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Inanimate Objects

Beast falls flat in the move from film to stage

Heading up the energetic troupe of performers is Carmeli, who has managed to make the role of Sugar her very own. That's no easy task, considering the part was made famous by the indomitable Marilyn Monroe. Every bit her own style of bombshell, the curvy, blond Carmeli also can belt out a song that will knock you to the back of your seat. When she sings "People in My Life," her gorgeous voice swells and catches with all the big-hearted emotion any Broadway moment could ask for.

Gulan and Hanket don't have the distinctive energies that made the performances by Lemmon and Curtis so memorable on the big screen. But they seem to be having a great time on stage and are fun to watch, despite the material they're working with.

William Ryall as Spats, the tap-dancing gangster, heads up a large chorus of tappers, who inspired rousing rounds of applause. And Curtis is charming most of all because he's such a good sport about all the old-man jokes. The opening-night audience leaped to its feet when he stood in the middle of a chorus line of women who danced around him as he stomped about a bit, kicking up his heels here and there while grinning from ear to ear. The moment is bizarre -- Curtis doesn't so much dance as wiggle. Throughout the show, someone was always there to steady him or grab him should he fall. On the other hand, Curtis has such a winningly modest stage presence it's hard not to be won over.

Appropriately, the game Curtis stays surrounded by nurses.
Theatre Under The Stars
Appropriately, the game Curtis stays surrounded by nurses.

Details

Beauty and the Beast
Through June 14 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. $21.25-$63.25.

Some Like It Hot
Through June 23 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, 713-558-TUTS. $25-$68.

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Some Like It Hot is a long way from great theater. But anyone who loves big old-time musicals will enjoy these terrific performers. If it's story you're looking for, rent the film.

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