Fall Arts & Entertainment Preview: Theater

Woody Sez: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie

Sept. 13-Oct. 6, Allen Theatre, clevelandplayhouse.com

He may have written songs such as "This Land Is Your Land" and influenced musicians like Bruce Springsteen, but in this theatrical look at the life of Woody Guthrie (which features more than 25 of his legendary tunes), you'll see the struggle and pain that led to the making of the man known as America's greatest folk singer.

Time Stands Still

Sept. 6-Oct. 6, Dobama Theatre, dobama.org

This emotional play follows the lives of Sarah and James, a photojournalist and foreign correspondent who fall in love before covering a Middle Eastern conflict. After their time in the war zone, the couple must deal with their changed relationship following their return home to Brooklyn. "It's a really true and genuine representation of a relationship in the 21st century," says director Nathan Motta.

33 Variations

Oct. 11-Nov. 17, Beck Center for the Arts, beckcenter.org

Musicologist Katherine Brandt is determined to study the last stages of Beethoven's life before she succumbs to Lou Gehrig's disease in this Tony Award-nominated piece. Written by The Laramie Project's Moisés Kaufman, the play weaves together scenes of Beethoven and his struggles with hearing along with Brandt's search for meaning in one of the composer's most adventurous works.

Cannibal! The Musical

Oct. 18-Nov. 2, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, cvlt.org

Adapted from a script South Park mastermind Trey Parker created in his college years, this dark musical follows Alferd Packer, who was accused of cannibalism in the late 1800s. "It's obscure and bizarre enough that most theaters in the area won't do something like it," says director Drew Rothman. "We have a special space that allows us to do productions that might turn some people off."

Sleeping Beauty

Oct. 1-13, Palace Theatre, playhousesquare.org

You won't be dozing off during this gothic reboot of the classic fairy tale following a princess cursed to sleep for 100 years. Set mostly in the Edwardian era, award-winning choreographer and director Matthew Bourne and his New Adventures dance company give Aurora a jolt when she wakes up in modern times.

Doug is a D-Bag

Nov. 29-Dec. 14, Cleveland Public Theatre, cptonline.org

It's only proper etiquette to silence your cellphone when entering a theater. But this interactive play from local writer and director Renee Schilling will make you think differently about how we communicate. Her comical look at a modern workplace and its procedure (things heat up with an office romance) lets audience members take part in technology sensitivity training. "It's going to be a great office party," says Schilling.

Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Holiday Bash

Dec. 5-21, Weathervane Playhouse, weathervaneplayhouse.com

Hear Christmas songs such as "Silver Bells" and hits like "Love and Marriage" by Ol' Blue Eyes. "The show will bring back happy memories for those who knew the [Frank] Sinatra era," says director Jacqi Loewy. "For the younger crowd, it will work in the same way that Mad Men appeals to the generations who weren't there."

While You're There

Theater District

Collaborative artists Kahn & Selesnick bring their surreal photographs and prints to the Cleveland State University Art Gallery with Truppe Fledermaus and the Carnival at the End of the World on display through Oct. 12.

1307 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-687-2103, csuohio.edu/artgallery

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