PLANT YOURSELF AT TOWNGATE
Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre opens its 51st season of community theater with Paul Zindel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.” A story of perseverance and hope, it has been hailed as one of the most significant and affecting contemporary American plays. It will be staged for two weekends — Sept. 20-22 and 27-28. “Gamma Rays” tells the story of Beatrice, a bitter and domineering mother, and her two teenage daughters, the studious Tillie and the emotional Ruth. For tickets, call 304-242-7700 or visit www.oionline.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, if available.
The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s 90th season kicks off Friday, Sept. 20, with “Aretha: A Tribute,” which features vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw. Hear such favorites of the Queen of Soul as “Respect, “A Natural Woman, “Chain of Fools” and “Amazing Grace.” An opening night party precedes the concert, with tickets at $50 person. (Concert and party package, $65.) 304-232-6191. More information at the symphony’s website.
Third Friday makes its return to Artworks on Sept. 20 with Matt Hill and Aaron Carey presenting their latest collection of jazz, pop and classical music featuring the electric and classical guitar and flugelhorn. Accompanying them as a special guest drummer will be Ryan Hill from the Dream Big After School Music Program. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Artworks is located in the Historic Centre Market at 2200 Market St., Wheeling.
CRAFT BEER & PIZZA
Enjoy fall-inspired beers and delicious pizza from the Wood Fired Pizza Company at the Stifel Fine Arts Center’s Art & Ale craft beer tasting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. This is an outdoor tasting (weather permitting). The Stifel Fine Arts Center’s Hart Galleries will be open with the Pittsburgh Illustrators Guild art exhibition on display to browse. $30 ($26 OI members). 304-242-7700; www.oionline.com
A TASTE OF TUSCANY
Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Good Mansion Wines will offer up Sangiovese red wines from Tuscany — from Chianti to Vino Nobile to Brunello di Montalcino and more. Served with central Italian cheeses and French baguettes. $15 at the door, no reservations needed. Occupancy limited to 40. www.goodmansionwines.com
THROUGH THE DECADES
• Celebrate the ’70s, from 8-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in the Showroom at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. Wear your dancing shoes to boogie the night away with live music provided by the Boogie Fever Band. Wear your best ’70s attire for a chance to win prizes. $15. Tickets at the Wheeling Island Gift Shop or through Ticketmaster.
• Undo’s in Elm Grove will usher the summer season out in style – 1980s style – on Saturday, Sept. 21. Big hair, legwarmers and shoulder pads are not required, but encouraged as Undo’s End of Summer ’80s Party will feature a 1980s costume party and live music by the theatrical new-wave tribute band, The M-80s. Prizes will be awarded for best 1980s fashions. Costume judging will begin at 9 p.m. and continue throughout the evening. Starting at 10 p.m., the M-80s will play danceable power pop alternative rock made famous by the Cars, Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s, Blondie, Devo, the Pretenders, Talking Heads and others. Undo’s Elm Grove is located at 2153 National Road, Wheeling.
MEET THE MASTERS
The Strand Theatre presents an interactive exhibit featuring the work of Gussie Smith and her students from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Grisell Center for the Arts. The event will feature student interpretations of masterworks. Donations will be accepted at the door. The exhibit will be open to the public on Sunday afternoons from 1:30-3 p.m. from Sept. 29-Nov. 10. 304-233-3014
Mystery Theatre Unlimited begins its 24th season of original musical-comedy, murder-mystery, dinner-theater shows with the first all-new show in two years. “Popguy the Sailor Man,” will debut Thursday, Sept. 19, at River City Restaurant in Wheeling. In “Popguy the Sailor Man,” the 50th collaboration between writers Butch Maxwell and Bert Furioli, the iconic tough seafarer has disappeared. His hamburger-loving friend, Gimpy, has moved into his house, and his girlfriend, Olive Mohel, is about to marry his rival, Bruto. “Popguy” also will be performed on Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Nov. 7 at the Vue Bar and Grill in Grand Vue Park, Moundsville, and on Oct. 17 and Nov. 14 at River City. For reservations and information about performances at River City, call 304-233-4555; for the Vue, call 304-810-2778.
Join friends at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Eckhart House for a Downton Abbey Tea prior to the Downton Abbey movie. Call 304-232-5439 for reservations.
