AVOW Opens Tonight Off Broadway at 45th Street Theatre

By: Feb. 25, 2009

Opening tonight - Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00pm is The Cardinal Group (D.H. Johnson & Richard Pepenella) production of "Avow" by Bill C. Davis, Off Broadway at the 45th Street Theatre, 354 West 45 Street. Previews began Thursday, February 19, 2009 for the limited Off Broadway engagement. The play takes a timely and poignant look at contemporary religion's role in shaping social issues, especially with Proposition 8. The cast for this warm, insightful and balanced meditation about who we are in relationship to the vows we make to the people and institutions in our lives includes Joy Franz, Elizabeth Bove, Jaron Farnham, Christopher Graham, Kate Middleton, Timothy Sekk and Jeremiah Wiggins. It is directed by Jerry Less and the set design is by Stephanie Tucci, costumes by Emily Lippolis, lighting design by Chris Weston. The production is supervised by Mr. Davis. Http://www.CardinalGroupNYC.com

Brian and Tom ask their liberal parish priest, Father Raymond, to witness and bless their vows to each other. Although Father Raymond understands their affection for each other, he stresses that they must live a celibate life if they wish to be part of the Church. Brian is then outraged while Tom becomes reflective. Irene, Brian's sister, is single and to become a mother. Brian has convinced her to have the baby, which he and Tom will adopt. Desiring nothing more than her brother's happiness and security, she tries to mediate between the couple and the priest. Much to her surprise she discovers a deep attraction to the priest with the attraction turning out to be mutual. This forces Father Raymond to reexamine his life. Rose, Brian's and Irene's mother, works very hard to come to terms with her son's and daughter's "exotic" lifestyles in this timely production.

Bill C. Davis is the author of "Mass Appeal," which premiered at The Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald, and starred Milo O'Shea and Eric Roberts. The play moved to Broadway where it received the Outer Critic's Circle Award. Mr. Davis adapted the play as a screenplay and it was made into a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Charles Durning and was chosen one of the ten best films for that year by The National Board of Review. He also performed the role of Mark Dolson with Milo O'Shea, Charles Durning and Brian Keith. "Mass Appeal" has played in Paris, where it received a Molière Award; as well as staged in Poland, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, South Africa, Rome, Australia and in Munich, Germany. Another play "Dancing in the End-Zone," premiered in a production directed by Jose Ferrer and starring Elaine Stritch. The play moved to Broadway under Melvin Bernhardt's direction, with Pat Carroll. It was also performed in Los Angeles starring Lois Nettleton, where it received a Dramalogue award. His play, "Wrestlers," had its premiere in Los Angeles, with Mr. Davis acting opposite Mark Harmon. The play was Critic's Choice for the LA Times. Also in LA, he directed his play "Spine" with Meredith Baxter and Mackenzie Astin. It was also directed by the author at The George Street Playhouse. He is collaborating on an original musical, "Austin's Bridge." His most recent play, "The Sex King," received a workshop production at Carnegie-Mellon University and is currently under option. He also writes political essays and just completed his first novel, "Connecticut Wildlife."

Jerry Less has directed "Henry IV Parts One" and "Two," "Antony and Cleopatra," world premiere of "The Jazz Age" (lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) by Allan Knee, "LOL," "Larry's Way," "Kit Marlowe" (Princeton Rep), "Half The Battle - life of Susan B. Anthony" (national tour and Edinburgh Festival), "Saint Nicholas" by Benjamin Britten, and has also worked with Ashlawn Opera and Bronx Opera. This production of "Avow" marks his fifth time directing for Bill C. Davis, including the concert readings of "All Hallowed" with Frances Sternhagen and Malachy McCourt and "Avow" with Marsha Mason and Frederick Weller.

Performances of the limited Off Broadway engagement of "Avow" are: Wednesday - Saturday at 8:00pm; matinees at 2:00pm on Saturday 3/7 and Sundays 3/1 & 3/8. Opening 2/25 is at 7:00 pm, through Sunday, March 8th. Tickets are only $18.00 and available through Smarttix: online at www.smarttix.com or by phone at (212) 868-4444.

For more information please call (212) 560-2221. Http://www.myspace.com/cardinalgroupproductions



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