As Bad Dates opens, Haley Walker knowingly asks the audience, "Do you like my shoes?" It's an empowering moment for women -- who understand the power of sexy shoes -- and a tantalizing one for men. The one-woman play follows New Yorker Haley, a fortysomething restaurant manager, single mom and shoe fanatic, as she jumps back into the dating pool. Alley Theatre resident Annalee Jefferies plays the character, dishing to the audience while getting dressed. She covers everything from her Jimmy Choo shoes to her hilarious dating fiascoes with guys like "Cholesterol Man" and "Bug Guy." "Women in their late twenties, early thirties are all over it," says Jefferies, who encourages audience participation in the show. "They totally relate."
Despite obvious similarities, Jefferies feels the shoe-centered Dates is more than just Sex and the City for the stage (incidentally, she has worked with the cable series' Chris Noth of "Mr. Big" fame off-Broadway). "It's a funny show, but people don't realize they're going to participate in a scary, emotional and honest thing," she says. Watch Haley bare all ("I even take off my bra -- come on, diet!" says Jefferies) from Friday, March 4, through April 3. 615 Texas. For tickets and show times, call 713-228-8421 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $28 to $40. – Steven Devadanam
The Bus Stops Here
Amalia Ortiz takes you on a wild ride with Public Transit
She is woman, hear her rhyme: This week, native Texan Amalia Ortiz kicks off the first of three one-woman shows at Talento de Bilingue de Houston. Ortiz's world premiere of Spoken Broken Words: Otra Esa on the Public Transit takes the audience through her adventures and misadventures on the public transportation system in South Texas. (Ortiz also has appeared in three seasons of HBO's Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and the indie flick Speeder Kills.) Ortiz will mull over issues like self-identity and her problems with wannabe suitors attempting to woo her on the bus. The 90-minute production includes stand-up comedy and spoken word. Get on the bus at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5. 333 South Jensen Drive. For tickets and information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.org. $10 to $12. -– Amanda Orr
Bet you've never heard Van Morrison segue into Napalm Death before. Your chance is now: "Voyage to Mars," a new work from dancer Daniel Adame (formerly of Suchu Dance), is set to video, spoken word and experimental music. The piece, half choreographed and half improvised, finds a young man searching for home and encountering trials en route at the hands of "super-human witness-angels." Though the show incorporates narration and commentary from comedian Paul Oddo, Adame says it is "dark," "somber" and even "borderline macabre." 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3, through Saturday, March 5. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit www.diverseworks.org. $15. –- Julia Ramey
The Straight Proops
Greg Proops has made a career crossing the Atlantic sharing his snarky, witty and impossibly dry humor. The guy best remembered for his role on Whose Line Is It Anyway? can be seen on BBC chat shows, Comedy Central, late-night TV and now, here, at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, and 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $22 to $29. -– Steven Devadanam