Theatre LaB Houston [sic] has announced the last three shows of its fifth season, one devoted to plays dealing with some aspect of Hollywood. Since the first half of the season was dubbed "Hollywood Theatre," what better title for part two than, "Hollywood Theatre: The Sequel"?
Starting things off, Aug. 5-9, is Marcy Lafferty's solo, Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference. The play catches actress Leigh well past her prime and suffering from manic depression. Based on Lafferty's own film, "Vivien - The Movie, The Marriage, The Madness," Press Conference premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997 and later played at CA's Tiffany Theatre.
Sept. 9-Oct. 18 brings the musical comedy thriller, No Way To Treat A Lady. Douglas J. Cohen musical is based on the William Goldman novel (and 1968 film) about a killer, a cop, his Jewish mother, and an attractive coed. First staged at the Hudson Guild Theatre in 1987, the show had a well-received staging in 1996 at Off-Broadway's York Theatre.
Closing the season, Nov. 11-Dec. 20, will be James Maynard's adaptation of a short story by Harry Bates, "Farewell to the Master" -- better known as the source material for the film The Day The Earth Stood Still. Keeping the latter title, the play tells of Klaatu and his robot, Gort, arriving to warn the earth of impending doom if governments didn't stop stockpiling weaponry.
Previous shows in the LaB's movie-based season included Four Dogs and a Bone, Bang The Drum Slowly and Eating Raoul. In other Theatre LaB news, the second "Houston Fringe Theatre Festival" closes out, July 10-12 with Ntozake Shange's Ellington Is Not a Street. An Obie Award-winner for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf and for an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, Shange has performed Ellington is not a Street, which explores the legacy of Duke Ellington and his music and also features percussionist Kahil El Zabar, at Center Stage in Baltimore. Also a novelist and poet, Shange is currently associate professor in the English Department at Prairie View A & M, an area school.
For information on shows at Theatre LaB Houston, call (713) 868-7516
-- By Peter Szatmary
and David Lefkowitz