Houston theatregoers have only a few more nights to catch Stages Rep's mounting of Richard Dresser's satire, Below The Belt. After starting previews Apr. 15, Belt opened Apr. 17 and runs to May 17, extended a week past its original May 10. Carolyn Houston Boone directs this dark comedy, which takes place at an anonymous industrial compound sometime in the next century. An idealistic young man tries to fit in to the strange corporate surroundings, but foiling him at every turn is prickly long-time company slave, Hanrahan.
First staged at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival in 1995, Belt came to Off-Broadway in 1996 with Judd Hirsch and Robert Sean Leonard. Earlier this year, NY's Playwrights Horizons staged Dresser's Gun-Shy. His other plays include The Downside, Alone at the Beach, Better Days, Splitsville, Bed And Breakfast, The Road to Ruin and The Hit Parade.
Stages Rep artistic director Rob Bundy calls Below The Belt, "a look at the flip side of the American dream. It's very smart and goofy and theatrical."
Designing the Houston mounting are Thom Guthrie (set), Matthew Bartkowiak (costumes), Kirk Markley (lighting) and Douglas Robertson (sound). Starring are Ruddy Cravens (Hanrahan), Jim Parsons (Dobbitt) and Jerry Miller (Merkin).
For tickets ($10-$28) and information on Below The Belt at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway, Houston, call (713) 52S-TAGE.
-- By David Lefkowitz