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Newport Resident, NKU Grad Stays Busy on Stage -- And Stars in "Underpants" at The Carnegie

In The Underpants, playing April 10-26 at The Carnegie, wild and crazy guy Steve Martin shows off his playwriting skills and brings the funny to an adaptation of a 1910 German farce (Die Hose) about an alluring housewife who ignites debauchery in Dusseldorf when her underpants accidentally fall down during the king's parade (Oooops!)

Erin Ward is the flirtatious housewife, Randy Bailey is the stuffy husband, and director Drew Fracher knows how to deliver a fast-paced farce. 

Ward, an Northern Kentucky University grad (Class of 2014) is everywhere on area indie stages -- Know Theatre, New Edgecliff Theatre, Madcap Puppets, Cincinnati Fringe, Queen City Flash, and she’s a proud cast member of OTRimprov.

Despite having a mother and older sister who acted on stages in Ward’s hometown of Morehead, she didn’t do her first play till high school. She was all about speech and debate.

”I competed in speech and debate for the National Forensics League all through middle school and high school.  Along with public speaking events they also had improv and acting events. So, as I started competing in more events I became more interested in acting," she said.

Ward stayed interested in improv and was a member of the NKU improve troupe IMPROV at This Side UP and is now she’s “a proud cast member of OTRimprov.”

Ward is sharing The Carnegie stage with several local indie theater favorites. Sean Mette and Mike Hall are part OTRimprov, Ward appeared with Mette and Randy Bailey in Cincinnati Fringe hit HOT DAMN! It’s the Loveland Frog, which was written by Mike Hall and Josh Steele. 

She’s getting a kick out of playing housewife Louise, who she calls “a dreamer who longs for excitement and attention” – which she isn’t getting from her husband. “Her world is turned upside down when her panties fall down and she’s caught up in a whirlwind” that includes strangers who, “become suitors, enchanted by what they’ve seen!”

Ward, who lives in Newport, has found a land of opportunity locally and says, “Cincinnati has kind of stolen my heart recently”. After last year’s Fringe she joined Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) as Leadership and Development Coordinator.

While her “to do” list includes working with new people and on projects she’s helping cook up but not ready to talk about yet, the top of the list is “Lots and lots of improv!"

“OTRimprov is getting ready for IF Cincy (Improv Festival Cincinnati),” which debuted in 2014 and mixes national and area artists, she said. “I am very excited to be on the troupe this time around!”

You’ll probably also spot Ward at this year’s Cincinnati Fringe doing – something. Then, she says, she’ll keep looking forward to whatever “adventures” are ahead. 

The Underpants, April 10-26. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets $25, students $18. 859-957-1940 and

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts

Photos by Mikki Shaffner Photography (provided)

Top photo: Erin Ward as Louise

Center photo: (Left to Right) Brian Griffin as Versati, Erin Ward as Louise, and Mike Hall as Cohen

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