- The Great Lakes Theater Festival's Amadeus is a classical gas.
The Amadeus script that Gordon Reinhart memorized in college 20 years ago reads nothing like the one he's using to direct the Great Lakes Theater Festival's latest offering. The production -- which rotates shows on the same stage with As You Like It for the next six weeks -- takes place in 18th-century Vienna, where composer Antonio Salieri becomes insanely envious of his rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. "He's blinded by his own jealousy," says director Reinhart, a visiting director from Boise State University. "He becomes obsessed." But don't expect Great Lakes' play to be a rehash of the original 1979 production or the 1984 movie; playwright Peter Shaffer has rewritten the script several times. "He's kept feeling the whole story wasn't there," says Reinhart. "So he's moved Salieri from a mustache-twisting villain to a man who's much more tragic." Amadeus runs from September 16 to October 21; As You Like It plays September 30 to October 22. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Ohio Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $21.50-$55; call 216-241-6000. -- Cris Glaser
Go, Speed Dancer!
Backstage at Friday's Dance Showcase, Linda Jackson is just as mesmerized as the budding Baryshnikovs ogling the dancers from their seats in the audience. "We want these dance companies to entice young people," says Jackson, Playhouse Square's dance-program manager. The 10 troupes include Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre (which performs a tribute to Aretha Franklin) and Verb Ballets, which presents "Speed," an homage to the old Speed Racer cartoon. Dancers dressed like "Speed and Trixie [are] running and jumping to the theme music," says Jackson. The showcase ends with African Soul International's spirited choreography, set to West African dancing and drumming. "It's so exhilarating. The live music with the drumming tends to get people on their feet." Dance Showcase is from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Palace Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-348-7909. -- Cris Glaser
Ralph Harris always wanted to be a clown. No, really. "I wanted to be in the circus," says the Los Angeles comedian, who recently relocated from Las Vegas in hopes of landing a steady TV gig. Hopefully, it'll work out better than Harris' last outing -- the short-lived 1994 sitcom On Our Own. This time, though, he's more flexible: "I [can] play dramatic moments too," he says. He brings the yuks to Hilarities 4th Street Theatre (2035 East Fourth Street) Thursday through Sunday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $18; call 216-736-4242. -- P.F. Wilson