2/5: Is He Dead opens at Beck Center

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When it comes to satire, nothing drives up the value of an artist’s work like his death. That’s the idea behind Mark Twain’s 1898 story Is He Dead, which was presented as a new play in 2007 when a version adapted by David Ives premiered on Broadway. It’s the story of an artist who, with the help of some friends, stages his death in order to increase the value of his paintings. In a scheme worthy of Tom Sawyer, they even fake his funeral. Since closing on Broadway in 2008, Is He Dead has been staged more than 75 times around the country, many at high schools presumably thrilled to have something new by the great American writer who remains a staple of their English departments. Beck Center for the Arts (17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216.521.2540) presents the Ohio premiere in a production directed by Matthew Earnest. It opens at 8 tonight with performances through February 28. Tickets: $10-$28. — Michel Gill

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