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Two World Premiere Comedies Highlight NKU's New Play Series

The 18th Biennial Year End Series (Y.E.S.) Festival at Northern Kentucky University brings the funny this year with a pair of world premiere comedies April 20-30.

Unfrozen by Mark Eisman is an oddball lark in which an ice princess, a team of competitive Latin students, and a talking penguin collide. Poor Michelle has inherited none of her figure skating family’s talent on the ice.

When her place in the household is taken over by her mother’s star pupil, she is sent on the journey of a lifetime. With the help of her makeshift family and some chilly dreams, Michelle finds her gift and finally has a chance to go for the gold.

Performances in the Corbett Theatre: 8 p.m. April 20, 26, 28 and 29; 3 p.m. April 22 and 30; and 6 p.m. April 23.

Human Services by Tom Baum is a biting satire of celebrity culture with lots of surprises as it tackles current issues of mental health, homelessness, gender identity and more.

Pop star Kelsey’s run-in with paparazzi lands her in a halfway house for recovering addicts and recently discharged psychotics. She clashes with management and forms bonds with fellow residents, while her co-dependent mother-turned-manager monitors her every move and keeps the paparazzi close at hand. All of it puts Kelsey’s true character to the test.

Performances in the Stauss Studio Theatre: 8 p.m. April 21, 22, and 27; 3 p.m. April 23 and 29; and 6 p.m. April 30.

Longtime fans will notice the festival has been reduced to two plays after decades featuring three.

“We’re constantly working to ensure that our production season puts student success first and is the most effective use of our resources,” says Mike King, Y.E.S. producer and director of Unfrozen.

“For those reasons, we decided to concentrate our resources on a festival of two shows. This will make designing, rehearsing, and building the festival much more manageable, particularly for our design and tech staff and students who work on t productions a year.”

Both theaters are located in the NKU Fine Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now. Adults $14, seniors $11 and students $8. 859-572-5464 or visit theatre.nku.edu.

-Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts