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Lucas Priolo and Julie Gumbinner
Lucas Priolo and Julie Gumbinner
Courtesy of DWDT

First Dance

Talk about backstage romance. In November 2003, while they were performing the lead roles in Houston Ballet's Cinderella, dancer Lucas Priolo proposed to his real-life storybook princess Julie Gumbinner -- just before the curtain went up. At the encore, Priolo came on stage with ring on pillow, falling to one knee -- ladies, you can gush now; guys, you may puke -- to seal the deal, complete with form-fitting tights. Dominic Walsh of Dominic Walsh Dance Theater was so touched by the moment between his two friends (and now company members) that he choreographed For the Two of You, an entire original work for them to perform. Antoine Plante of Mercury Baroque also worked on the piece, suggesting the music of Italian baroque composer Giovanni Bononcini as the soundtrack. "They are beautiful dancers and even more beautiful people," Walsh says. "And it's been really wonderful and interesting taking a different approach...with this piece. I wanted to explore them on an artistic and simple level." For the Two of You will debut at the DWDT show "Encore!," which also will feature a review of some of the company's greatest hits. Now who says fairy tales can't come true? 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For tickets, call 713-315-2525 or visit $18 to $45. -- Bob Ruggiero

Painful Piano

A local musician suffers for her art, and for you

SAT 5/21

It's the professional musician's tennis elbow -- or rather, tendon. A joint condition so painful you can, at times, barely move your hands and wrists, tendonitis can kill a career. Classical pianist Loreta Kovacic knows the pain well. "But acupuncture saved my ass," she says. Now, she's back tickling the ivories -- literally. "I used to play heavy-duty 20th-century music and pound the keys," she says. Her key-pounding days are over, but you can join her for the Tortured Tendon Tour, where Kovacic will play romantic classics from Chopin, Brahms and Beethoven. With a special introduction by the Art Guys, the show promises to be anything but painful -- for you, anyway. "Hopefully, people won't be in pain while they're listening," says Kovacic with a laugh. "If they are, I'll refund their money." Bring your appreciation for the classics (and maybe some aspirin for Kovacic) at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 21. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard. For tickets, visit $20. -- Steven Devadanam

Ladies of Steel

Okay, you'll have to watch the 1989 movie adaptation if you want to see Julia Roberts bite the dust, but there's plenty to recommend in the stage version of Robert Harling's tear-jerking comedy-drama Steel Magnolias. With eminently quotable, seriocomic lines like "I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair," the show has managed to remain the front-runner in the crowded tough-but-lovably-eccentric-Southern-woman genre. Plus, with the recent success of the whole Barbershop and Beauty Shop thing, the single-setting, gossip-fest format is hip all over again. Well, kiss our grits. Show runs through June 5. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-228-8421 or visit $19 to $45. -- Scott Faingold

Atta Boy, Junior

SAT 5/21

You know his getup: the trademark folded-up cowboy hat, the suit and tie, the pointy black cowboy boots. He looks every bit the country rocker, and fortunately there's substance behind Junior Brown's style. The man who's famous for his bass-baritone voice and frenzied finger work on his double-neck guitar is pushing his new album, Down Home Chrome. Rock out to Brown's songs about beer and hotrods at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 21. 133 South Mechanic in El Campo. For tickets, call 979-543-1757 or visit $12. -- Steven Devadanam


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