Fall Arts & Entertainment Preview

The temperatures will start to drop any day. But the Lake Erie region’s arts-and-entertainment scene is just beginning to heat up. Calendars at theaters, concert halls and arenas are filling up with touring productions of plays that have earned Tony Awards and rave reviews on Broadway, as well as performances by local, regional, national and international artists. 
1. Obey the command that is the name of country superstar Luke Bryan’s 2015 tour — Kick the Dust Up — when it takes over FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Sept. 5. Florida Georgia Line, Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch are also on the bill. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
2. Laugh out loud at the humor of Kevin James. The comedian known for his portrayal of deliveryman Doug Heffernan on the hit sitcom “The King of Queens” — a man ranked on Comedy Central’s list of 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians — appears at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel Event Center in Niagara Falls, New York, on Sept 5. 716-299-1100, senecaniagaracasino.com. (For tickets, call 800-745-3000 or log on to ticketmaster.com)
3. “Stop! In the Name of Love” — and Diana Ross — at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino in Windsor, Ontario. The Detroit native will perform hits from her days with The Supremes as well as her own successful solo career in the resort’s Colosseum on Sept. 11. 800-991-7777, caesars.com/caesars-windsor
4. Help kick off the Folk in Fredonia Music Series at the Folk in Fredonia Free-For-All on Sept. 13 at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House in Fredonia, New York. Musicians from around the state provide an afternoon of great music and dance. 716-679-1891, fredopera.org
5. Find out what happens after a struggling murder-mysteries writer enlists an inexperienced-yet-enthusiastic real estate agent to sell his ailing father’s house in “Real Estate,” at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre in Port Stanley, Ontario. The comedy continues through Sept. 19. 519-782-4353, portstanleytheatre.ca   
6. Sing along to “Over the Rainbow” and other well-known tunes during “The Judy Garland Story.” The revue, at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover, Ontario, Sept. 15-19, takes audiences through the legendary performer’s life from age 2½ to her death at age 47 in 1969. 519-583-2221, lighthousetheatre.com
 7. Enjoy your last chance this season to indulge in a northeast Ohio tradition — a picnic on the lawn at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls — before two-time Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year Jason Aldean takes the stage on Sept. 19. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

8. Attend the inaugural Lake Erie Arts & Film Festival Sept. 17-20 in Sandusky, Ohio. The event kicks off at the Sandusky State Theatre with a screening of “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael,” a 1990 comedy-drama set in nearby Clyde, Ohio, and written by Youngstown, Ohio, native Karen Leigh Hopkins. Winona Ryder stars as a misfit teen who believes a local woman-turned-Hollywood movie star is the mother who gave her up for adoption. “Miss Manners,” a 2014 drama written and directed by Hopkins that stars Toledo, Ohio, native Katie Holmes, is on the next day’s schedule. 419-626-1347, lakeeriefilm.org
9. Head to the Motor City to see two iconic rock/pop acts. Madonna returns to her home turf on Oct. 1 with a stop on her Rebel Heart Tour at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. The Who, currently on their The Who Hits 50! Tour, follow on Oct. 17. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
10. Marvel at the magnificent voice of international opera superstar Renee Fleming as she joins the Cleveland Orchestra on Oct. 3 for a gala evening at Severance Hall in Cleveland. The program includes excerpts from Richard Strauss’s “Capriccio” as well as waltzes and songs by Johann Strauss Jr. and Franz Lehar. 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com
 11. Blush at the jokes told by Margaret Cho, a woman for whom “nothing is too private for a punch line,” according to a New York Times headline. The comedian appears at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Ohio, on Oct. 4. 330-908-7625, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com (For tickets, call 800-745-3000 or log on to ticketmaster.com.)
