Our summer of discontent: Richard III at Stan Hywet Hall
Ohio Shakespeare Festival continues its tenth summer season at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens with The Tragedy of King Richard III. While rarely performed, the play is generally considered one of ol' Will's finest: an almost archetypal portrait of a bad guy as ugly within as he is without. Artistic director Terry Burgler (pictured) tackles the title role; joining him on the boards is the largest OSF company ever assembled. The play previews on Thursday, July 28 (all seats $12), opens on July 29, and continues through August 14 with performances Thursdays through Sundays. A Greenshow at 7:30 features period song and dance; curtain is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $30 at 330-673-8761 or online at ohioshakespeare.com. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is at 714 North Portage Path in Akron. — Elaine T. Cicora
Grand Hotel: See review in this issue. Through July 30 at the Cleveland Play House's Brooks Theatre, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $18, available online at mercurysummerstock.com or by calling 216-771-5862. Carpool with four or more friends on Wednesday, July 27, and pay only $10 each.
Hairspray: Standout performances and multiple showstoppers make this Beck Center production worthy of its standing ovation. (Christine Howey) Through August 14 at the Beck Center's Mackey Stage, 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Tickets are $10 to $28, available at 216-521-2540 or online at beckcenter.org.
Hello Dolly: Kent State's outdoor summer theater ends its 43rd season with this iconic Broadway musical, here starring artistic director Terri Kent in the role of Dolly Levy, under the direction of Victoria Bussert. July 28 through August 14 at Porthouse Theatre on the grounds of Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $17 to $33, available by calling 330-929-4416 or online at porthousetheatre.com.
Imagine Home: Young performers from Cleveland Public Theatre's celebrated Student Theatre Enrichment Program return to Cleveland city parks this week with their orginal play. The urban teen ensemble explores issues of identity, family, and sense of self-worth in a production inspired by Henrik Ibsen's classic Peer Gynt. Packed with action, dancing, and a cappella singing, the show premieres on Thurday, July 28, at Herman Park, at West 58th St. and Herman Ave.; performances continue at various city parks through August 7. Free. For a full schedule of venues and performances, visit cptonline.org or call 216-631-2727.
Love's Labours Lost: Under the direction of Celeste Cosentino, Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy has been radically abridged and gender reversed. Performed in repertory with Othello, through August 7. Free at various venues. See cleveshakes.org.
Othello: The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival "does a respectable job with the bard's iconic tragedy. Featuring some strong work in the leads and snappy pacing by director Aaron D. Elersich, this production manages to overcome some sketchy acting elsewhere." (Howey) Performed in repertory with Love's Labours Lost.Free, in various venues through August 6. For more information, go to cleveshakes.org.