Natives who wander away from Texas for a period of years soon miss its homespun charms. We yearn for tradition-bound places like Shiner and Muleshoe and Alpine and the eating of brisket and beans on back porches on midsummer evenings when the fireflies dance. Horton Foote is one charming, homespun Texan who never strayed from his roots. The Wharton native has made the Lone Star State his mise en scene, and he's made a ton of artistic hay doing it: His credits include the original screenplay Tender Mercies, the plays The Trip to Bountiful, Valentine's Day, Lily Dale and The Young Man from Atlanta and the screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. He's won a Pulitzer (for Young Man), two Oscars (for Mercies and Mockingbird) and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Foote continues Inprint's "The Play's the Thing: Three Playwrights & Their Work" series with an interview by the Alley Theatre's Michael Wilson, a reading and a Q&A session. 8 p.m. The Alley, 615 Texas. Info: 521-2026, 228-8241. $15; $10 for students and seniors.
It's hard enough to envision Hayley Mills as full-grown (and full-figured), harder still to imagine her in the role of warbling nursemaid to the massive brood sired by the King of Siam, as she does in The King and I. Many remember Mills as the pixy-faced do-gooder Pollyanna; pop-culture maniacs are mad about the Mills of 1961's The Parent Trap -- in which the young British actress played twins who plot to reconcile their divorced parents (a pre-Family Affair Brian Keith and the radiant Maureen O'Hara) by, among other things, performing a truly awful piece of period bubblegum pop. Thirty-seven years later, Hayley's singing better songs -- like "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance?" -- as part of the touring revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut. Vee Talmadge plays the King. Opening performances are at 8 tonight and Wednesday; more shows are scheduled April 9 through 12. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-3974. $46 to $52 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
Runners are single-minded about their sport -- actually, they're real bores -- so it's refreshing to encounter racers with a sense of humor, like those behind the third annual Tour de Bayou. Though the five-stage package is serious in intent -- "All of the courses are pretty tough," warns Jerry Fuqua, owner of the co-sponsoring organization RunSport -- its approach is lightfooted. Echoing Fuqua, the press release promises "steep hills, wooded trails, cliffs, swamps, killer rabbits, mighty mosquitoes and sneaky snakes." Today's race, named "The McLatchie Classic" after Houston coach Jim McLatchie, is a 6K that starts at 6 p.m. on the south side of Buffalo Bayou near Allen Parkway and Waugh. The Tour continues weekly, through May 6, at various locations; upcoming stages include "The Secret Tunnel Syndrome," "The Ho Chi Minh Trail" and "The Big Loop de Loop." Info: 524-6662. Free.