Sunday, June 1, 2003

Ovation sets two comedies, holiday show

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ovation Theater goes for the laughs in its sixth season at the Aronoff Center's Fifth Third Bank Theater. Comedies by Paul Rudnick (In & Out) and Noel Coward and the theater's first holiday show, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, will dominate the four-show lineup.

"It's eclectic and slightly safe," says artistic director Joe Stollenwerk. He points to the economy as reason for the choices, for a trim in the budget to $65,000, a $1 increase in ticket prices (to $16 general admission) and for his decision to direct three of the four shows.

The season:

• Oct. 3-11 - A Voice of My Own

• Nov. 28-Dec. 6 - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

• March 26-April 3 - Jeffrey

• July 30-Aug. 7, 2004 - Fallen Angels

Voice is a look at women authors, from Sappho to Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen to Toni Morrison. More than two dozen literary greats are spotlighted through story and original songs.

Dennis Murphy directs the stage adaptation of Barbara Robinson's best seller Pageant, about the six scary Herdman children who crash Sunday School and demand the leads in the annual pageant - and food.

A New York hit from the '90s, Jeffrey is Rudnick's romantic comedy about a gay actor/waiter who swears off sex, then meets Mr. Right - who's HIV positive. Coward's Fallen Angels are a pair of friends and rivals who both have an eye for the same old flame.

Season tickets are $48 ($36 seniors and students) and available at the Aronoff Center box office. Contact Ovation at 369-1544 or e-mail

Ovation completes its current season with the comedy Avow, about a gay couple who set off on the road to self-reflection when they ask a liberal priest to marry them. It plays Aug. 1-9.

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