For the second play in the history of the Performing Arts Creative Ensemble, director Douglas Shaffer has chosen the comedy "Crimes of the Heart" by Beth Henley.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, through Nov. 17. A matinee is planned for 3 p.m. Nov. 18.

PACE productions are in the Columbus Dance Theatre, 529 E. Main St. in downtown Columbus. Tickets are $15 at www.pacecolumbus.com/reservations.

Shaffer, who lives in northwest Columbus, said the comedy was selected to balance the inaugural production by the troupe.

That show was the thriller "Deathtrap."

The next two scheduled productions for PACE are the drama "Blithe Spirit" in April and rock musical "The Who's Tommy" in July.

"We trying to get a decent variety," he said, noting "Deathrap" primarily was a two-man affair but "Crimes of the Heart" has mostly a female cast.

"This is a very heavy female show," Shaffer said of "Crimes," which was made into a film in 1986. "This is a great show because for all of its silliness, the heart of the show is family, and what better thing to do at Thanksgiving."

The cast for "Crimes of the Heart" includes Erin O'Donnell as Lenny Magrath, Dana Ernest as Meg Magrath, Lydia Noelle Simon as Babe Botrelle, Karen Perta as Chick Boyle, Dustin Schwab as Barnett Lloyd and Erik Bobbitt as Doc Porter.

Beth Nuzum Cronenweth and Nathan Uhrman are stage managers. The set designer is Scott A. Jones.

"We're still a new group so people don't know what to make of us," Shaffer said.

For cast members, all of them in their first PACE production, the presence of the new troupe is another outlet for performing.

"The cool thing about it is there are opportunities for more people when there are more groups around," said Schwab, who lives near Easton Town Center in northeast Columbus. "You can pick shows that interest you and characters that are more suited to you."

"It's a real exciting and creative opportunity," said Ernest, a Dublin resident. "Because it's a new troupe, we have a lot of freedom."

PACE was formed by Shaffer, a 1978 graduate of Centennial High School, Nuzum Cronenweth of German Village and Jones of Dublin. Jones is director of operations at the Northland Performing Arts Center.

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