1. August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
In this powerful August Wilson play, set in Chicago in 1927, tensions and temperatures rise in a music studio when fiery, intrepid blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a fraught recording session. She is a black woman determined to control her art and her life on her own terms. As egos and generational ideologies collide, heated conflict ensues between all those present who grapple with the complexities of racism and artistic exploitation.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” runs through February 12 at Cincinnati Shakespeare Co., 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Start times are 19:30 Friday and Saturday. All ticket holders must be able to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status or have a negative test to enter, and are required to wear face masks securely over their nose and mouth while inside. Tickets cost $14-$68.513-381-2273; cincyshakes.com.
Founded in 1970, the Philadelphia Dance Company was founded out of a need to provide performances for black dancers who were systematically denied access to many local dance schools and had even fewer professional outlets. Philadanco has since grown into a professional company recognized across the country and around the world for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers and captivating performances.
It’s been 10 years since their last visit to Cincinnati. Catch this legendary dance company Friday and Saturday at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. Showtime is 8pm every night. Tickets cost $40-$53. All ticket holders age 12 and older are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. cincinnatiarts.org.
3. Cincinnati Pops: Cirque Goes Broadway
Dizzying heights and Broadway lights come together for a captivating Pops and Cirque mashup. Marvel at the dazzling performance of Cirque’s mesmerizing acrobats with John Morris Russell and the Pops performing the best Broadway hits to accompany contortionists, balancers, bottlenose dolphins and athletes on airside that defies gravity and does the seemingly impossible.
It takes place this weekend at Music Hall (1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine). Start times are 19:30 Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Please note that all guests, staff and volunteers must wear masks at all times in Music Hall, regardless of vaccination status. All ticket holders aged 12 and older are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. cincinnatisymphony.org.
4. Bigger Renovation Expo in Cincinnati
If the cold weather has you craving a hot tub or more energy-efficient windows, do yourself a favor and head to the Sharonville Convention Center for the Greater Cincinnati Remodeling Expo for the next two weekends. You can see innovative displays showcasing the latest trends in design and product offerings, and talk to local experts about everything from kitchen and bathroom renovation, roofing, flooring and home security to water treatment, insulation, windows and the latest landscaping options, all in one convenient location.
The expo is open from 12:00 to 19:00 Friday, 10am-7pm Saturday and 10.30am-5pm Sunday. Sharonville Convention Center is located at 11355 Chester Road. Admission is $5, free ages under 18. Free parking. homeshowcenter.com.
5. “Bonnie and Clyde”
At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small towns to America’s most famous folk heroes and the worst nightmares of the Texas police. Fearless, shameless and alluring, this Tony-nominated piece is the thrilling tale of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country.
“Bonnie and Clyde” opens Friday at the Stained Glass Theater, 802 York St., Newport. Start times are 19:30 Friday Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Performances run through February 6. Tickets are $23. All guests 12 years and older are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of showtime by a credible testing venue with the guest’s name attached. Results from home test kits will not be accepted. 859-652-3849; footlighters.org.
Honorable Mention: Cincinnati Boat, Sport & Travel Show
The Cincinnati Boat, Sport & Travel Show continues through Sunday at the Duke Energy Convention Center (525 Elm St., Downtown). From travel destinations to morel hunting and hunting dog training, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast. See Twiggy the water ski squirrel and take part in a turkey calling contest.
Hours are 3-9 pm Friday, 10am – 9pm Saturday, 10am-5pm Sunday. Tickets are $22 for a 2-day pass or $13 per day. 12-under free entry. cincinnatiboatsportandtravelshow.com.