In 1925, when the great Noel Coward was just a young buck in his twenties, he was already producing some great work, including the unforgettable Hay Fever. But it was his less memorable Fallen Angels that ruffled everyone's feathers that year. Bishops and old biddies alike were outraged at the story that concerns two bored housewives who pine for the same man. And -- my, oh, my! -- he's not married to either one. Coward's comedy was called "obscene" and "vulgar," which of course drew audiences to the show. Eighty years later, most critics agree that Fallen Angels was never one of the great wit's best. And citizens of the 21st century, who've been accosted by such "entertaining" prime-time images as Paris Hilton's censored butt crack, probably won't bat an eye at the play's "naughty" scene -- the married ladies get three sheets to the wind while waiting for their paramour to arrive.
But Company OnStage, which prides itself on presenting "amateur classics with patina," has seen fit to give the old farce a go. And while it probably won't shock anyone who's watched an evening of television in the past year, nothing can hold a candle to Coward's wit -- not even Miss Hilton's heinie. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 13. 536 Westbury Square. For information, call 713-726-1219. $10 to $14. -- Lee Williams
With more than 30 performances on The Late Show with David Letterman and countless other television appearances, Jake Johannsen is probably the most successful comic in America without a sitcom. It's not as if he hasn't tried -- his pilots just never seem to make it off the ground. "I like stand-up. A sitcom would be nice, but I like my job," Johannsen has said. "That's the best thing about this business: You can't get fired. If you're willing to take the punishment, you can stay in show business as long as you want." Considering the hilarity of his observational wit, we can't see how bad the punishment could be. After all, this is a guy whose HBO special, This'll Take About an Hour, was named by TV Guideas one of the "50 funniest TV moments of all time." 8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 12, through Sunday, February 15. Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway, 713-333-8800. $15 to $25. -- Keith Plocek
You won't hear the members of Pimpadelic complaining about haters at their shows. Whether they're spewing forth profanities or bragging about tag-teaming their groupies, these Fort Worth rap-rockers encourage audience enmity. Perhaps guitarist-vocalist Easy Jesus learned how notto work a crowd from his asshole uncle, country music legend David Allan Coe. As far as their sound goes, they describe it as "good old country music, ol' time rock and roll and old-school hip-hop thrown together like bar brawlers in the same drunk tank." If it seems like an unlikely mix, just remember what all three genres have in common: the ability to raise hell. 8 p.m. Friday, February 13. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak Drive. For information, call 713-862-3838 or visit www.fitzlive.com. $10. -- Keith Plocek
It's the final round of judging, and the sopranos are sweating bullets. Opera star and former competition winner Ana Maria Martinez will host the "Concert of Arias," in which young hopefuls will sing their lungs out for a shot at joining the acclaimed Houston Grand Opera Studio. 7 p.m. Thursday, February 12. Wortham Theater Center's Cullen Theater, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-546-0277 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $35. -- Lisa Simon