A truly excellent film about life on the stage.

Good ol’ Henry Jaglom. Although he shoots in digital HD these days, there’s something comforting about the fact that even if he were tapped to direct a Marvel film in IMAX 3D, he’d still insist on opening it with the same grainy, optically zoomed footage of his mentor and frequent luncheon companion Orson Welles holding a wooden rainbow — which he’s been using for his production company logo since the 1970s. Jaglom’s latest, Ovation!, takes place in the world of the legitimate theater, which despite certain thin-skinned sexual predators insisting that it “must always be a safe and special place,” has always featured at least as much drama offstage as on. As the cast of the play-within-the-film The Rainmaker anxiously waits to learn whether their venue will be shuttered at the end of an especially eventful week, lead actress Maggie (Tanna Frederick) is tempted both romantically and professionally by suave TV star Stewart (James Denton). Meanwhile, siblings Zoe and Michael (Jaglom’s real-life children Sabrina and Simon) deal with their own dramas — including Zoe’s abusive boyfriend Gideon (Benjamin Chamberlain) — and those are among the many overlapping story threads presented in Jaglom’s usual shaggy style. The real-life theater location gives the picture more production value than is often found in the Jaglomography, and Ovation! is one of his more accessible works overall.

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