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Theaters line up a variety of shows for next season

Is it July already? Yes? Then it must be time for more local theaters to announce their upcoming seasons.

Fans of television personality John Davidson (Hollywood Squares, That's Incredible! and his own John Davidson Show) can see and hear him in person Jan. 11, when he performs a dinner show at the Aripeka Elks Club in Hudson, one of the best bargains in town.

For just $20 or $22, you get the show and a dinner prepared by the Elks and their helpers.

Davidson appeared in State Fair and Foxy on Broadway, toured in the stage shows Oklahoma!, Camelot, Carousel and I Do! I Do! and starred in the movie The Happiest Millionaire in the 1960s, but it was television that made him a household name.

Davidson was a popular guest host on the Tonight Show, doing it more than 80 times. He was a guest star on many dramatic TV shows, including the Streets of San Francisco, Spenser: For Hire and Hallmark Hall of Fame.

But Davidson isn't all the Aripeka Elks have in store for their patrons.

OCT. 25: "Sweet Dreams of Patsy Cline," starring Leanne Williams;

NOV. 15: Steve Solomon, comedian; opening act, Julis Okah;

DEC. 13: The Crests, starring Tommy Mara;

JAN. 11: John Davidson;

FEB. 7: "Tribute to Tom Jones," starring Rob Prospect;

MARCH 13: New Odyssey musical group.

Prime seats are $22; general seats, $20. Tickets are available at the lodge, 9135 Denton Ave., Hudson, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Dinner is at 6 p.m., with the show at 7:30 p.m. Call (727) 868-2994.

There's also a bargain show, with Crazy Carol, the risque comedian who does seem to have her fans _ and detractors. Dinner and show is just $13. It's on March 25, wrapping up the season.

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The Angel Cabaret Theatre in the Southgate Shopping Center in New Port Richey has also announced its main season, 2003-04. The five shows include three musicals and two comedies, one touted as a Tampa Bay premiere, the other as a Florida premiere.

OCT. 24-NOV. 23: Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Neil Simon's comedy about a fish seller who decides to live it up before it's too late. This was one of Angel owner Jimmy Ferraro's biggest hits at his erstwhile Angel "garden cafe" Theatre in Holiday in 1996.

DEC. 5-DEC. 25: "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" Ferraro's annual holiday tribute, which includes singing, dancing, comedy and some heartwarming moments. It will star Dee Etta Rowe.

JAN. 9-FEB. 15: Big, Bawdy, Burlesque, with classic vaudeville sketches, tap dancing and familiar songs.

FEB. 27-MARCH 28: Holy Cannoli, a comedy about strict Italian-Catholic parents who unexpectedly visit their daughter and her female roommate of two years and get some surprises. (Not to be confused with Scott Sohan and Paul Howarth's movie, The Holy Cannoli.)

APRIL 9-MAY 16: The "It" Girl, a musical comedy tribute to silent screen star Clara Bow.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays, with some matinees. Doors open two hours before each show for a cash wine and beer bar and buffet. Dinner and show, $34.50; show only, $21.95. Ages 12 and younger, $22.50 and $16.95, all plus tax and tip. Call (727) 847-0019.

Ferraro is also planning several special shows, including a Columbus Day special, "Fiesta Italiano," on Oct. 13 (that's not a misprint; it really is on a Monday); two shows on Thanksgiving Day, a tribute to Carol Channing by Richard Skipper, on Nov. 27; a New Year's Eve extravaganza on Dec. 31; a Valentine's Day show, "Songs of Love," with Ferraro and Ms. Rowe, on Feb. 14; an Easter show, "Vintage Voices, Songs of the '40s and '50s," on April 11; and Chris Mac Donald's "Memories of Elvis" on Mother's Day, May 9.

In what is becoming a tradition, Martin Preston will do four Liberace shows on Jan. 2-4, complete with costumes and live music.

Somewhat like Cher, Preston keeps saying that each performance is his last. But fans keep asking him to do this show, the only Liberace tribute with the Liberace family's approval. Anyone who enjoyed Liberace will enjoy Preston's interpretation of him.

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