"Is He Dead?": “New” Mark Twain Comedy Premieres at Beck Center for the Arts... Weekday Matinees

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 22:28.
02/11/2010 - 10:00
02/11/2010 - 12:00

What happens when a group of poor artists stage the death of a friend to drive up the price of his paintings? A fake funeral, cross-dressing, and lovers' deceptions, to name a few.  

Beck Center for the Arts presents the Cleveland premiere of the Mark Twain comedy, Is He Dead?, on the Mackey Main Stage, February 5 through 28, 2010. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Special 10 a.m. weekday matinees will take place February 11, 18, and 19. 

Written by Twain in 1898, Is He Dead? richly intermingles elements of burlesque, farce, and social satire. Discovered by a Mark Twain scholar in 2003, Is He Dead? was adapted for modern audiences by talented playwright David Ives and staged on Broadway in December 2007 to strong critical reviews.  

“This is pure comedy – a fictional, farcical Paris-set yarn about a young painter, the real-life Jean-François Millet, who fakes his death to score fame and fortune,” said Playbill.com. And Variety called Is He Dead? “a ripely enjoyable confection.” 

Is He Dead? is a tremendous piece of satire by one of America’s greatest wits,” says Director Matthew Earnest. “People from all walks of life will enjoy the high-speed antics of these kooky, Buster Keaton-style dimwits trying to protect their secret: that the gorgeous Widow Tillou is actually the great painter Jean-François Millet in a wig and heels. We’re left with a very funny discussion of the value of things, and people, and a freewheeling discourse on gender and identity.” 

Playing Millet and Widow Tillou is the highly talented comedic actor Nicholas Koesters. Joining him as co-conspirators in the deception are Tom Woodward as Dutchy, Adam Thatcher as Chicago, and John Peters as O’Shaughnessy. 

Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors (65 and older), $17 for students (with valid ID), and $10 for children (12 and under). An additional $3 service fee per ticket is applied at the time of purchase. Preview night on Thursday, February 4, is $10 with general admission seating. Group discounts are available for parties of 13 or more.  

For tickets, call the Beck Center box office at 216.521.2540, ext. 10, or request seats online at www.beckcenter.org. Beck Center is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, just ten minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Free onsite parking is available. 

Beck Center’s production of Is He Dead? is produced through special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. and is sponsored by Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Cox Communications, the Ohio Arts Council, and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.  

Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for special needs students, and gallery exhibits featuring local and regional artists.


Beck Center
17801 Detroit Avenue (just ten minutes west of downtown Cleveland)
Lakewood, OH 44107
United States
Phone: 216.521.2540, ext. 10