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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Bat Boy: The Musical , Debut Novelist Jennifer Mathieu and More

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Looking for a way to kick off your weekend? how about catching Bat Boy: The Musical, currently at Bayou City Theatrics, on Friday. Colton Berry, artistic director for the group, has been waiting to perform Bat Boy: The Musical for more than a decade. Berry first learned about a boy who was reportedly half-­bat, half-­boy from a series of absurd news stories in tabloids. “I remember seeing photos of the bat boy while waiting in the checkout line with my mother at the grocery store,” Berry tells us. Something about his face always stuck with me…I’m being totally serious.” A few years later, Berry heard about a musical based on the bat boy’s adventures. It played off­-Broadway and took the theater world by storm. “As soon as I was able, I grabbed a copy of the script and soundtrack. The show proved to be one of the most witty librettos and addicting musical scores I have [ever] encountered. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Berry, who plays Edgar (the name the bat boy is given when he’s captured), has undergone some significant physical changes in getting ready for the character. “When Edgar is discovered, he is frail and fragile, hairless and nearly blind. His teeth have all adapted into razor ­sharp fangs and his ears are extended to allow for his sonic ­hearing capabilities. I have lost around 20 pounds — through a healthy diet and exercise, I promise! I’ve steered clear of UV rays and shaved my head bald.” Prosthetic ears, contact lenses, a set of pointed fangs and body makeup complete the look.

See our 100 Creatives profile of Colton Berry.

While the story is over-­the-­top outrageous, Berry says the Bayou City Theatrics production is playing it straight. “Many productions of the show play heavy into farce and plead for cheap laughs. A note in the script from the playwright specifically points out that the best delivery of the material [comes] from a real, honest place. I knew we could do that.”

See Bat Boy: The Musical at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Through June 7. The Kaleidoscope, 705 Main. For information, visit bayoucitytheatrics.com. $30.

The "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom at Healy High School is filled with nasty postings about Alice. "Alice got an abortion last semester" and "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" among them. More stories about Alice are spread through the school: "Alice had sex with two boys at one party." When the school's star quarterback dies in a car crash, word gets out that it was because he was sexting with Alice at the time. That's when the rumors about Alice really get out of control.

On Friday, former writer and now debut novelist Jennifer Mathieu follows those rumors and the people who spread them in The Truth About Alice, a book for young adults that's set to be released this summer. A raw look at teen life, is told from alternating points of view as four students tell everything they know about Alice. But as they talk, the teens reveal their own motives to slant the story and disclose their own secrets; readers discover the truth about Alice might not be true at all.

See our 100 Creatives profile with Jennifer Mathieu.

Jennifer Mathieu reads from and signs The Truth About Alice at 7 p.m. Friday. Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial. For information, call 281­497­8675 or visit bluewillowbookshop.com. Free.

This story continues on the next page.

Houston metalsmith and educator Sandie Zilker gets recognized for the excellence of her work as well as the influence she's had on her field in "Texas Masters Series: Sandie Zilker," one of our choices for Saturday. The solo exhibit is a retrospective of work from Zilker's 40­-plus­-year career, including jewelry and, more recently, video and installation. In addition to exhibits at Finland's Designmuseo, Norway's Norden Feldske Kundiondustrimuseum and our own Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Zilker's work has been seen in several books (500 Brooches, 500 Bracelets, 500 Plastic and Resin Objects, and Showcase 500 Art Necklaces). Zilker is head of the Jewelry and Enamel Department and the Three Dimensional Design Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Glassell School of Art.

There's an opening reception with the artist 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 30. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays in June (only). Through September 6. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main. For information, call 713­529­4848 or visit ­crafthouston.org. Free.

Another choice for Saturday is the group exhibit at "Black and White" at Gallery Sonja Roesch. The simple elegance of black and white has always been an aesthetic lure, from costume designer Cecil Beaton's black-­and­-white Ascot scene in My Fair Lady to Truman Capote's Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, termed by some the party of the century. But even Capote found the need for a splash of color -- the tablecloths at the ball were red. No such variation is to be found at "Black and White." The group show's ten artists adhere strictly to the show's black and white mandate. The pieces are either painted or constructed, and use either new or found materials. Even though they are reduced to the essentials, the results vary drastically with oil paintings, Plexiglas, wall illusions, river-­submerged canvases and more on display. The artists are Ruth Pastine, Hills Snyder, Mario Reis, Gilbert Hsiao, Raimund Girke, David Simpson, Myke Venable, Mac Whitney, Alma Tischler and Dirk Rathke.

See "Black and White" at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Through June 28.Gallery Sonja Roesch, 2309 Caroline. For ­information, call 713-­659-­5424 or visit ­gallerysonjaroesch.com. Free.

Our choice for Sunday is the comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. The play declares its origins early on. Call it Chekhov with a twist. "The title gives you a very strong indication by adding the word Spike' in there," says visiting director Jonathan Moscone, who's heading up the Alley Theatre production of the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play by Christopher Durang. The two-­hour, 20­ minute comedy has the same big range of emotions that playwright Anton Chekhov employed. But don't worry; you don't have to understand or any other Chekhov works to follow this play, Moscone assures us. In fact, the premise is one that will resonate with any adult dealing with responsibilities and what to do with a life after the main purpose of your actions has been removed.

Vanya (Alley company resident actor Jeffrey Bean) and sister Sonia (Sharon Lockwood) have been taking care of their parents, living in their house. Sister Masha (Josie de Guzman) has escaped to a film career while helping them financially. The parents died a few years back, but the two siblings have stalled and remain there. "They're not in a hurry," Moscone says. Now Masha has returned for a costume party, accompanied by a much younger boyfriend named Spike (company artist Jay Sullivan), and conflicts, of course, ensue. There are other characters, including Nina (Sarah Nealis, making her Alley debut), who unlocks the creative energy of Vanya. "They're rattled. Suddenly they're revived. They have to get on with their lives and that's actually a great thing," Moscone says. "This play believes you can reignite your creativity, your sexuality, your imagination with a sense of hope."

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike runs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through June 15. 615 Texas. For information, call 713­-220-­5700 or visit ­alleytheatre.org. $26 to $78.

Margaret Downing and Jim J. Tommaney contributed to this post.

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