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  • Article

    A Juicy Steak - Cowboys, cowgirls and a little vegan lust hit the trail

    If the Marlboro Man is your cowboy thing, then Joey Berner's production of Steak! at the Actors Workshop might not be. Christi Stewart-Brown and Elizabeth Pringle's tongue-in-cheek musical -- which premiered last year in Washington, D.C., to great re...

    by Megan Halverson on July 25, 1996
  • Article

    Dumb and Dumber - The Nerd and Ten by Ten do little to liven up the season

    Anyone looking for a little theatrical substance to carry him through the doldrums of summer isn't likely to find it in the Alley's production of The Nerd, Larry Shue's comedy about a houseguest who won't leave and the frivolous antics that follow. L...

    by Megan Halverson on July 18, 1996
  • Article

    Sweet Stuff - Paul Kittelson's giant candy proves a summer treat

    If there's one thing Houston's summer heat is sure to dissolve, it's any attempt at snobbery. If you're like me, by early June your radio is reprogrammed from KUHF to the Buzz, and you've already started to understand the allure of plastic footgear a...

    by Shaila Dewan on July 18, 1996
  • Article

    Absolutely Super

    Brad Fraser has undoubtedly lost friends after they've seen his plays. The young Canadian playwright has a deserved reputation for cutting dialogue, vicious characters and, not incidentally, an ability to paint a startlingly accurate picture of gay l...

    by Megan Halverson on July 4, 1996
  • Article

    Crossed Cultures - Is "A" for Asia, America -- or both?

    The character of The Simpsons' convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetalon is as exaggerated as his name is long. But he's one of the few Asian immigrants seen on TV in recent memory, and his experiences (particularly his attempts to get a green c...

    by Shaila Dewan on July 4, 1996
  • Article

    Clever Dame - Agatha Christie dabbles in more than Black Coffee

    Despite her enormous popularity as a writer, Agatha Christie has never been a favorite of the intellectuals. Christie fans claim this has nothing to do with the quality of her work, and everything to do with the genre she worked in: mystery stories s...

    by Megan Halverson on June 27, 1996
  • Article

    Demon Rum - Stages gets a laugh out of the antics of The Drunkard

    I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for campy sentimentality. It's part of the reason I own four pets. It's also part of the reason I like Barry Manilow. It's not at all strange, then, that I found Manilow's music and lyrics for Stages' musical The Drunkard ...

    by Megan Halverson on June 20, 1996
  • Article

    Man Oh Man - At Weekend Gallery, madam, it's Adam

    Weekend Gallery director Martin Mercader had in mind an affirmative action of sorts when he put together his latest exhibit, "Atom." The title is a play on the name "Adam," and the works in the show represent the male body. Mercader felt that because...

    by Shaila Dewan on June 20, 1996
  • Article

    Woman to Woman

    Too often, the term "black theater" conjures up some sepia-toned memory of Raisin in the Sun or A Soldier's Play, works about the unavoidable oppression of poverty and ethnicity that focus on the African-American experience through the lens of the lo...

    by Megan Halverson on June 13, 1996
  • Article

    Shiny Happy Creatures

    In 1991, when she appeared on the Houston art scene as a Glassell School of Art Core Fellow, sculptor Sharon Engelstein's knack for distinguishing herself in group shows quickly earned her recognition as a rising star. "Shiny and New" at Texas Galler...

    by Shaila Dewan on June 13, 1996
  • Article

    Sleeping Dream

    The litmus test for a successful story ballet often lies in the choreographer's ability to hold onto the thread of the tale and let it pilot the dance. In this regard, the Houston Ballet's current production of The Sleeping Beauty has to be judged a ...

    by Megan Halverson on June 13, 1996
  • Article

    Love's Labors

    What is it about new plays and poets who live in the East Village? What is it about plays that love video? The answer may be Aristotelian in nature -- young playwrights have grown up so completely under the influence of TV that they can't write anyth...

    by Megan Halverson on June 6, 1996
  • Article

    Walking Man - Richard Long treads lightly on the earth -- and his audience's imagination

    In one of Rice professor (and Art Forum critic) Thomas McEvilley's oft-given lectures, he speculates that the earliest known art-making consisted of piling rounded stones in a heap. Because we can't determine the material purpose of these piles of st...

    by Shaila Dewan on June 6, 1996
  • Article

    Talk Soup - The Food Chain loves the sound of its own voice; luckily, so does the audience

    It would be hard to like playwright Nicky Silver if he weren't funny, and the same can be said about his new play, The Food Chain, at the Alley's Neuhaus Stage. In person, rather than chatting, Silver offers a monologue. Similarly, his play doesn't r...

    by Megan Halverson on May 30, 1996
  • Article

    New Shapes

    The Houston Ballet could be in trouble. That's one of the things that comes through clearly in the company's current production of Four Last Songs, Image and Bartok Concerto, three short works choreographed by Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevens...

    by Megan Halverson on May 30, 1996
  • Article

    Gunning for Laughs

    What would you get if you mixed the sibling rivalry and bad food of white trash culture with physical comedy and a little Harold Pinter? Probably something like Media Darlings, local playwright Joey Berner's new production at the Zocalo Theater. Play...

    by Megan Halverson on May 23, 1996
  • Article

    In Tune

    Take some greased hair, tight T-shirts and witty dialogue, mix in a little gospel and doo-wop music, and what do you have? John Jiler's Avenue X, now in production at Theater LaB. Originally produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York, Jiler's ...

    by Megan Halverson on May 16, 1996
  • Article

    Old-fashioned Heiress - The Alley treats Henry James faithfully, and the audience is the better for it

    For its final Large Stage show of the season, the Alley has decided to go traditional in a big way, reviving with almost academic faithfulness a play written in the 1940s that's based on a novel published in the 1880s. And though more than a century ...

    by Megan Halverson on May 16, 1996
  • Article

    Revival Time

    Unlike many of the operas that have been composed in the second half of the 20th century, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah is very accessible. It features some lovely arias, touching duets and stirring choruses -- elements often lacking in other modern oper...

    by Bruce Guynn on May 9, 1996
  • Article

    Poster Points

    Visitors to "Crime and Punishment and Other New Paintings," Peter Saul's current exhibit at Texas Gallery, are greeted by a Day-Glo rendition of the Mona Lisa blowing chunks. It's a lampoon that would work as an animated promo on cable -- a red-eyed ...

    by Shaila Dewan on May 9, 1996
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