Theatre Artists Studio Presents THE LAST ROMANCE, Starring Rescue Dog Ollie, Now thru 3/16

Theatre Artists Studio Presents THE LAST ROMANCE, Starring Rescue Dog Ollie, Now thru 3/16

A local actor is making his debut on the stage of Theatre Artists Studio later this month. There is nothing too unusual in that, except that this particular actor is the furry, four-legged variety. His name is Ollie.

Ollie will appear as the Chihuahua mix, Peaches in The Studio's production of The Last Romance, opening tonight, February 28.

Casting just the right pooch to play Peaches was crucial. Peaches is a rescue dog adopted by one of the play's main characters. As it happens, Ollie is also a rescue dog. According to the play's director, Pamela Fields, "The minute we saw Ollie, we shared a communal sigh of relief. He was absolutely perfect: sweet, cuddly, loveable and - most important - very comfortable around large numbers of people."

Ollie appears through the courtesy of Pal's Inn Pet Resort in Fountain Hills, where staff and volunteers have been caring for him for some time. Ollie came to The Studio's attention thanks to Vika Fleck, daughter of cast member Michael Fleck, who works as a groomer at Pal's Inn. Vika will serve as Ollie's pet wrangler for the run of the show.

More happy news: While Romance was still in rehearsals, Ollie was adopted by Fountain Hills couple Jo and Dan Dunne. They have generously agreed to assist the production crew and allow Ollie to continue his work in the play.

The Last Romance comes from Joe DiPietro, the author of last year's Studio hit, Over the River and Through the Woods. When golden-ager Ralph takes a detour from his daily routine, he meets Carol and Peaches at a local dog park. Together, they set out on a romantic journey that becomes the trip of a lifetime. What ensues is great heartwarming comedy fun, filled with beautiful music and sprinkled with a few tears.

The Last Romance is directed by Pamela Fields and features Studio members Michael Fleck, Judy Lebeau and Dolores D'Amore Goldsmith, with Jason Lee McDonald and Ollie.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, February 28 through March 16. (The Saturday, March 8 performance is sold out.) For tickets, call The Studio at 602-765-0120 or purchase online at www.thestudiophx.org/tickets.

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