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Saloon Songs Those wonderful entertainers at Music Box Theater get their twang on for Saloon Songs, their spirited foray into country music. The show, an absolute crowd-pleaser. is as comfy as a well-worn pair of jeans and as refreshing as a long neck, or two. They turn the intimate venue on Colquitt into the best little honky-tonk on the bayou. Although irreplaceable, co-founder Rebekah Dahl is taking time off after the birth of her little baby cowboy, so proud father Brad Scarborough and the other three intrepid troupers (Cay Taylor, Kristina Sullivan and Luke Wrobel) carry on with the boot-scootin.' As in all their revues, the four mix and match their prodigious musical talents in a rodeo of solos, duets, trios or a cappella numbers, each member getting to shine on his or her own in a number especially designed for that performer's particular vocal personality. The plot is a wisp of a thing: Four people who all intend to be somewhere else stumble into a bar during a dust storm. Since there's already a band in place, why not sing their troubles and dreams? A little goofy comedy and bad puns keep the wagon wheels rolling, but it's the incredible singing that lifts MBT into blue heaven. If you're familiar with these theater pros, you already know what miracles they perform when they get their hands on the American Songbook, so it's no surprise at all to hear their supple way around country and bluegrass. These guys and sexy little ladies know how to put across a song. Most often, under their loving treatment, the way they sing a song turns it into the definitive version. This is something to behold, and Music Box Theater's ace in the hole. Take, for example, Wrobel's rendition of Lionel Ritchie's ballad "Stuck on You." Okay, not every song in the revue is pure country, but where it falls in the show, this easy-listening tune makes perfect sense. Wrobel's honeyed baritone wraps around such pop sentiment as "I'll be with you till the end; guess I'm on my way; mighty glad you stayed," and breaks your heart with understated intensity. Or wallow in Scarborough's sincere sweetness for the Eagles' plaintive "Desperado," or his rockin' Elvis on "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog." Taylor, who plays a comically psychotic serial murderer, goes all scary for Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" (with Wrobel and Scarborough hullabalooing wildly in the background), and then magnificently reverses direction and softly charms during Alison Krauss's "When You Say Nothing At All." Sullivan ups the wattage in Reba McEntire's low-down "Fancy," and then mesmerizes with Joni Mitchell's haunting "All I Want," her crystalline soprano in sync with the plaintive fiddle of Alisa Pederson. Throughout the night, Pederson's exquisite music-making adds a fifth person to the onstage quartet. Her playing wails, weeps and laughs. Under Glenn Sharp (keyboard), Mark McCain (steel guitar), Long Le (bass) and Donald Payne (percussion), the band has never sounded better. Boot-scoot over to Colquitt for this country-fried revue. These urban cowboys will take you for a melodic hayride into the warmest, loveliest sunset. Weekends through October 26. 2623 Colquitt, 713-522-7722. — DLG

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays Nine short plays with a common theme — gay marriage — have been gathered into an evening of entertainment. They avoid polemics, proselytizing and anger, and instead center on loving, long-term relationships, newly-mets, and articulate, voluble mothers. The plays lend themselves to being read with scripts on music stands, as is done here. The writing is superb, and watching master playwrights at work is one of the many pleasures of the evening. Two of the plays are by Paul Rudnick, and they are brilliant and hilarious. In The Gay Agenda, a distraught mother insists that she has no prejudice but fears gays, and her paranoia deepens as she hears imaginary gay voices telling her she needs to lose weight and that her home is poorly decorated. In My Husband, a mother is proud of her gay son but deeply disappointed that he is not yet married; she sets out to remedy this, and just as you think it can't get any funnier, it does, as Rudnick piles on new and inventive riffs. Marcy Bannor plays both mothers, and is a paragon of energy and comic timing. Neil LaBute surprises with a tender love story, beautifully crafted, and sensitively performed by Randall Jobe and Lynn Miller. Equally moving is London Mosquitos by Moises Kaufman, as a surviving partner gives the eulogy for his lover. On Facebook, by Craig Wright, satirizes a running thread of debate between a homophobic divorcee and more liberal view-holders, and is original and witty. The evening is co-directed by Jimmy Phillips and Ron Jones, and its entertainment value is primarily mainstream and can be enjoyed by anyone who is a mensch, though grinches need not apply. Through September 29. From Celebration Theatre at the Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, 2025 E. 11th, 832-330-5478. — JJT

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