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Stage performances dominate diversions

The opening weekend of the annual Shakespeare in the Hills festival continues today and Sunday at the Citrus County Art League.

Today's offering is The Best of The Bard, and features the most compelling scenes from the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth and Richard III. Now in its seventh year, the Shakespeare festival is laden with veteran actors, mostly young drama students, whose stage experience breathes vigor and authenticity into these master works. The plays are directed by Pat Lewkowicz, who started the festival and has directed every play.

Show time is 7:30 p.m. today for The Best of the Bard. The comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor is the Sunday matinee beginning at 2:30 p.m. The art league is at 2644 N Annapolis Ave., Hernando. Tickets are $8 for a single show or $12 for both. Student prices are $5 and $10. The festival continues weekends through Aug. 11. Call 746-7606.

Playhouse 19, 865 U.S. 19, Crystal River, is also showcasing the works of its young actors today with Free To Be ... You and Me. The musical is about the issues of teen life and how human diversity, free spirits and choice can lead to personal growth. The show is performed by members of the theater's summer camp for young actors. Show times are 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday. The play will only run this weekend. Tickets are $10. Call 563-1333.

The Run for the Money concludes today with the return of the joggers at 10 a.m. to the Key Center Campus on Van Nortwick Road, off State Road 44 in Lecanto. The Key Center will also host a fundraising telethon from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many local entertainers are scheduled to appear on the telethon in recorded segments.

The telethon can be seen on WYKE-Key TV, available on Time Warner Cable Channel 16, Adelphia Channels 97 and 7, Adelphia Marion Channel 50 and UHF 49. To make a pledge, call 795-5541.