The comforts and drawbacks of religious Catholicism gave Bill C. Davis material for his Broadway hit, Mass Appeal. Now he's exploring those themes further with Avow, a comedy/drama about the relationship between two gay men, one of whom is a strongly observant Catholic. On the advice of his confessor, one man decides to turn celibate. Meanwhile, his priest is feeling pangs of his own -- for a woman.
Avow played Oct. 1996 at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, starring Michael Rupert, Rosemary Prinz and Christina Haag. Then, May 1997, the play had a reading at The Directors Company, with Prinz reprising her role as the girl's mother. The priest was played by Stephen Bogardus (High Society, Love! Valour! Compassion!), with other roles played by Fred Burrell, Robert Gomes, Judith Hawking, Angela Pietropinto and Mitchell Riggs. Artistic directed Michael Parva directed the reading.
Now Parva will direct a workshop of the show at the Directors Company, June 9-July 3. Avow was originally supposed to be a full-scale production, but the company have scaled it down to a workshop, possibly as a tune-up for a more commercial run.
Prinz and Bogardus aren't in the mounting, though Hawking and Riggs will return. Playing the mother is Marge Redmond, best known for her work on TV's "The Flying Nun." Richard Cox (Blood Brothers) plays the priest. Also in the cast are Reathel Bean, Robert Petkoff and Peggy Pope. Designing the show are Marion Williams (costumes), George Xenos (set) and Michael Lincoln (lighting).
For tickest ($10-$15) and information on Avow at the Directors Company, 311 West 43rd St., call (212) 501-3992. -- By David Lefkowitz