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Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Ladies at the Alamo Known for a slew of young-adult novels as well as his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, playwright Paul Zindel penned this heartfelt tribute to Houston's regional theater scene after the Alley premiered Marigolds in 1964. Ladies is a big old-fashioned confessional drama, somewhat akin to Mart Crowley's earlier Boys in the Band. And it's just as gay. The story centers around Alamo Theatre, which, celebrating its first anniversary in its upscale new home, is teetering on the fault line of a major internal earthquake. Quirky artistic director/founder Dede Cooper (Barbara Lasater) is about to be pushed aside by rich patron Joanne Remington (Maud Ella Lindsley), who wants former Alamo actress Shirley Fuller (Stacie Williams) to take her place. Dede's best friend, town tramp Bella Gardner (Lisa Schofield), smells a rat and zeroes in on Dede's secretary Suits (Zona Jane Meyer) as the Judas who's betraying them. Each character has secrets to unload and skeletons in her closet, and these five roles are juicy. The ladies, in true soap-opera fashion, reveal their melodramatic tales with gusto and panache, thanks to the swift pacing of director Bob Maddox. Meanwhile, there's the sex offender across the street to ogle, numerous bourbons to be drunk, and that stuffed "bull's goober" -- that's dried bull penis, to you -- to fondle. A fond tip of the hat to the ladies. Through June 3. Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury, 713-467-4497.

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