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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, - Abridged makes Titus Andronicus tolerable, - at Weathervane Playhouse (Friday).
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged makes Titus Andronicus tolerable, at Weathervane Playhouse (Friday).
Thursday, April 3

NPR's weekly quiz program Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me is filled with trivial information both enlightening (British spies were encouraged to sneak into German brothels and put itching powder in condoms during World War II) and frivolous (Elvis offered to help President Nixon track down drug users). There'll be plenty of ripe material for panelists Mo Rocca, Adam Felber, and Roxanne Roberts when they tape an episode of the popular show in Akron tonight. Host Peter Sagal and scorekeeper Carl Kasell will also be on hand, guiding the audience, the panel, and a special "Not My Job" guest panelist through a series of news-related games. It takes place at 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 South Main Street in Akron. Tickets are $15 and $25, available by calling 330-253-2488.

Friday, April 4

If the thought of tackling Shakespeare's massive oeuvre is too daunting, consider The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. In 90 minutes, three actors run through 37 of the Bard's plays, embodying 75 different characters. "This is perfect for anyone who's ever been intimidated by Shakespeare," explains director John Fagan. "It shows how much fun and contemporary he can be." Most of the comedies and histories are all lumped together, while Hamlet makes up the entire second act. "It's a very irreverent play," Fagan says. "We make fun of a lot of stuff that Shakespeare did, but at the same time, we honor his skill and genius." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged is at Weathervane Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane) through April 19. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 and $17; call 330-836-2626.

Saturday, April 5

The International Lifexpo features more than 100 lectures and 150 exhibits on how to live better. It's appropriate, then, that today's top speaker is Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi -- a guy who lived his life quite well. His program, "The Principles of Gandhi in Daily Life," details a nonviolent path to happiness (who knew it could be done?). Arun Gandhi, who lived with his grandfather during the most turbulent period in India's struggle for independence, should have plenty to say about world affairs in his 3 p.m. talk. The 12th annual Lifexpo happens from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow at the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Drive). Admission to Gandhi's lecture and the expo is $30; tickets for the expo alone are $12. Call 440-519-1889 for more information.

Sunday, April 6

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American Air Force unit in U.S. history. They trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during World War II and became a symbol of black determination during the era. They were also quite a squad, taking part in more than 15,000 military exercises and defeating more than 1,000 German aircraft in their time. Several of the pilots will be at the Cleveland Public Library today, talking about their battles (both in the air and within the Air Force) and signing photographs. The free program starts at 2 p.m. The library is at 325 Superior Avenue downtown; call 216-623-2869 to learn more.

Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones is a milestone in black cinema. Taking Bizet's classic opera, updating it to a contemporary setting (the South during World War II), and modernizing the songs with new lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, the 1954 film gave Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, and Dorothy Dandridge (nominated for an Oscar as the tragic heroine) their first tastes of Hollywood success. It's part of the Madstone Centrum Theater's Hot Flicks, Cool Licks jazz film festival. (Upcoming movies include Robert Altman's Kansas City and Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown.) Carmen Jones shows at 7 p.m. at the Centrum, 2781 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $7 and $10. Call 216-320-1194 for more information.

Monday, April 7

The best reason to go to the I-X Indoor Amusement Park today isn't the Big Backyard (where tots can get their hands on interactive stuff) or the Towering Inferno (a "vertical thrill ride" that takes place in darkness) or even the new Club GLO (a dance club for youngsters). Nope. The best reason to attend the 14th annual indoor fair -- with more than 150 rides, games, and attractions -- is to take advantage of today's Car Load Special: Cram up to 10 folks in your car for $35! That's a bargain, considering that individual tickets range from $8 to $16. So pack up Grandma, Grandpa, and Baby Earl, and get to the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Drive) today. The I-X Indoor Amusement Park runs through April 27. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 800-897-3942 for additional info.

Tuesday, April 8

Michael Jordan's retiring again soon, and he really, really means it this time. So even though the very thought of dragging ourselves to the Gund to watch the Cavaliers' distinctive style of basketball brings tears to our eyes and a sharp ache to our abdomen, we'd be fools to pass up the chance to see MJ beat the Cavs one last time when the Washington Wizards come to town tonight. Game time is 7 at Gund Arena (100 Gateway Plaza). Tickets range from $10 to $75, available by calling 216-241-5555.

Wednesday, April 9

Theoretically a comedy about bawdy legend Mae West, Dirty Blonde is actually "a love story between two of her fans," says director Peter Hackett. "Mae West becomes a symbol of [their] self-expression." Elizabeth Meadows Rouse makes the most of her dual roles as temp worker Jo and the busty film star. "The temptation is to think that Mae West is the tougher part," Hackett says. "But she's such an icon, and everybody has their own idea of who she is. The other part is the challenge." Dirty Blonde is at the Cleveland Play House's Drury Theatre (8500 Euclid Avenue) through May 4. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 to $47.50; call 216-795-7000.

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