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You Gotta Have Heart

Stages scores with a tender West Texas transplant

In fact, individual songs such as "Serve Yourself" spark with promise. Sung by energetic keyboardist Jonathan Brown, the number is one of the best in the show. And Eric Scott Anthony's "Mona" rocks the audience into ecstatic waves of applause. But as a whole, the show lacks cohesion and energy. And most of this talent goes to waste under Curt Wollan's direction and Wendy Short-Hayes's clumsy choreography.

Especially disappointing is the last-minute feel of David Lutken's numbers. The tall, dark-haired, homespun, handsome singer plays the guitar, banjo and fill-in drums. He also has one of the smoothest honey-sweet voices to spread across any Houston theater in quite a while, and an enormously likable stage presence. But his songs lack heart.

Quackenbush elicits the awe of love as big-haired Hannah.
George Hixson
Quackenbush elicits the awe of love as big-haired Hannah.

Details

Heart of a Woman Through Sunday, August 12, at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For more information, call 713-527-0123. $32-$42.

Pump Boys and Dinettes Through Saturday, July 28, at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park. Free.

Of course the show is 100 percent free. And the summer nights haven't been this temperate in years. There's free stuff for the kids on the way in. And if you're lucky, almost everybody will be asleep before the whole thing is over.

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