This summer, the country had hope. Lollapalooza was set to unleash a hearty slab of unknown gold to the Midwest, as the traveling festival would have given MTV-loving kids a sample of non-mainstream live acts such as The Flaming Lips, Broken Social Scene and, possibly, the Bellydance Superstars. We're not totally sure about that last act, but the dance troupe performed during last year's fest, so a second-annual appearance might've happened if the fest hadn't fallen apart because of financial woes. Of all the possible bands we missed at the Dallas stop of Lollapalooza, though, the hope for Bellydance Superstars hurt the most. Was that because we're horny little badgers who like to see dozens of women wiggle in rhythmic unison? Yes. And if you're anything like us, then you'll be glad to know that the group stops at Trees, 2709 Elm St., on Saturday night for what could be called "Lord of the Bellydance." You know, cheesy music and hippie lighting but with less tap-dancing and more half-naked women. It's an interesting break from Trees' rock schedule, so leave the air-guitar skills at home and flex your belly. Tickets are $25 at www.frontgatetickets.com. --Sam Machkovech
For several years now, one of the big stories in American opera has been the increasing, and surprising, niceness of its leading ladies. Renee Fleming and Dawn Upshaw have been applauded for going about their work with a minimum of diva-ness, a sea change well noted by Ekaterina Semenchuk, the young mezzo-soprano from Minsk who has been in Dallas for the last few weeks preparing to open the Dallas Opera's 48th season in the title role of Carmen. "She's a delight," says Jonathan Pell, the opera's director of artistic administration. "She's very charming and easy-going and not difficult at all in the rehearsal process. And she embodies all of the qualities that make a great Carmen--she's a beautiful woman with a voluptuous, rich voice and is fascinating to watch onstage." From the moment she started getting press attention in 2000, Semenchuk has had an ability to make artistic directors, and more hard-nosed critics, quiver and fawn. London's The Independent, saying she is "a singular talent," has noted "the dramatic physicality of her performances"; The New York Sun went on about her "dark vibrancy" and "bottled, throbbing sound." Performances will take place October 29 and October 31 and November 3 and November 6 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Call 214-443-1000. --Claiborne Smith
Her Majesty's Finest
For those who can't get enough of cross-dressing, afternoon tea and crumpets, Theatre Britain--which uses the motto "The Best of British"--presents its fund-raiser Old Time Music Hall, a British vaudeville-esque show featuring songs, sketches and other theatrical things. And come dressed up to participate in the costume contest. The show will be performed October 29 and October 30 at 8 p.m. in the Trinity River Arts Center, 2600 N. Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $15. Call 972-490-4202 or visit www.theatre-britain.com. --Mary Monigold
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Rather than giving their audiences nutcrackers and doomed romances, the performers in the modern dance company H.T. Chen & Dancers integrate Chinese culture and dance with Western traditions to produce their own award-winning style. On October 31, they will premiere Heart of Grace, as well as perform Opening the Gate and screen Don Quinn Kelley's documentary about the company. The evening will begin at 8 at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. Tickets are $20 to $50. Call 972-744-4650. --Mary Monigold
Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson
Anne Bancroft at her peak--late 30s, lean, tall, brunet, with angular beauty, taut with sensuality, percolating with screen presence--will always be the archetype of Mrs. Robinson in the 1960s hit movie The Graduate. Still, we're willing to give pouty, pouf-y, brassy, blond Morgan Fairchild the benefit of the doubt. After all, she's revealed a decidedly tense and bossy streak lately on TV and in the occasional movie (but not in the Old Navy commercials). Fairchild plays Robinson when the Dallas Summer Musicals' Broadway Contemporary Series opens The Graduate for a limited run at the Majestic Theater from November 2 through November 7. Fairchild might be pretty effective delivering Mrs. Robinson's classic line, "Would you like me to seduce you?" to confused and naïve Benjamin Braddock, played in this production by Nathan Corddry. You'll recognize Corddry from TV guest appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, possibly, but the bulk of his experience is in Shakespearean theater. The Graduate is a cynical coming-of-age story, in which Braddock and potential girlfriend Elaine Robinson, daughter of Mrs. Robinson and played by Winslow Corbett, sort out their over-privileged lives and career aspirations, even as they are bushwhacked with surprising propositions. True to the movie version, the music of Simon & Garfunkel will be featured. We hope they've found the perfect leopard print bra for Fairchild, too. Single tickets ($17 to $70) are available at the box office at 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, the Majestic Theatre box office and Ticketmaster outlets. Call 214-631-ARTS or see www.ticketmaster.com. --Annabelle Massey Helber