The Real Thing

Main Street Theater returns to favorite playwright Tom Stoppard (its 17th production of one of his works) with The Real Thing, a Tony Award-winning comedy (Best Play in 1984, Best Revival in 2000) set in the late 1970s/early '80s. Directed by Rebecca Greene Udden, the play takes place in five different apartments, a theater rehearsal hall and a train over the space of 2-1/2 to three years as the main characters go in and out of relationships – but manage to hang on to some of the same furniture. ''This is all about people connecting with each other and messing with each other,'' says Shannon Emerick (The Coast of Utopia, Richard III) who plays Annie, an actor. ''She is a free spirit but grounded in love and passion and I don't just mean romantically. She throws herself into whatever she does. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's not.'' Joe Kirkendall (Henry V, The Coast of Utopia) plays Henry, an accomplished screenwriter.

Stoppard is a Main Street audience favorite both for his wordplay and his ability to ground his characters, to explore their humanity, Emerick says: ''His work epitomizes what we value at Main Street Theater, it's the language and the human connection.''

7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Extended through October 6. Main Street Theater - Rice Village, 2540 Times Boulevard. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $20 to $36.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Aug. 31. Continues through Oct. 6, 2013

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