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LOFT AIMS FOR HIGH COMEDY

The Loft Theater opens today with what is being billed as an NC-17-rated production, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Directed by Paul Potenza, the production offers a campy, racy look at a pair of vampires through the ages. The play begins in ancient Sodom. Written by Charles Busch (Psycho Beach Party), the play mixes comedy, burlesque, musical numbers and broad humor. The two female vampires are played by male actors Donn Greeley and T. Dimitris Chandler.

This is the way Busch scripted the play, director Potenza says: "They're not men playing women. They're actors playing female roles.

"It's written that way, but it doesn't mean women can't play the roles. I'm sure that if there was another gender in the human race, Busch would say they could play these roles." Also in the production will be Doa Farrentine, Christopher Akins, Phillip Heckman, Kevin Kladakis, Jon Kolaska, Catherine Hayes and Stephanie Brown. Several performers were also in The Loft's rendition of Psycho Beach Party, as was set designer Chris Walders.

This is Potenza's first major directing role.

"To tell you the truth, it's really scary," he says. "I call it my second debut. It's not Neil Simon. It's not a New York situation comedy. But if you're going to get experience, you've got to go where the work is."

The show runs Friday through Sunday through Nov. 18 at the Loft, 1441 Fletcher Ave. Call 972-3383.

The Paragon Cable system has begun to videotape local theater productions to air on the system's Channel 9.

To date, Kestrel Inc.'s production of Hamlet and Eckerd College's staging of Lloyd's Prayer by Kevin Kling have been videotaped. Hamlet will be telecast at 5 p.m. on all four Sundays this month (Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25). No air dates have been set for Lloyd's Prayer.

"We're in search of . . . original works or works in public domain," explains Paul Tanofsky, manager for Paragon Cable. That way, the cable system won't have to request and pay for rights.

Nan Colton, artistic director for Kestrel Inc. whose production of Hamlet leads off the project, says, "It is a valiant effort to promote local artists and is a worthy undertaking by this cable station to develop community relations."

The Francis Wilson Playhouse, 302 Seminole St., Clearwater, opens its production of I'm Not Rappaport today. Directed by Dan Khoury, the comedy is set in a secluded spot in New York's Central Park, where two octogenarians are determined to fight off attempts to put them out to pasture.

Included in the production are Shawna Byrd and Joseph Cox. The show runs through Nov. 18. Call 446-1360 (Clearwater).

Run for Your Wife, a farce that played for seven years in London's West End theater district, opens Nov. 6 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theater in Sarasota.

The production, which runs through Dec. 16, stars Rick DeFuria as a London cab driver who has two wives in different areas of town. Complications arise while he tries to keep his two lifestyles from falling apart. Written by Ray Cooney, this Golden Apple production is directed by Chris Curran.

Call 366-5454 (Sarasota).

The Manatee Players Riverfront Theater in Bradenton will stage the popular comedy Greater Tuna today through Nov. 18 at the theater, 102 Main St., Bradenton.

Directed by Christine E. Crawfis , the production will feature Jeffrey Anderson and Allan Kollar as 20 of the colorful inhabitants _ both male and female _ of Tuna, Texas, "the state's third-smallest town."

Tickets are $5.50 and $11. Call: 748-5875 (Bradenton) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

The Venice Little Theater, 140 W Tampa Ave., Venice, Fla., staging the musical George M!, the story of George M. Cohan, today and Saturday.

Directed and choreographed by Betty Seibert, the production features Michael Minetta in the title role, with a cast of 26. Tickets are $12 each, $6 for students. Call (813) 488-1115 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Royalty Theater Company, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater, opens today with A Little Night Music, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler.

The production will run through Nov. 18. Call 443-6647 (Clearwater).

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