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Harlem Nights

Two words that strike fear into the heart of wedding planners, caterers and Vera Wang: "old maid." Despite the array of Bride's, Modern Bride, Southern Bride and Neurotic Bride magazines (no, really, there should be Neurotic Bride magazine) that our old college chums studied religiously, we chose to never succumb. While they were agonizing over roses or tulips, indoor or out, fish or chicken, we were running far, far away from these people who planned to have three kids by age 27. But as Elizabeth, the main character in John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, will tell you, people can change. Elizabeth is an old maid or "old settler" in 1943 Harlem, living and bickering with her outspoken, divorced sister Quilly. Of course, once a young naïve man named Husband enters the picture, Elizabeth's life is bound to change for better or worse--for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health...well, maybe. The play features M. Denise Lee as Elizabeth and Tippi Hunter as Quilly. The Old Settler, directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe, runs Thursday through Sunday, May 29 through June 22, at the Addison Theatre Center, 15650 Addison Road. Tickets are $19 to $25 and group rates are available. Call 972-450-6232. --Michelle Martinez

Free and Easty
Crow kicks out the jams

A majority of us here agree that nothing could quite contend with a one-two punch of Phil Collins' work on Genesis' "Jesus He Knows Me" and a 10-minute foot spurt from the performers of Stomp in terms of sheer percussive bliss. Conversely, where does one turn when the realization hits that Mr. Collins is morphing into Charlie Brown and the Stompers have become pedestrian after the 16th HBO airing? The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art appears to realize our quandary, as a free concert of Middle Eastern and Asian music will be presented Friday evening with an emphasis on percussion and dance. One of the featured artists, Jamal Mohamed, has worked with Sting in the past, so with any luck, he's learned to beat out some tantric flavah that'll really get the place hopping. So go East...really, it's safe. The Crow Collection is located at 2010 Flora St. Call 214-979-6430. --Matt Hursh

Mercy, Mercy Me
Greek feminists, this isn't your English professor's Medea

Do you like having a good laugh about the Bible? Oh, we're not talking about those goofy atheists, silly. No, the biblical humor in question is Tyler Perry's series of gospel-loving comedy plays. His most well-known character is a big ol' grandma named Madea, and the only things in her life bigger than her morals are her breasts. Perry's plays have previously taken the fake funbags on such God-fearing romps as Madea's Family Reunion and I Can Do Bad All By Myself (which we assume is biblical somehow). This time around, Madea's 50th class reunion is the centerpiece of the show, so head to Bruton Theatre at 650 S. Griffin, June 3 through June 8, for a glass of apostle punch. Call 214-373-8000. --Sam Machkovech

Aural Aid

When you eat too much pizza, you take an antacid. When you spend too much time staring at the computer, you use Visine. When you've spent the past 10 years blasting AC/DC into your ears, you go to the symphony. Preferably the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, which presents performances by conductor Eri Klas and pianist Bella Davidovich from May 30 to June 1. It's like a Band-Aid for your cochlea. Call 817-665-6000. --Leah Gerchario

Full-Length Halftime
Blast! cast gets off the field and onstage

The highlight of last year's Dallas Summer Musicals makes an explosive return this season. Blast! garnered critical accolades and, more important, left audiences clamoring for more. So think of this week-long subscriber special run as a delayed encore performance that's well worth the wait. Much more than just an ordinary musical, Blast! won a Tony in 2001 for Best Theatrical Event. Take your average high school football game and do away with the players, coaches and cheerleaders (essentially get rid of the game) and let the marching band and color guard take over the field for three hours. Then keep the moms, dads and benched fans yelling as feverishly at the band as they normally would the running backs and blind referees and you can almost imagine the enthusiasm stirred up by Blast! The Texas A&M marching band may be the most impressive outfit in this region, but they're just a bunch of stiff army ants compared with the Star of Indiana that shines in Blast! (And the Aggies are nowhere near as flashy.) Star of Indiana Drum & Bugle Corps was formed in 1984 and went on to win the Drum Corps International World Championship in 1991. Director James Mason realized his performers deserved a better venue than halftime marching fields and, in 1994, Star of Indiana toured North America with the Canadian Brass and played the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts the following year. Now Blast! headlines its own tour, winning over audiences with thunderous percussion, searing brass and sensational visuals all timed with an unfathomable perfect precision. It runs Tuesday through June 8 at 8 p.m. Additional shows are 2 p.m. June 7 and June 8. Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Tickets are $10 to $65. Call 214-631-ARTS. --Jay Webb

Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

The title alone is intriguing, and with the exclamation points, it's difficult to ignore the imperative. So even if you have no interest in West African drumming or dance, you may feel strangely drawn to FEMATO! Come See It! The show is presented by KUMAASI African Ensemble, a collective of African artists who seek to reclaim the culture of West Africa, and from the looks of things, the costumes themselves might be worth the price of admission. FEMATO! Come See It! will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Call 214-298-5858. --Rhonda Reinhart

Vocal Minority

In sacred music, the traditional old bell ringing has left the church, and now electric guitars and power chords send their glory straight up to the heavens. But that's going to change (at least for one starry night) when the Helios Ensemble, Dallas' professional chamber choir, will present Arv Paert's minimalist modern masterpiece "Passio" on Saturday. Filled with choral repetition and abstract patterns of obscure melodic vocalizations, its bell-ringing or tintinnabuli style may make you feel a bit translucent. Kind of like listening to Brian Eno on a rainy morning. The show starts at 8 p.m. at The Church of the Incarnation, 3966 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $5 for students with ID. Call 214-696-5614. --Desirée Henry

Deadline Defense

Ethics and war. Ethics of war. Mix and match the words any way you like and, while the meanings and ideas skew, the constant of topical social/political themes remains. Defense is part of any war, but Vince McKewin takes his own experiences in the Gulf to make the war about defense in his play Ad Wars, which premieres at The Circle Theatre this week. Sure, a story about a vet struggling with a deadline and his own ideals could contain some hot buttons, but expect some laughs in that Mamet/Maysles kind of way as well. The Circle Theatre is located at 230 W. Fourth St. in Fort Worth. Call 817-877-3040. --Matt Hursh


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