Get Hitched


The key to success--be it in regard to business, art or social situations--is to know your audience, its limitations and how to exploit it. Tony n' Tina's Wedding wouldn't be one of the most revered and accomplished off-Broadway productions if the focus had been on a trip to the dentist's office, a visit from the IRS or even an extended stay in an elevator. After all, the reality of these situations is traumatic enough without any kind of "audience participation" re-enactments to remind us of the lesser things in life. Plus everyone loves a wedding--well, at least until they have to help with one. As it is, the venerable comedy that invites audience members into the reception proceedings has run since 1988 and stretched across several continents. Being included in a dramatized marriage and post-wedding celebration is more appetizing than any of the previously mentioned scenarios; besides, food and drink are involved. Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall presents a new interpretation of Tony n' Tina's Wedding beginning on Tuesday evening and running through February 20 at Cliburn Hall, 330 E. Fourth St., so this is your opportunity to be a part of some of the most inspired "fourth wall" destruction, from when the actors greet ticket holders as long-lost friends to the last dance. For the uninitiated, expect to be immersed in a tangled, but lighthearted, web, as each audience member serves as an improvisational wedding attendee while the regular cast drives loosely toward common plot points. While the "audience as cast" idea has been around the block and back again, there's a reason this one in particular has endured. Call 817-212-4280 for $55 to $78 tickets. --Matt Hursh

Runaway Hit

What well-meaning mom among us hasn't rushed to the video store to rent a film version of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men the night before her middle-schooler's book report is due? Nothing brings life to literature like not having to actually read. Tongue-out-of-cheek, we do like some livelier retelling of classic books and historical dramas, and there's a soulful one opening at the Dallas Children's Theater. James DeVito's A Midnight Cry tells the story of Lida, a young African-American slave on the underground railroad (played by Rhianna Mack), with sensitivity and requisite apprehension. Director Sally Fiorello urges your not-too-young kids to "imagine leaving everyone and everything that you knew behind, risking it all for freedom." It runs February 4 through February 20 at Performance Hall, El Centro College, 801 N. Main St. Get tickets ($13 to $15) and reservations by calling 214-740-0051. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Dawn's Happier Songs

A cell wall-scratched prayer by Helena Wanda Blazusiakówna, an 18-year-old imprisoned in the Gestapo's headquarters in Zakopane, Poland, opens the second movement of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Critics have described the symphony as "oppressively dark." We call it beautifully brooding, especially when the voice of Dawn Upshaw pierces the mournful shadows rendered in strings with sweet luminance. So it's no surprise this soprano's recording of it is among the most successful classical recordings of the 20th century. Experience Upshaw's distinctive radiance live at Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., as she explores American jazz and the sounds of France and South America at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit or call 817-665-6000. --Mark Stuertz

In Full Swing

Our firsthand experience with acrobats involved a 6-foot guy in purple spandex teaching us to swing on a trapeze during Hedonism III in Jamaica. Unlike Sir Spandex and the naked free-baller who followed us, we were fully dressed during our flight, thanks very much. Needless to say we're now a bit apprehensive when we hear the word "acrobat," but the modestly costumed National Acrobats of Taiwan are the real deal and an act we'd jump at the chance to see live. Contortionism, plate spinning, choreographed acrobatics--the troupe can do it all. (It probably helps that each member has had an average of eight years of specialized training.) Plus, in contrast with our Jamaican experience, these acrobats led by Dante Law don't need big white safety harnesses...and they probably won't grab our ass while two stories in the air. Now that's a first-rate act. Catch (no, not literally) the show at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Tickets are $10 to $65. Call 214-692-0203. --Merritt Martin

On the Air

As a boy in his father's pickup, Rocky Gribble kept the radio dial on KLLL out of Lubbock. Small-town disc jockeys spun country music, introduced live studio bands and cut to commercials of local businessmen with tongues as slow as the passing day. "Some of my ideas for this show came from listening to KLLL," Gribble says. This show is Radio KGVO, a fictitious re-enactment of an old-time music hour to be staged Saturday at the Grapevine Opry at 7:30 p.m. If such a thing is possible, expect Radio KGVO to be a cornier, more homespun show than Minnesota Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion. That's the intent, at least. "This show reflects the simple country life," says Gribble, who's producing it. "The characters and situation provide the humor." The Opry's located at 300 S. Main St. in Grapevine. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Call 817-481-8733. --Paul Kix