Cinderella Both ballet and fairy tales occupy that region of our imagination that is lyrical and magical. Everything that happens in them seems so impossible. The leaps and turns and lovely lines of the ballerina embody that mystical moment little girls long for when they read the tale of Cinderella, who's transformed from a stepchild/scullery maid into a princess. Ballet seems the perfect medium for her tale, and Ben Stevenson's Cinderella is now in the repertoire of 20 companies throughout the world. In 1996, the New York Times called the work "splendid" and "dazzling." Tonight we here in Houston can be dazzled by both the magical power of fairy godmothers and the wondrously human power of the ballet. 7:30 p.m. (See Thrills, Dance for other dates and times.) Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas, 227-ARTS. $10-$88.
Roseanna Vitro Borders Books in Meyerland hosts musical events regularly, and tonight it features something special. Roseanna Vitro, who began her career in Houston, sings jazz like few others do. In the words of a Chicago Reader critic, she sounds as if her voice "could physically move the stage -- reaching down for something slow and sultry, she brings a hothouse sensuality to her music." Tonight, as part of the Houston Jazz Festival, she'll perform songs from her latest release, a compilation of Ray Charles tunes. Come, listen and if you buy a CD, she'll probably autograph it. 8-10 p.m. Borders Books, Music & Cafe, Meyerland Plaza, Loop 610 at Beechnut, 661-2888. Free.
Romper Room We call it play when a kid builds head-high towers with blocks, or when she cuts off Barbie's hair and glues it to her plastic horse. When grownups do the same, we call it art. Of course, those adults tend to be consciously subversive, sexual and political as they draw and glue and stack; that's part of what makes their stuff art. Still, that thoughtful time artists spend in the studio is colored by the distant shadows of their childhood play. And therein lies the concept of a new DiverseWorks show: examining "the zone in which art and play collide." Twenty artists throughout the nation have contributed work for Romper Room, a traveling show organized by Thread Waxing Space in New York. Tonight marks the opening reception. 7-9 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. Free.
Jack and Jill The battle between the sexes has been a central theme of comedy since Aristophanes's Lysistrata decided that she and all her sister Athenians would withhold their "favors" till the menfolk realized that making love is infinitely better than making war. Fast forward to 1996, when Pulitzer-nominated playwright Jane Martin writes her own take on this ancient struggle. Jack and Jill has been called a "touching, cautionary and, yes, very funny dissection of the human heart." It is the story of a man and woman who fall in love but find that her need to articulate her feelings collides with his desire to be quiet about touchy-feely stuff. Sound familiar? Rob Bundy, who begins his second year as Stages's artistic director and whose credits include productions at Actors Theatre in Louisville and Circle Repertory Lab in New York, will direct. Runs thru Oct. 12. Opens 8 p.m. tonight at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway, 527-0220. $25-$28, opening night; $15-$21, regular performances.
Houston Women's Festival Move over Lilith Fair: The Houston Women's Festival is an all-day affair featuring music, comedy, music, art and then of course, more music, all female, all righteous and many from right here in Texas. The Therapy Sisters and Cowboy's Nightmare are just two of the six acts singing today. Most promising of all is the duo that headlines: Zrazy hails all the way from Ireland, plays a critically acclaimed mishmash of Irish-influenced techno-pop/jazz/ballad music and has played it in London, Vienna and Amsterdam. Celebrate your femaleness. 1:30 p.m. to midnight. Garden in the Heights, 3926 Feagan, 868-1910. $10, advance; $12, door; $5, children ten16; free, children under ten.
Terry Fox Run Years ago, Terry Fox lost his right leg to cancer. So he did what any sane man would do: He set out on a 5,300-mile run across Canada in hopes of raising people's awareness of cancer. He ran 3,399 miles and raised $24 million before losing his life to the disease. Inspired by his courage, others have taken up his cause. This year marks the 16th Terry Fox Run for Cancer. Registration, 6-7 a.m. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 652-6206. $20, 5K; $10, kids' 1K.
