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Obsidian Art Space

3522 White Oak Drive
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Theaters

Region: Heights

Main Street Theater

2540 Times Blvd.
Houston, TX 77005

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Kirby-West U

Stages Repertory Theatre

3201 Allen Parkway
Houston, TX 77019

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: River Oaks

Theater Lab Houston

3522 White Oak
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Heights

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[title of show] The strangely named [title of show] is simply wonderful. It's a fountain of energy and talent, dancing its way into our hearts as four young performers cavort on a nearly bare stage and, in an intermission-less 110 minutes, reach deeply within to make us share their dreams and aspirations. I use the word "dancing" because they seem never to be still; their motto is, apparently, "Why walk across the stage when you can dance across it?" Superbly directed and choreographed by Jimmy Phillips, the movements enhance the action while adding humor and authenticity. I totally believed what was happening onstage — this is rare for a musical comedy, and its triumphant success may be that it was written by two guys huddled together in a room instead of being cobbled together by a committee. The plot is simplicity itself, how two artists sat down to create in three weeks a musical that made it in several stages to B'way, bringing the audience with it to cheer it on. Jeff Bowen wrote the music and lyrics, and he is portrayed by the ebullient and charming Mitchell Greco, looking like a teenager with a mop of hair to be reckoned with. The book was written by Hunter Bell, portrayed with variety, style and unflagging energy by Corey Hartzog. They rope in two female friends to make a showbiz quartet: Susan, portrayed by Danica Johnston, a tall blond beauty with a jawline most women would gladly kill for, and Heidi, portrayed by Beth Lazarou, who brings the same sincerity and warm appeal she showed in the recent Gone Missing at Theatre LaB. The musical direction and the music are provided — and very well indeed — by Adam Stout on the keyboard. The pace is unflagging, the relationships interesting, the characters wildly different yet blending into a smooth ensemble in both acting and singing. Many of the obscure showbiz names that are dropped will pass unrecognized, but it hardly matters. The play is fun throughout, but I especially liked the staging of "Awkward Photo Shoot," in which artistic disagreements shift effortlessly into flawless smiles whenever a photographer's flashbulb goes off, and "Monkeys and Playbills," in which theater archives are searched for inspiration. The songs are not destined to be classics, but the memory of a light-hearted, warm parable much like The Little Engine that Could will linger on. [title of show] is one of the most enjoyable productions of the season — it is definitely not to be missed. Through June 12. Theatre LaB, 1706 Alamo, 713-868-7516.  — JT

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