OFF TO THE RACES

The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley’ presents its annual Night at the Races fundraiser from 5-10 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. Guests are invited to enjoy a night of dinner, racing and blackjack to help support the United Way’s mission to improve the health, education and financial stability of those living in the Upper Ohio Valley. Doors open at 5 p.m., followed by a buffet starting at 5:30 p.m. Attendees can test their luck with the Greyhound races, and at 7 p.m., blackjack kicks off. Each player who receives a blackjack will be entered into a prize drawing. New to the event this year, attendees can “cash” in their winnings for fun prizes at the end of the night. Tickets are $35 each and must be purchased in advance online through Eventbrite or by calling 304-232-4625

KING & COUNTRY

Grammy award-winning King & Country, comprised of Aussie-born and Nashville-raised brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, will bring their soaring melodies and driving rhythms to The Capitol Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30. Special guest is Josh Baldwin. Tickets available here.

BLACK MUSIC IN AMERICA

As part of the Wheeling 250 celebration, the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission, Wheeling Heritage and the YWCA Wheeling will host A History of Black Music, a journey through the history and contributions of black music in America. This free event, set for 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the Capitol Theatre Ballroom, will focus on the African-American influence on the musical genres of our country. Starting with negro spirituals, it will follow the creative road map from jazz to blues, rock and roll to hip-hop and other genres between. Hosted by Ron Scott Jr., the program includes musical clips, local historical information and live performances from local artists including Candi Gardner, Keith Creighton, James D Watts Sr., Ezra John, Lonnette Walker, Reggie Watkins, LaRon Carroll, Voices of Praise and Mr. Fancy Pants.

STEP RIGHT UP

Experience the eighth annual Wheeling Polka Festival, Friday, March 29, through Sunday, March 31, at Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge featuring live entertainment by the area’s most acclaimed polka performers, dancing and delicious homemade Polish fare. For a full lineup of events, visit the Facebook event page.

DEEP STATE

Music from Beatles to Winehouse will be featured from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, March 30, as Undo’s Elm Grove presents the eclectic sounds of the Deep State band, a group that specializes in familiar yet not-often-performed popular songs with unusual instrumentation, including a clarinet.

Deep State is, from left: Ray Morgan (guitar, vocals), Rick Call (guitar, clarinet, vocals), Vera Barton-Maxwell (vocals, percussion), Barry Roth (drums, vocals) and Butch Maxwell (bass, harmonica, vocals).

WHAT THE ‘ELLE’?

Monarch Company will present Legally Blonde, The Musical at the John Marshall High School Center for Performing Arts Friday, March 29, through Sunday, March 31, as the 2018-19 season finale. Based on the hit movie, the show is an invigorating gift of musical fun, wrapped up with a snappy pink bow. Elle Woods is the southern California co-ed cutie who is accustomed to getting what she wants. When her boyfriend, Warner, calls it off because she is not serious about her future, Elle turns her attention from fashion to the books and enrolls in Harvard Law School. Along the way, Elle proves that kindness and compassion never go out of style. Performances are at 7 p.m. March 29 and March 30, and at 2 p.m. March 31. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 304-843-4444, extension 160.

 MY BIG FAT REALITY WEDDING

Come to River City for a night of food, drinks and fun, from 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 29, as Mystery Theatre Unlimited presents “My Big Fat Reality Wedding or Say Died to the Bride.” $40 per person/$75 per couple. Proceeds benefit GROW (Greenhouse Retail Operations at Watch). 304-232-1750.

DANCING ON A DREAM

Oglebay Institute will bring The Dancing Wheels Company to the Ohio Valley for “Dancing On a Dream,” a public concert featuring some of president and founding artistic director Mary Verdi-Fletcher’s favorite works from the last decade.  The show is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the John Marshall High School auditorium. Free and open to the public. Pre-register online or call 304-242-7700.

ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA

The Road to WrestleMania stops at WesBanco Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30, with your favorite WWE Superstars from RAW and SmackDown Live! See AJ Styles, The Miz, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, The New Day and many more. Tickets start at $15.

CHEERS TO SPAIN

It’s been a while since Good Mansion Wines’ wine tastings have touched base with the world’s most carpeted wine country — where more acreage is dedicated to wine than anywhere else. The evening will start with a sparkling Cava and some whites and then take a broad sampling of red Rioja, Priorat and others. Wines will be served with Spanish cheeses and French baguettes. $15 at the door, no reservations needed. www.goodmansionwines.com

HERE US R.O.A.R.

