It might be the stellar lineup of veteran talent that draws audiences to the world premiere of Tony-winning writer Ken Ludwig's new comedy Be My Baby -- and rightly so. Husband-and-wife duo Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter "bring with them a delicious chemistry that just infuses the story," says director and native Houstonian John Rando, himself a Tony winner for Urinetown. But it just might be the synchronistic story about two couples that will pack a memorable, quiet punch for theatergoers. In Baby, a transatlantic journey from San Francisco to Scotland represents second chances for two couples. A young couple is trying to adopt a baby after suffering a miscarriage. Along the way, her aunt and his uncle (Carter and Holbrook) develop a romance of their own.
The love isn't just in the script, though. New York-based Rando gushes that "it's a real thrill" to return to Houston and have a show at the Alley Theatre, where he watched plays as a teenager. "I'm coming home to do what I love to do," he says. Baby runs Thursday, October 6, through October 23. Hubbard Stage, 615 Texas. For tickets and information, call 713-228-8421 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $19 to $55. -- Mary Templeton
Hail to the King
Be My Baby
Bluesman B.B. comes to the beach
Once upon a time, a young kid billing himself as the Beale Street Blues Boy hitchhiked from Mississippi to Memphis and brought a fresh urban sound to rural blues and gospel. But that was a hell of a long once-upon-a-time-ago. Eventually, B.B. King would unapologetically drop the gritty blues and shoot straight for legend-making, ultra-refined showbiz. And why should he apologize? Hey, you try singing the bad-news blues every day for 50 years. At age 80, he's one of the most consummate showmen still strutting the boards, and showbiz or no, he remains the King of the Blues. The king holds court 8 p.m. Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice in Galveston. For tickets and reservations, call 800-821-1894 or visit www.thegrand.com. $39 to $98. -- Mary Templeton
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It's hard to believe that Henry Rollins, a onetime USO veteran and front man of the legendary punk group Black Flag, has since become a solo artist (remember his '90s screaming love anthem, "Liar"?), Grammy-winning spoken-word artist, entrepreneur, TV host and ad pitchman. Apparently, the irony of a man who always preached keeping it real becoming a TV personality isn't lost on Rollins, who's dubbed his spoken-word show the "25 Years of Bullshit" tour. See him spew his hatred for the Bush administration and the vapidity of pop culture -- and maybe plug his show on the Independent Film Channel -- at 8 p.m. Friday, October 7. The Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For tickets and information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $20. -- Steven Devadanam
Comedians live for that one bit that will immortalize them forever in comedy clubs and at water coolers. For Saturday Night Live alum Kevin Nealon, it was his Subliminal Man, who not-so-subtly spoke the truth under his breath. See the legend (goof) at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 6; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $20 to $29.50. -- Steven Devadanam