When Laughs Become Scarce at the GOP Convention . . .


While San Diego is gearing up to host the Republican National Convention the week of Aug. 12, show business types are using that event as inspiration for a variety of theater offerings, some of which are already campaigning for audiences:

* "FritzCON '96" pledges to transform theatergoers into delegates to the 1996 Fritz Party National Convention, involving them in the final balloting for the candidate. Created by Todd Blakesley and Burnham Joiner as their latest interactive incarnation of "The Convention" in 1976 and "Cigars & Stripes" in 1984, "FritzCON '96" runs through Sept. 1 at the Fritz Theater, 420 3rd Ave., San Diego (just two blocks from the San Diego Convention Center, where the Republican National Convention will be centered). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday.; 8:30 p.m. curtain time Aug. 12-15. $10-$15. (619) 233-7505.

* "Hair," staged by a gay and lesbian theater troupe, takes a homosexual angle on the '60s rock musical with pointed references to gay civil rights, Republicans, the Catholic Church, Mormons and more. Expect Jesse Helms' name to pop up. Business manager Laura Sutherland said the cast plans an in-costume demonstration at the Republican National Convention at a date and time to be determined. Through Aug. 31 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., San Diego. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. $12-$15. (619) 220-0097.

* "GNP: On the Dole" is the latest political sendup by the Washington D.C. troupe Gross National Product. GNP, an equal-opportunity satirist, pledges "gavel to babble" coverage and promises that "whatever political garbage is on the floor that day becomes fodder for GNP onstage that night." Aug. 12-18 at The Theatre in Old Town, 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego. 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $19.96. (619) 688-2494.

* "Seven Blowjobs" is Mac Wellman's 1991 political satire about seven mysterious photographs of "unnatural acts" delivered to "Sen. Bob's" office on Capitol Hill. The target is not the Republicans so much as a skewering of Washington power brokers, so both sides should be able to find some laughs. Aug. 7-Sept. 1 at Sledgehammer Theatre, 964 5th Ave., San Diego. 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. $10-$15. (619) 544-1484.

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