The Sexual Assault Help Center presents R.O.A.R. — Rock Out Against Rape — an evening of fun, music, food, a silent auction and more, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at River City Restaurant. Music by Hit Play. All proceeds benefit children and adult victims of sexual violence. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

ART THERAPY

Oglebay Institute’s “The Art of Healing” Lecture Series continues at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at the Stifel Fine Arts Center, when a panel of art therapists will discuss the healing benefits of using art to cope with illness. The program is free and open to the public. Panelist include: Susan Ridley, assistant professor of creative arts therapy at West Liberty University’s College of Arts and Communication; Amy Rodgers Smith, director of undergraduate music therapy and assistant professor at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and School of Music; and Bianca Benson, art therapist for Ron Mulholland Juvenile Center in Wheeling. Guests will also have an opportunity to explore the multi-media exhibit “The Art of Healing” on display in the galleries through April 19. The exhibit includes drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and written word from artists from throughout the United States and explores various ways art can be used in the healing process. 304-242-7700; www.OIonline.com

LUNCH WITH BOOKS

  • A special Thursday edition of Lunch With Books is set for noon, Thursday, March 28. Titled Wheeling’s First Suburb: The Oldest Homes and Earliest Residents of North Wheeling, the program will feature Professor Dan Bonenberger of Eastern Michigan University. He will explain how he and his students have been combining digital technologies with traditional field and archival research techniques to identify the oldest buildings in the neighborhood and trace the history of their owners and occupants. The team has already identified about 60 homes in North Wheeling that likely date to 1850 or earlier. Their work for the Historic Landmarks Commission and State Historic Preservation Office continues through the spring of 2019.
  • Boat Building, Wheeling’s First Major Industry, is the topic of Lunch With Books, at noon, Tuesday, April 2, at the Ohio County Public Library. Author John Bowman will offer an overview of the Zane’s founding of Wheeling in 1769 and Wheeling’s boat building industry that began in 1774. Wheeling’s boatyards were the first boatyards on the Ohio River. Wheeling built the first successful steamboat, the Washington, in 1815, and would go on to build 225 steamboats, the last being the City of Wheeling steamboat completed in 1900. Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch, and complimentary beverages are provided. 304-232-0244; www.ohiocountylibrary.org

‘BEAUTIFUL BOY’

Best-selling author David Sheff, who wrote the memoir, “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,” will be the guest lecturer at West Liberty University’s Hughes Lecture at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 28. His talk will offer a personal look at America’s drug crisis and will take place in College Hall. The heartbreaking story was made into a film starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. The lecture will be followed by a book signing in the Boyle Conference Center.

A WATERCOLOR WALK THROUGH WHEELING

Wheeling Heritage will host an opening reception for “A Walk Through Wheeling,” a watercolor exhibit by Wheeling artist Jes Reger, from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Artisan Center, 1400 Main St. The exhibit, which will feature paintings of Wheeling architecture and sculptures, will run through April 25 on the third floor gallery. In celebration of Wheeling’s 250th anniversary, Reger has worked to tell Wheeling’s architectural story through many of these watercolor pieces. This exhibit includes landmarks such as the Professional Bridge and Suspension Bridge, as well as lesser-known spots such as the former O’Henry’s Bar on Rock Point Road. The Artisan Center gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DOWN THE ROAD …

• Wilson Lodge in Oglebay will be transformed into an antiques marketplace April 5-7 as Oglebay Institute presents its 65th annual Antiques Show and Sale. More than 50 dealers from 10 states will participate in the show. Guests can browse thousands of items including American, English, primitive and period furniture, American art, folk art, western art, pottery, quilts, jewelry, rugs, baskets, pewter, silver, glass, china, books and endless decorative items for both the period and modern home. 304-242-7272;  www.oionline.com 

UP THE ROAD …

  • Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s next performance of the WSO on the GO series, featuring Wheeling Symphony’s Jazz Quartet, is set for 7 p.m. Friday, March 29, at Leonardo’s Coffeehouse & Renaissance Coffee Roasting Co. in Steubenville. The WSO on the GO ensemble features musicians Jeff Mangone, Curtis Johnson, Jack DiIanni and Eli Lambie. This concert is free and open to the public. www.wheelingsymphony.com
  • Watch Wheeling native Michelle Duffy in her CLO debut as Millicent in “The Double-Threat Duo” now through April 28 at the CLO Cabaret in Pittsburgh. To make it on Broadway, you have to sing, dance AND act — in other words, you must be a triple-threat. In a city of triple-threats, Nina, Kenny and Jamison are unemployable. Nina sings, but can’t act to save her life. Kenny dances, but can’t sing a note. And Jamison, a classically trained actor, can barely point his toes. But who needs reality when you’ve got a dream? Don’t miss this musical comedy about finding your friends and playing to your strengths.
  • Pittsburgh Public Theater presents Lucas Hnath’s Broadway hit, A Doll’s House, Part, 2, now through April 7, at the O’Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater’s home in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District. In this play, the playwright imagined a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. At the end of that groundbreaking play from 1879, the main character walks out on her overbearing husband and children. In A Doll’s House, Part 2, it’s 15 years later and Nora (Lisa Velten Smith) returns to demand that her husband, Torvald (Daniel Krell), officially divorce her. She also has showdowns with her now-grown daughter Emmy (Marielle Young), and the nanny Anne Marie (Helena Ruoti). 412-3161600; ppt.org
  • The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced the 2019-20 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh Season, which collectively boasts more than 30 Tony Awards. The shows coming to Pittsburgh include: The Band’s Visit, Mean Girls, A Bronx Tale, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and Escape to Margaritaville. Season specials include, Cats, Les Miserables, The Illusionists and Disney’s The Lion King. It has also been confirmed that Hamilton will return for the 2020-21 season; 2019-20 season ticket-holders who renew for the 2020-21 season will receive priority seating for the show. 412-456-1390; TrustArts.org/Broadway

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