Rye’s Rising Star

With another hot week anticipated, what are you going to do for your air-conditioned entertainment?

Okay, so you’ve seen Inception, and The Kids Are All Right isn’t playing in our area yet. Mad Men doesn’t start for a few more days, and even then it doesn’t come on until 10 pm. With another hot week anticipated, what are you going to do for your air-conditioned entertainment?

Maybe it’s time to take a trip into the city. After all, the Metro-North is air-conditioned. Broadway theaters are always good for some cool a/c. Of course, the ultimate time to hit up the Great White Way is right before the Tony awards, because that’s when tons of new shows open hoping to get in on the awards business. But, even though big-ticket spectacles like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson don’t open until September, you can still find some new entries if you know where to look. And you might see someone you recognize on stage.

Westchester actress Nikki Yarnell, a native of Rye, is a good example. She’s been cast in in 702 Punchlines & Pregnant, a new off-off Broadway musical comedy starring stand-up comic Sheba Mason, the love child of comedian Jackie Mason. At the Richmond Shepard Theatre (309 East 26th Street) through August 1, Punchlines is Sheba Mason’s account of her famous dad and his affair with her starry-eyed mother. Since its opening earlier this month, the production has already been featured on Page Six of the New York Post and on CBS Radio.

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Surprisingly, the young Yarnell plays a leading role as Mrs. Olivier — Sheba Mason’s 40-something grandmother. Though you may not know Mrs. Olivier personally, you may feel like you already know her. Yarnell says growing up in Westchester definitely informs her performance. “I based my character, a kind of Jewish Mama Rose,” says Yarnell, “in part on some of my female relatives — including my mother and some of my aunts, who live in Westchester as well as Long Island and Florida.” A graduate of Rye Country Day School who holds a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, Yarnell performed extensively throughout the county while growing up here.

For more info or to order tickets, visit www.punchlinesandpregant.com, and call 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111.

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