour concerts take place one block east of the museum every Thursday through August 19, with a lineup that includes the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra (July 29) and Joe Bell & the Swing Lizards (August 12). Gourmet picnic dinners will be on sale from such local restaurants and caterers as the Mustard Seed Market Café, Northside, and Bricco. It happens 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays at Summit Art Space, 700 East Market Street in Akron. Admission is free; call 330-376-9185. -- Cris Glaser