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Balls Out

New interactive play follows Tony n' Tina's Wedding march.

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In the semi-improvised comedy We Gotta Bingo, two Catholic churches — one Irish, the other Italian — merge and hit on an idea to bring money to their fledgling institution: They’ll hold bingo nights and pocket the profits. Audience members actually play the game to win prizes at the interactive stage show, which opens this weekend at Playhouse Square. Meanwhile, Helmet & His Voekel Chords crank out polka tunes, and Rosa Dimini serves home-cooked lasagna dinners. “It’s very broad humor with music and parody,” says Andy Tarr, who portrays furniture-store-owner-cum-egomaniacal-numbers-caller Bucky Fuller. Producers hope We Gotta Bingo takes off like Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding — the interactive hit play that became the city’s longest-running show in 2003 after logging more than 800 performances in two-and-a-half years. Tarr suspects Bingo will be an even bigger smash — partly because its subject matter is something near and dear to Clevelanders’ hearts. “They are in their zone,” he says. “[Bingo] is what they play, and you don’t get in the way. It gets vicious.” For Tarr, the open-ended We Gotta Bingo is an opportunity to bust out of the 9-to-5 grind. His past gigs included substitute teaching and managing hospital supplies. “I never thought colostomy bag would be a phrase that I would use so readily by the age of 32,” he laughs.
Sundays, 5 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 & 8:30 p.m., 2007

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