Flat Fee

Employee relations get sticky in Promises, Promises

It’s not a bad deal: In Promises, Promises, young corporate drone and “nice guy” Chuck Baxter (Joel Sandel) agrees to lend his pad to company executives for extramarital trysts. In exchange, he’s promised a raise, a promotion and, hopefully, free laundry service. But things get messy when Chuck starts to like one of the dumped trystees (Doris Davis), who then tries to commit suicide. The play, based on the 1968 musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the 1960 film The Apartment, is actually warm holiday fare. Chuck finds out — drumroll, please — what really matters in life, and, of course, hilarity ensues! (What else would you expect from one-man-genre Neil Simon on the words and cheesemeisters Burt Bacharach and Hal David on the music?) If you’re up for spending your New Year’s Eve with horny executives and the schlubs who hook them up, visit Main Street Theater on Friday, December 31, for a gala performance, which includes champagne, gourmet desserts, a live band and dancing. Show opens Thursday, December 30, and runs through January 22. 4617 Montrose. For information and showtimes, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $13 preview; $20 to $30 regular; $75 New Year’s Eve. — Bob Ruggiero

Sounds Like a Party

Super Happy Fun Land brings the New Year’s noise

Joel Sandel and Doris Davis
Debbie Porter
Joel Sandel and Doris Davis
Vicki Farrell, Rich Mills and Steve Farrell
Courtesy of Radio Music Theatre
Vicki Farrell, Rich Mills and Steve Farrell
Robert Earl Keen
Courtesy of Conqueroo Communications
Robert Earl Keen

Music is overrated. Think about it: predetermined chords, comforting mama-heartbeat rhythms. Don’t even get us started on harmony — so predictable, so inside-the-box. Noise is where it’s at, especially when it comes to partying. After all, it’s no coincidence that more noisemakers are sold on New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year. The good folks at Super Happy Fun Land know this and are doing their spiritual duty by hosting their annual New Year’s Noise Fest. Eardrums will bleed, seizures will be had, and all conventional wisdom about tone production will be ignored as 15 noise acts — like Ohio’s Black Mayonnaise, California’s Rainbow Blanket and Houston’s very own Organ Failure — do the “Auld Lang Syne” deep into 2005. 8 p.m. Friday, December 31. 2610 Ashland. For information, call 713-880-2100 or visit www.superhappyfunland.com. $8. — Scott Faingold

Comedy Countdown

The folks at Radio Music Theatre want you to know that they won’t be here to entertain you forever. In 2009, Steve and Vicki Farrell and Rich Mills will close the door to their venerable tradition of kooky stage comedy. Things start winding down tonight at their New Year’s Eve festivities, which feature the group’s final performance of Last Night at Orabella’s. There also will be a catered meal, champagne at midnight and live rock tunes and dancing courtesy of the Radio Music Theatre band. See what kind of party these actors can stage at 8 p.m. Friday, December 31. 2623 Colquitt. For information, call 713-522-7722 or visit www.radiomusictheatre.com. $59, includes meal. — Steven Devadanam

Keen on Country

Amateur musicians, here’s your moment. New Year’s Eve revelers can blow their plastic horns in accompaniment to the country rhythms of Robert Earl Keen, known for his blend of sensitive storytelling and upbeat, good-times tunes. Houston welcomes back the homegrown singer with hats, horns and a balloon drop, beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, December 31. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information and tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.thehobbycenter.org. Tickets start at $27.50. — Julia Ramey

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