LAUGH OR CRY Spotlighters (817 St. Paul St.,  752-1225) hosts Murder with a Clue April 9 and 10, an audience participation-centered improv murder mystery. The next night, Drop Three drops by for its monthly comedy show. Baltimore Improv Group's April Fools Show hits nine days late at the Mobtown Theater at Clipper Mill (3600 Clipper Mill Road,  745-8393, bigimprov.org) on April 10. And . . . the itsy bitsy spider. . . avoids capitalization at Theatre Project (45 W. Preston St.,  752-8558, theatreproject.org) April 8-11. This Dostoevsky-inspired performance is, unsurprisingly, about a man's inner turmoil.
JUST DANCE University of Maryland, Baltimore County presents its senior dance concert April 9 and 10 at the Fine Arts Studio 317 (1000 Hilltop Circle,  455-6240, umbc.edu). The Ballet Theatre of Maryland shows its highlights reel live in a Director's Choice Repertoire Aug. 10 and 11 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts (801 Chase St., Annapolis,  224-5644, balletmaryland.org). Three pieces of choreography will make world premieres at this event.
OPENING April 7-May 9 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom makes itself at home at CenterStage 700 N. Calvert St.,  332-0033, centerstage.org). And CenterStage's concert reading series gets started with after the quake April 8-11. Frank Galati adapted this play from a short story by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami; it will be read by seated actors with no set or costumes. The Phantom of the Opera is there April 8-May 2 at the Hippodrome (12 N. Eutaw St.,  837-7400, france-merrickpac.com) as opposed to inside your mind as the lyrics in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical suggest. And the Iron Crow Theatre Company kicks off its very existence with In Durang's Shorts at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church (811 Cathedral St.,  468-4837, ironcrowtheatre.com) April 8-17. The proceeds from this collection of short plays and sketches goes to Moveable Feast. And Theatre Morgan brings Spunk, an Obie-winning musical anthology of Zora Neale Hurston's folk tales, to the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center (2201 Argonne Drive,  885-3625, murphyfineartscenter.org) April 8-18.
LAST CHANCEEleemosynaryand its intentionally difficult to spell name leaves the Fells Point Corner Theatre (251 S. Ann St.,  276-7837, fpct.org) after the April 11 show.