For more than 30 years, reading about the adventures of mischievous third-grader Ramona Quimby has been a rite of passage for schoolchildren. This week, the lucky little boogers get to see the heroine of the series by Beverly Cleary in person at Main Street Youth Theater's Ramona Quimby. "Kids love to see characters that they've known so long in plays," says producing director Vivienne St. John. "And the younger ones believe Ramona and her family live right here in Houston."
The play is full of fun, familiar moments from the books. Ramona constantly fights with her sister Beezus, throws fits, has teacher trouble and hangs out with best friend Howie. More serious issues arise when Ramona's dad loses his job, forcing her mother to work. Soon, Ramona questions why the family can't eat out at the Whopperburger anymore.
The cast members are all adults, but through costume and voice, they channel the energy of children. According to St. John, seeing stories unfold in live theater is more rewarding than television. "Theater engages a child in the story or message; they become part of the scene and respond with their emotions and senses," she says. Certainly. Can't you smell that Whopperburger cooking?
The play runs 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays, from Tuesday, June 17, through July 25. 4617 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $8 to $10.-- Bob Ruggiero
Yucking It Up
The gross and engrossing at Space Center Houston
At Space Center Houston's "Oh Yuck!" exhibit, you can steep yourself in slime and study the scatological. Big bugs and little bugs, effluvia and ooze...think of something disgusting, and you'll find it at "Oh Yuck!" The exhibit was inspired by Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty, Joy Masoff's popular book. Highlights include the Ooozey Gooozey Slug (a two-story gastrointestinal maze), Yuckapalooza shows and giant animatronic bugs, including a tarantula, a scorpion, a praying mantis and dragonflies. And at "Under the Bug Top," kids can get close to creepy creatures without getting nibbled. During June, Space Center Houston is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. "Oh Yuck!" runs through September 1. 1601 NASA Road One. For information, call 281-244-2100. $12.95 to $16.95. -- Eric Norvell