After that, Molly ends up getting crossways with her bosses at The New York Times for trying to slip the phrase "gang pluck" into a story about a chicken festival. That makes her forever wary of overzealous copy editors. "Mice training to be rats," she calls them in the show.

She's the wise one who dubbed George Dubya "Shrub" and came to realize that politicians and newspaper readers can be so IQ-deficient "77 percent believe Alexis de Tocqueville never should have divorced Blake Carrington."

Molly Ivins, who died of breast cancer five years ago, was right about everything. And this show about her, starring a fiery actress as the incendiary columnist, just reminds us how much her spark is missed.

Scott J. Campbell (Tunny), Van Hughes (Johnny) and Jake Epstein (Will) polish the punk-rock in American Idiot at the Winspear.
Doug Hamilton
Scott J. Campbell (Tunny), Van Hughes (Johnny) and Jake Epstein (Will) polish the punk-rock in American Idiot at the Winspear.


American Idiot continues through May 20 at the Winspear Opera House. Call 214-880-0202. Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins continues through June 17 at Stage West, Fort Worth. Call 817-784-9378. Shiloh Rules continues through May 26 at the Bath House Cultural Center. Call 214-532-1709.

The actresses in One Thirty Productions' latest at the Bath House, Shiloh Rules, are putting forth a valiant effort to make a dumb play into something worthwhile. Doris Baizley's script has six modern-day women joining a bunch of male Civil War re-enactors for a weekend of make-believe warfare in West Tennessee.

Directed by Terry Dobson, the actresses — Marianne Galloway, Tippi Hunter, Katharine Gentsch, Pam Myers-Morgan, Pam Dougherty and Gene Raye Price (standing in for an ailing Beverly Daniel at the performance reviewed) — fire high-caliber comic performances from a rusty musket of a script. The funniest line is uttered by Dougherty, who plays "Widow Beckwith," a licensed vendor selling Civil War replica canteens and contraband beer. After the Battle of Shiloh is called on account of rain, the good widow decides she's had enough of Yanks and Rebs and announces she's headin' west "to start me a Donner Party re-enactment." Now that's an idea worth nibbling on.

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