12. Gaze upon the ever-blooming gardens depicted in paintings by Claude Monet and his contemporaries in “Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse” at the Cleveland Museum of Art from Oct. 11 through Jan. 5, 2016. The show, organized by the museum and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, examines the garden theme’s evolution in the works of Impressionists, post-Impressionists and avant-garde artists of the early 20th century. Note: Timed tickets are required. 216-421-7340, clevelandart.org
13. Admire 11 of Edgar Degas’ most important ballet-themed works at “Degas and the Dance” at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, from Oct. 15 through Jan. 10. The exhibit includes the bronzes “Little Dancer of Fourteen Years” and “Study in Nude of Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” as well as the pastel “The Dancers.” 419-255-8000, toledomuseum.org
14. Discover bold, innovative forms of artistic expression by taking in Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Oct. 16 performance at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. The renowned troupe was founded in 1969 as a way to bring discipline and focus to the lives of challenged young people via training in classical ballet. 716-847-1410, sheas.org (For tickets, call 800-745-3000 or log on to ticketmaster.com.)
 15. Explore issues of racial, political, historical and gender identity at “30 Americans,” an exhibit of contemporary African-American art at the Detroit Institute of Art from Oct. 18 through Jan. 18. The show consists of 70-plus paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and videos by some of the most important African-American artists of the past 30 years, including Kerry James Marshall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker and Nick Cave. 313-833-7900, dia.org
16. See the play on which the 1964 Audrey Hepburn movie classic “My Fair Lady” is based. The venerable Shaw Festival’s production of Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” in which a linguistics professor accepts a bet that he can transform a flower girl into a duchess, runs through Oct. 24 at the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. 800-511-7429, shawfest.com 
17. Check out the Niagara Symphony Orchestra’s new home, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. The orchestra opens its 2015-2016 season on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with a rare performance of all five Beethoven piano concerti by artist-in-residence Stewart Goodyear. 905-688-5550, Extension 3257, niagarasymphony.com
18. Take your favorite little (or big) girl to see “Matilda the Musical” at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, Nov. 3-8. The Tony Award-winning play, based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, tells the story of a bright little girl who finds the courage to stand up to her parents as well as the cruel headmistress at her school and change her destiny. 716-847-1410, sheas.org (For tickets, call 800-745-3000 or log on to ticketmaster.com.)
19. Chuckle at the antics of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune, as you catch the musical comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” at the Connor Palace Theatre in Cleveland Nov. 3-15. The main character decides to jump the line of succession by eliminating the eight relatives who stand in his way, at the same time juggling his mistress and fiancée. 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org
20. Learn about the athletic shoe’s history and cultural significance at “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at the Toledo Museum of Art from Dec. 3 through Feb. 28, 2016. The exhibit, curated by the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, surveys the footwear’s evolution from its first 1830s versions to today’s high-tops. 419-255-8000, toledomuseum.org
21. Celebrate a Toledo Ballet milestone: the company’s 75th-anniversary staging of “The Nutcracker” — the longest-running annual production of the ballet in the United States — Dec. 12-13 at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo, Ohio. 419-381-8851, toledoballet.net
22. Give the gift of wonder and amazement by taking the family to a performance of “Cirque Dreams: Holidaze,” at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Dec. 22-27. The show, which unfolds in a series of vignettes, includes gingerbread men flipping through the air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, penguins spinning, reindeer soaring and more. 855-305-4873, detroittheater.org
23. Ring in 2016 with “A Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber Concert” on Dec. 31 at the Erie Playhouse in Erie, Pennsylvania. The event is a tradition featuring the playhouse’s finest vocalists and musicians. 814-454-2852, erieplayhouse.org
24. Embark on a nostalgic trip through “Roadside America: Through the Lens of John Margolies,” a photographic exhibit of quirky, drive-by architecture on display through Jan. 24 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The images feature everything from a motel sign with a rocket that appears to launch from it to a mattress store with a sign in the shape of an airplane that forever looks like it’s about to nosedive into the roof. 313-982-6001, thehenryford.org
25. Increase your appreciation of comic-book illustration at “Art of the Comic Book,” on display through Feb. 7 at the Erie Art Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania. Highlights include original pages by the likes of internationally known inkers Klaus Janson and Erie native John Totleben, both of whom have worked for Marvel and DC Comics, as well as “Spiderman” illustrator Steve Ditko. 814-459-5477, erieartmuseum.org