HERE COMES THE EXPO
You are cordially invited to attend the ninth annual Ohio Valley Bridal Expo from noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at WesBanco Arena. Brides will have the opportunity to meet with local wedding vendors, shop with local businesses and begin planning their special day. Prizes, giveaways and more. Brides can register www.ovbridal.com
LUNCH WITH THE DOCTOR
How West Virginia Transformed the Medical Profession will be presented by Dr. William Neal at noon, Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library. Neal, from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, will discuss the landmark Supreme Court case of Dent vs. W.Va., and how Wheeling’s Dr. James Reeves helped transform the medical practice into a legally recognized profession, as detailed in his book, “Quiet Advocate: Edward J. Van Liere’s Influence on Medical Education in West Virginia.” Dr. Neal will also discuss the WVU Museum of the Health Sciences, now under development. 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
A TOUR TO DIE FOR
Tour the historic Stone Church Cemetery with Friends of Wheeling from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22. Characters to be portrayed include: Dr. William A. Cracraft, Alice Reed Dickey, the Rev. James Hervey, Lucy Loring, Col. David Shepherd Milton, Daniel Steenrod, Judge George Western Thompson, Mary Waddle Vance and Ruth Jacob Woods. Shuttles will transport guests from the parking lots of Elm Grove United Methodist Church, 125 Kruger St., and St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church, 141 Kruger Street.
DOWN THE ROAD …
• Explore the rich cultural foods of Center and South Wheeling through a self-guided tour, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. Participants can experience the traditional foods that are still being produced by local religious and community organizations. Cultural Food Tour attendees will check in at the South Wheeling Preservation Alliance museum on 3501 Jacob St., and then visit the participating locations in any order. Tickets $20/children under 10 are free. RSVP here
• Oktoberfest returns to Centre Market from noon to 11 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, featuring live music, food vendors, and domestic and craft beer. Proceeds benefit the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley. Entertainment lineup includes: The Cherry Trio, noon; Jack Tady & the Tady Bears, 1:30-4 p.m.; Eli and the Mojo Kings, 4:30 p.m.; Pocket Change, 6:15 p.m.; Tim Ullum Band, 8 p.m.; and Hit Play, 9:45 p.m.
• Pianist, tap dancer, comedian and vocalist extraordinaire, Mark Nadler — a New York cabaret entertainer — will make a special one-show-only appearance Saturday, Sept. 28, at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center. Nadler’s “Cole Porter After Dark” show captures the essence of Porter’s witty and urbane scores with vibrant arrangements. Nadler’s performance is a tribute to Wheeling-born Joseph Holloway, a professional dancer and Nadler’s late partner who passed away in 1999. In addition to Nadler’s performance, the event will feature a presentation of one of Holloway’s works, “The Miracle of the Rose,” danced by Jennie Begley. Proceeds will launch the Joseph B. Holloway Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide area children financial assistance to attend Oglebay Institute’s School of Dance. Cocktail hour is at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. Purchase tickets ($75) online or by calling 304-242-7700.
• The Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra Bluegrass BBQ will be held from 2:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Hess Shelter, Oglebay Park. The annual fundraiser will feature music by local bands Brother Randall & Friends, Crandall Creek, Out of the Blue and Cabin Fever String Band. Barbecue food will be catered by Charlie Schlegel from Ye Ole Alpha. Tickets ($25 adults, $10 for children) can be purchased by calling 304-232-6191, via email at email@example.com or in person at the box office, 1025 Main St., Suite 811, Wheeling.
• Season tickets are on sale now for the Broadway at The Capitol season. The season begins Oct. 7 with “Beautiful, the Carole King Musical.” That is followed by “Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story,” on Feb. 21; “An American in Paris,” April 21, and “The Color Purple.” Two special shows, “Jersey Boys,” Oct. 23, and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” on Dec. 17, are also scheduled. 304-233-4470
UP THE ROAD …
• The Brooke Hills Playhouse production of Ken Ludwig’s award-winning comedy, “Lend Me a Tenor” opens this weekend, and will be staged at 8 p.m. Sept. 20-21 and 27-28 with 2 p.m. matinees Sept. 22 and 29. “Lend Me a Tenor” is set during a 1934 Cleveland Grand Opera production featuring the temperamental Italian tenor Tito Merelli in the lead role. A series of hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings put the performance, the opera company and Tito’s marriage in mortal danger before the inevitable happy ending. Reservations for “Lend Me a Tenor” are available by calling or texting the Playhouse at 304-737-3344.
• The Pittsburgh Public Theater presents “A Few Good Men,” through Oct. 13, at the O’Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh. For tickets, call 412-316-1600 or visit ppt.org. The cast of 19 includes professional actors as well as veteran members of the military. Former Pittsburgh Steeler and Vietnam vet Rocky Bleier and KDKA’s Larry Richert, will each appear as Judge Randolph at select performances.