Sunday, March 21, 2004

Dye returns to stage with 'Jeffrey'



By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Make it a standing ovation for Christine Dye, popular local actress who returns to the local stage for the first time since starting a battle against colon cancer in July 2003.

Dye, who was to go on to statewide competition last year for her tour de force Shirley Valentine at Mariemont Players, returns with another big role - actually an entire cast of characters - in Jeffrey, opening Friday for a two-weekend run by Ovation Theatre in the Aronoff Center's Fifth Third Bank Theater.

The comedy by Paul (In & Out) Rudnick takes us back to New York, 1992, and the height of the AIDS crisis when our actor/waiter hero swears off sex and, of course, immediately meets Mr. Right - who is HIV positive. Michael Monks stars in the title role. The cast also includes Adam Hildebrand and Joe Hornbaker.

Dye's many roles include Jeffrey's nudging mom, a Manhattan socialite, an evangelist, a sexual compulsive and Mother Theresa.

She's glad to be back. "I get bored senseless." "I can only go so long without acting."

A born-and-reared Clifton resident, Dye, 43, gives another giggle as she confesses that she has been acting as long as she can remember. "I just didn't know it was acting, at first."

Mom to Jane, 5, and Emma, 21/2, (it's her dream to act with them one day), Dye still expresses profound gratitude to Cincinnati's theater community for their support throughout the last year.

Actress Pat Grooms, also a cancer survivor, marshaled a volunteer army for duties from house cleaning to child care. Phone calls came every day, she says, and so did checks, "even from actors I hadn't worked with for 10 or 15 years."

Dye couldn't be happier to be back. She's not sure what's after Jeffrey. She has at least one play booked for next season.

Dye and husband Gary Davidson are renting the Walton Creek Theater in Mariemont for one February weekend to revive Shirley Valentine.

For Jeffrey reservations and information, call the Aronoff box office at 241-7469. There is a pay-what-you-can preview on Thursday.

If you'd like a portion of the proceeds of your ticket to go to AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, AVOC does have tickets for sale. Call David Dalton at 421-2437.

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E-mail jdemaline@enquirer.com




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