If you have sweet memories of Judy Garland skipping down the yellow brick road with her trio of misfits, beset by a cackling Margaret Hamilton and aided by a giddy Billie Burke and that adorable little Toto, you might resist the familiar show's Broadway spin-off, Wicked. Based on Gregory Maguire's hugely successful adult fairy-tale novel, Wicked removes the book's sexy subtext and replaces it with Broadway glitz and political correctness. But enough bitching. There's no denying this juggernaut. The ridiculously popular blockbuster musical has become a cult phenomenon. A prequel to the Garland version, Wicked imagines Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West (called Elphaba in book and show) meeting as college roommates in Oz. Glinda, who arrives in a bubble, is ditsy, superficial and "Popular" (her best number), and Elphaba is, well, green -- with a chip on her shoulder the size of a rather large Munchkin. Expect the Wicked maniacs in the audience to scream in appreciation when Elphaba, in her rock anthem "Defying Gravity" (her best number), becomes wicked and rises on her broomstick like the Phantom's chandelier. Show runs Tuesdays though Sundays through November 13. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. $30.25 to $77.25. -- D.L. Groover
What Was That!?
Spook yourself with Skyline Screamers
If you've always thought the best stories were the ones punctuated with gasps and ending with "and the call came from inside the house," then don't miss Skyline Screamers, the annual scary performance put on by the Houston Storytellers Guild in the great outdoors. The live campfire tales will start out mild and silly but get progressively chilling as darkness falls. Bring a picnic blanket, gather on the lawn under the trees, and let the veteran storytellers spin cobwebs in your head. A fluffy teddy bear is optional, but we won't blame you if you need, er, want one. 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, October 29. Marmion Park, 1802 Heights Boulevard. For information, call 281-775-9318 or visit www.houstonstorytellers.org. Free. -- Mary Templeton
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Ikue Mori's signature sound is loaded with electronics created by laptops, drum machines and samplers. The former drummer of the influential no-wave band DNA, who has released a dozen albums on John Zorn's Tzadik label, performs this weekend with electric harpist Zeena Parkins. The Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins Duo offers pulsing, syncopated beats against lush, swirling electric melodies. It's beautiful noise, expansive and addictive, and it'll leave you wanting Mori. 8 p.m. Friday, October 28. Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For tickets, call 713-928-5653 or visit www.pofinc.org/houston. $10 to $13; free for kids 18 and under. -- Travis Ritter
Building a Mystery
Psophonia Dance Company's mysterious Phantasia 2005 is a series of quick dances that project an artistic mirage of fantasy and ponder what lies beyond earthly reality. PDC holds a fund-raising event and reception onstage immediately following the Friday performance. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.uniquelyhouston.org. $20. -- Mary Templeton