While the rest of the set is onstage in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center, a crucial centerpiece -a bar - has been carefully built in a nearby rehearsal hall so that the actors in Murder Ballad can run through their paces for the upcoming TUTS Underground production.
Tuesday we sat in on a rehearsal as Theatre Under the Stars Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin watched the four actors go from one pop rock song to another in the murder mystery tale whose cast includes a lovers' triangle and a narrator.
Not only do you have to wait till the end to find out who the murderer is, you won't know the victim for much of the show. (We left before they got to that part.)
Before the show itself, audience members will be allowed to come up on stage (doors open 55 minutes before the show) and have a drink at the bar which will be moved from the practice hall in plenty of time for the 80-minute, one-act show, Lumpkin says. During the show, some VIP audience members will actually be able to sit at the bar during the performance.
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Here's a look at what you'll see thanks to our videographer and Art Director Monica Fuentes. Of course on stage there will be more than just a piano accompaniment and the actors will be in full makeup and miked. Till then, use your imagination. And after all, how often do you get to see the hard prep work behind the magic?
Murder Ballad runs April 17 through 27 at the Hobby Center's Zilka Hall, 800 Bagby. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tutsunderground.com. $24-$39.