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The Best Years of Our Lives?

Rob Nash in "Holy Cross Sucks!", at Ars Nova Theater on February 19 and 21.

"Holy Cross Sucks!"
Feb. 19 and 21
Ars Nova, 511 W 54th St.
Showtimes: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $15, call 212-868-4444

Rob Nash, writer, actor, creator and star of the solo play series "The Dysfunctional Family" and one of the first out gay stand-up comics in America, will bring his sidesplitting satire. "Holy Cross Sucks!" to Manhattan's Ars Nova Theater on Feb. 19 and 21.

Nash, a native of Houston, says the show is loosely based on his own experiences in a Houston Jesuit high school

"The high school experience is universal," says Nash. "But the show is also specific to the 80s when I was going to high school."

"Holy Cross Sucks!" is about three "nonconforming" boys: Johnny, the punk poet; George, a heavy-set, under-achiever with an abusive, alcoholic father; and Ben, an effeminate boy not quite ready to face his homosexuality.

"I play all the parts," says Nash, "the Jesuits, the kids that go to the school, their boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and teachers - the whole nine yards."

The show, which is directed by Jeff Calhoun (whose credits include a Tony nomination for his choreography in the Broadway revival of "Grease," which he also directed) takes the audience back through the boys' freshman, sophomore and junior years at Holy Cross, and also to New York City on a clandestine trip during Christmas break of their senior year.

Nash, who calls his show "PG-13," deals frankly with subjects like date rape, racism, gay bashing, abortion, AIDS, gun accidents, drugs, alcohol and alienation. So how can this be funny, one might well ask.

"Humor is not just a dimension," Nash answers. It's an 'aha!' moment, a means of connecting deeply with others, touching the universality of our most private and painful experiences."

Nash believes "Holy Cross Sucks!" Is a modern coming-of-age story in the tradition of "Catcher in the Rye," Dead Poets Society" and ""Rock and Roll High School." It uses camp, satire and adolescent humor - both sophisticated ah low-brow.

Holy Cross Sucks! like the four shows in his Holy Cross Sucks Quadrilogy ("Freshman Year Sucks!," "Sophomore Slump," "Junior Blues," "Senioritis") was originally presented at The Vortex, an alternative theater in Houston. Nash has also appeared in clubs and colleges across the nation, as well as on VH1's "Stand-up Spotlight with Rosie O'Donnell" and Comedy Central's "Out There in Hollywood."

It's not surprising that Nash is enormously popular among young people. But for those who are not afraid to revisit their adolescence - Nash can make you cry 'til you laugh.[Simmons]


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