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Hot Picks

Northeast Ohio produces more events each week than it would be possible to attend, even if you had a full-time maid, chef, and/or babysitter. Hot Picks: This Week’s Smart Stuff sorts through the lists of concerts, festivals, exhibits, plays, readings and all sorts of other events and pulls out a few that seem out-of-the-ordinary. There will be new things each week, with the list updating each Monday.

Even though we like to think of ourselves as “in the know,” there will always be things that escape our notice. Please feel free to make suggestions to (be aware, we make no promises and the final decision rests with us). Enjoy!


Brandi Carlile with Anderson East
Tuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m.
House of Blues, Cleveland

Brandi & the Firewatcher's Traveling Show makes a stop in Cleveland. An American alternative country and folk rock singer-songwriter, Carlile has released six albums including The Story, Give Up the Ghost and Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony, the last reaching number 14 on the Top Rock Albums chart. Carlile’s music through the years has been categorized in several genres, including pop, rock, alternative country, and folk. Carlile once quoted, "I've gone through all sorts of vocal phases, from pop to blues to R&B, but no matter what I do, I just can't get the country and western out of my voice."

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Steely Dan with special guest Elvis Costello and the Imposters
Tuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m.
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls

Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and helped define the soundtrack of the '70s with hits such as Reelin' in the Years, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, F.M., Peg, Hey Nineteen, Deacon Blues, and Babylon Sisters, culled from their seven platinum albums issued between 1972 and 1980 (including 1977's ground breaking "Aja"). Elvis Costello has followed his musical curiosity in a career spanning more than 30 years - experimenting with forms as diverse as rock to opera. Touring with The Imposters, Costello returns to his roots. Elvis Costello and The Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. During the same year he was awarded ASCAP's prestigious Founder's Award.

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'Footloose' the Musical
July 28 - 31
Huron Playhouse, McCormick School, Huron

When Ren McCormack and his mother are forced to move from cosmopolitan Chicago to a puritanical farming town, Ren is shocked to discover rock ‘n’ roll and dancing are banned. Against the odds of school authorities, the Town Council, and the powerful Reverend Shaw, Ren decides all this town needs is a big dance. What could go wrong? With new music and favorite hits from the 1984 film, Footloose will have your toes tapping and hips shaking in the aisles!

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The Summit County Fair
July 28 - Aug. 2
Summit County Fair Grounds, Tallmadge

Tractor pulls, livestock auctions, Bike Night, pig racing, a petting zoo, concerts and lots of 4-H contests - plus food, games and a performance by Jawga Boyz and American Idol finalist Danny Gokey.

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Downtown@Dusk: The Mostly Blues Band with Peggy Coyle
Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m.
Akron Art Museum, Akron

Peggy Coyle has been singing blues and jazz in top Akron area bands for 20 years. At home fronting big bands or duos, she makes any crowd feel like family. She can be found singing at weddings, finer night clubs, festivals, and more – including the National Anthem for the Akron Racers women's fastpitch team. Peggy performed weekly at Benito’s with the Mostly Blues Band.

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Ohio Shakespeare Festival presents 'Henry V'
July 30 - Aug. 16
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron

The play is set in England in the early fifteenth century. The political situation in England is tense: King Henry IV has died, and his son, the young King Henry V, has just assumed the throne. Several bitter civil wars have left the people of England restless and dissatisfied. Furthermore, in order to gain the respect of the English people and the court, Henry must live down his wild adolescent past, when he used to consort with thieves and drunkards at the Boar’s Head Tavern on the seedy side of London.

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Porthouse presents 'Hairspray'
July 30 - Aug. 16
Porthouse Theatre, Blossom Music Center

Plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad and her hometown of Baltimore are welcoming the 60s in the dance-filled musical 'Hairspray.' In this new era full of bouffant hair and great fashion, Tracy is determined to achieve her dream of dancing on 'The Corny Collins Show.' Her quest to be the newest dancer turns Tracy into a star and a social activist as she advocates for racial integration on the show, tries to dethrone the reigning Miss Teenage Hairspray, and looks for love with teen heartthrob Link Larkin. 'Hairspray,' winner of 8 Tony Awards, is a family friendly treat.

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Weathervane presents 'Peter Pan'
July 31 - Aug. 16
Weathervane Playhouse, Akron

Based on J.M. Barrie's classic tale and featuring an unforgettable score, 'Peter Pan' is one of the most beloved and frequently performed family favorites of all time. This high-flying Tony Award-winning musical has been performed around the world and delighted audiences for 60 years. Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and with a sprinkle of pixie dust begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget. In the adventure of a lifetime the travelers come face to face with a ticking crocodile, a fierce Indian tribe, a band of bungling pirates, and of course the villainous Captain Hook.

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The Blossom Festival: Barber and Bartok
Saturday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m.
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls

An evening of masterpieces. This special concert features musical masterworks and more. Beginning at 7 p.m., the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra plays music by Stravinsky. At 8 p.m., The Cleveland Orchestra takes the stage with a Dvo?ák tone poem and Barber's lyrical Violin Concerto with soloist James Ehnes. Then, both orchestras play Bartók’s fiery Concerto for Orchestra.

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The Beach Boys in Concert
Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m.
Cain Park, Cleveland Heights

Good vibrations return to the Evans Amphitheater stage this summer! The Beach Boys, often hailed as "America's Band" hold the record for most US Top 40 hits (36!). Over 80 songs have charted worldwide, and four have reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With over 100 millions record sold, The Beach Boys are one of the best-selling bands of all time. In addition to founding Beach Boy Mike Love (lead vocals) and Beach Boy-vet Bruce Johnston (vocals/keyboards)—Jeffrey Foskett (guitar/vocals), Randall Kirsch (bass/vocals), Tim Bonhomme (keyboards/vocals), John Cowsill of The Cowsills (percussion/vocals) and Scott Totten (guitar/vocals) —round out the band.

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