Gail Donahue Storey Way before publishing her first novel, The Lord's Motel, Houston writer Gail Donahue Storey was gathering her students into a big circle and imparting to them all her wisdom about the craft of writing. Back then, in the late '80s, she was known to her University of Houston progeny as patient, wise and, most of all, kind. Her take on humanity and its foibles is loving: In her books, outlandish characters find themselves in preposterous situations -- a librarian, for instance, discovers that she has become the unwitting star of a bachelor party. This weekend, Storey shares her good heart and big brain in a three-hour writing workshop. Its very timely subject: "the power of memoir to help revitalize ourselves." 9 a.m.-noon. Spiritual Heights Wellness Center, 508 Pecore, 864-4325. $35.
Power of Houston Houston Industries has been putting on the granddaddy of festivals to beat out all festivals this week, covering more than 12 downtown city blocks with five separate stages. Today enjoy more than 25 bands and performing events, including such diverse groups as the Zydeco Dots, the Hollisters, Vince Vance and the Valiants, and the Righteous Brothers. It all culminates at 10 p.m. with a fireworks display that's said to include "thousands of pyrotechnic effects," "12 tons of explosives" and laser lights. All this excitement will originate from over 60 sites, including building rooftops and ground locations. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Downtown Houston between Dallas, Milam, Rusk and Bagby, 684-6465. $5, adults; $2, children under 12; free, children under three.
Walk for Diabetes Sixteen million Americans, including 200,000 in Harris County, have diabetes. It's the fourth-largest cause of death in this country, killing more folks than AIDS or breast cancer. And if it doesn't kill, the complications that come from the disease, including loss of limbs and blindness, are devastating. Coerce, badger and beg your neighbors, friends and enemies to pledge some pennies for every mile you walk, and join the more than 2,000 others who are trying to raise funds for diabetes research. 7 a.m., check-in; 8 a.m., walk begins, Meyerland Plaza at Loop 610 and Beechnut, (800) 254-WALK.
A Plethora of Peppers for Purposes Practical and Peculiar Today local chefs will gather together and peel, pan-fry, parboil, poach and otherwise prepare plenty of peppers, producing a plentiful, palatable paradise of pepper dishes. The public is invited to partake; proceeds will permit Urban Harvest to pursue its pledge to plant organic produce. 47 p.m. Rainbow Lodge, #1 Birdsall, 880-5540. $25.
Live Looking back, '95 was a magical year for Live. The band lunged dramatically from a promising "Buzz Bin" phenomenon into the multi-platinum stratosphere a bit sooner than anyone could've imagined. During the lengthy Throwing Copper tour, the group's live show has all the gusty force of U2's super-earnest productions circa War, minus the quasi-militant overtones. Today the intense, teeth-grinding shtick of bandleader Ed Kowalczyk has a tendency to wear an audience down, but there's no denying the power of the band's pummeling rhythm section. And in a year defined by ditzy No Doubt disposability and electronica's faceless synthetic gurgles and farts, there's always room for a little ferocity. Luscious Jackson and Manbreak open. 7 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, 629-3700. $15-$30.
Thom Gunn The Margarett Root Brown Houston Reading Series is the best in the city, featuring some of the most famous, erudite and even controversial writers committing their ideas to paper. Thom Gunn, a poet and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, opens the program this year reading from his latest book, Collected Poems; perhaps he'll share with the audience some poems that have yet to be published. 8 p.m. Brown Auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 734-3013. Free.
Finding the Love of Your Life Now that's a title that promises all sorts of interesting workshop mates. Carl Hamilton, the singles pastor at First Presbyterian Church, suggests that there is a much sounder way to find your one-and-only than by listening to your woefully wrong-headed heart. Instead, Hamilton urges that you follow the "ten proven principles for choosing a companion" and discover the "seven premarital danger signs." He'll explain those precepts in a free series of eight classes, open to singles in their twenties, thirties and forties. The workshop literature promises "plenty of opportunities for class participation." No preregistration is required, and child care is provided. 7-8:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main, 526-2525. Free.