Small but hyperactive Houston theater groups dos chicas theater commune and Mildred's Umbrella Theater Troupe are collaborating on two decadent one-act Christmas comedies. Immaculate Contraception and Sadomasochistic Xmas were both written and directed by dos chicas's Bob Morgan. His last comedy, Where's My Dinner, Bitch?, was so well received, it ran twice this year.Immaculate takes a funny and irreverent look at the birth of our Lord and Savior. Characters include a lesbian God with a thing for Mary; Joseph as one of history's biggest dupes; a drunk angel played by Morgan himself in nothing but wings; and Satan.
The Gospel According to Luke, it isn't. And leave the kids at home, because Sadomasochistic Xmas is even more disturbing.
It's a dark, dark story about a secretly kinky husband and wife, played by Mildred's co-founder John Harvey and dos chicas's Anne Zimmerman. Their favorite Christmas tradition is introducing a lucky couple to the pleasures of the paddle. A little torture, domination, humiliation and electricity persuades them how gosh-darned fun a sound whipping can be. 'Tis better to give than to receive. 8 p.m. December 12 through 27. Helios, 411 Westheimer. For a schedule, call 713-201-0193. $5-$10. -- Scott Nowell
Too Much Is Never Enough
While it's perfectly acceptable to display your wealth (Mercedes, mansion, multi-carat bling), discussing it is still a no-no. Playwright Marty Pottenger is challenging that reality with her new work, Abundance. What you'll see on stage is the result of hundreds of interviews Pottenger conducted with millionaires and minimum-wage workers, asking the questions, "How much do you have?" and "What is enough?" By bringing their answers out into the open, Pottenger hopes to educate audiences about money itself. "Anyone on the have-more side has experienced a tremendous taboo about talking about money," she says. "How do people get smart about anything? By talking and listening. If we can't talk about money, then we must not be very smart about it yet." 8 p.m. Thursday, December 11, through Saturday, December13. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information and tickets, call 713-335-3445 or visit www.diverseworks.org. $15; $10 for members; $8 for students and seniors. -- Lisa Simon
She Ran Calling Rudolph
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The cowboy songs that Michael Martin Murphey sings, including his big, horsey hit "Wildfire," are inspired by his experience as a rancher and early country music preservationist. With his touring show, Cowboy Christmas, Murphey has shown that misty-eyed romanticism for the Old West is well suited to the holiday music season. Murphey -- now billed as America's No. 1 Cowboy Singer -- will share songs about the trail and the open range along with Christmas favorites and cowboy poetry. Imagine Santa trading in his sleigh for a covered wagon, and you'll get the picture. 7 p.m. Saturday, December 13. Cullen Theater at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For more information, call 713-227-4SPA or visit www.spahouston.org. $36.25 to $46.25. -- Rob Patterson
Franz Goes Down
If you think you know all there is to know about mild-mannered Kevin Nealon from his nine seasons on Saturday Night Live, you could be in for a racy surprise. Nealon the anchor may be buttoned up, but Nealon the stand-up lets it all hang out. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, December 11; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13. Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $20 to $29.50. -- Lisa Simon