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Performance series changing its lineup

The schedule of professional stage shows that Stars of the Universe is bringing to the Pasco Schools Center for the Arts has been changed _ again.

This is the third major change in the lineup of shows since the series was announced March 3.

In the latest change, Cole Porter's musical Can-Can will take the spot of the musical Babes in Arms at 2 p.m. Dec. 8.

"Scheduling touring entertainment is no easy task," said a news release announcing the changes. The musical Babes in Arms will not tour, said Brian Ososky, publicist for Stars of the Universe in Lakeland.

In addition to the change in musicals, the date and time for the musical Annie Get Your Gun is being changed from a Sunday to a Thursday _ Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

"The reason it's an evening is that the load-in takes so long," said Ososky, referring to the setup time for the musical's sets.

As for the weeknight scheduling (unusual for the series), Ososky said, "We took the closest date that we could get from the original date."

The Suncoast Series will keep the comedy Greater Tuna at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 and the musical Zorba at 2 p.m. March 2. Greater Tuna will star South Florida comics Larry Harmon, Phil Kaler and Bob Harmon, not the playwrights and original stars Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, as previously indicated by Stars owner Dick Wilson.

Earlier changes in the Suncoast lineup had the musical Annie Get Your Gun replacing the musical version of I Remember Mama and the musical Zorba replacing the musical revue The Best of Burlesque. Stars also dropped plans for an evening series.

Despite the major changes to the lineup, Stars publicist Ososky says his organization will not give refunds to people who have bought season tickets.

"Lots of major theaters and presenters have this policy," Ososky said. "We're not going to do refunds for changes in dates, times or shows."

Refunds will be made only in the event of the death or debilitating illness of the ticket holder or the ticket holder's seat partner, if requested, or if the ticket holder moves out of the area, Ososky said.

Stars is also making major changes in the shows going to Brooksville's Performing Arts Center.

Three of that series' originally announced shows _ the musicals Babes in Arms and The Merry Wives of Windsor and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra concert _ have been dropped, and the dates for all four shows have been changed.

The two musicals will be replaced by one musical and a troupe of Chinese acrobats, and the Dorsey orchestra concert will be replaced by a tribute to composer Henry Mancini called O, Henry!

The musical Babes in Arms, set for Dec. 7, is being replaced by Can-Can, which will play at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

The Stars of the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre show will replace the performance of the costume musical Merry Wives. The acrobats will perform at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 4.

Only the three-person off-Broadway comedy Greater Tuna remains from the Hernando Entertainment Series' original lineup, and its play date has been changed to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 2.

The presenters declined to give exact figures for season ticket sales for either venue, saying only that "we estimate that we're about 10 percent ahead of where we were this time last year."