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On Stage This Week 

Theater? Theater.

Hairspray at Beck Center:

Holding Strong

The figures aren't in yet — but it looks like Hairspray is poised to break Beck Center's box-office records. "We're playing to almost-full houses every night," says marketing director Kathleen Caffrey. "So far, so good. It's been a wonderful run." Directed by Scott Spence and starring Kevin Joseph Kelly in the key role of Edna Turnblad, Beck's production of the award-winning Broadway musical offers a "powerful cast that glitters in even small moments" says Scene critic Christine Howey. But it still isn't the Beck's official bestseller. That distinction goes to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. "Two blockbusters in one season," mulls Caffrey, "I think we're catching on!" Tickets for this week's final performances are $10 to $28; call 216-521-2540 or visit beckcenter.org. The center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. — Elaine T. Cicora

Hello Dolly: Kent State's outdoor summer theater ends its 43rd season with this iconic Broadway musical. Unfortunately, some of the fun is undercut by simplistic characterizations, including artist director Terri Kent in the pivotal role of Dolly Levi. (Howey) Through August 14 at Porthouse Theatre, 1145 W. Steels Corners Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $17 to $33; call 330-929-4416 or visit porthousetheatre.com.

Show Boat: Mercury Summer Stock brings its 2011 season to an ambitious close with a Broadway classic. Directed by Pierre-Jacques Brault and featuring Actors Equity member Brian Keith Johnson as the "Ol' Man River"-belting Joe, Show Boat sets sail August 12 and continues through August 27 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Adult admission is $18; get tickets at mercurysummerstock.com or by calling 216-771-5862.

The Tragedy of King Richard III: Ohio Shakespeare Festival concludes its tenth season at Stan Hywet Hall with this rarely performed gem, generally considered one of ol' Will's finest. Artistic director Terry Burgler tackles the title role; joining him is the largest OSF company ever assembled. Through August 14 at 714 North Portage Path in Akron. Tickets are $15 to $30 at 330-673-8761 or at ohioshakespeare.com.

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