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Tuna, Texas, Booze, Dope and Don Quixote

Still on the boards is the recently opened Greater Tuna, featuring wildly entertaining character work by Thomas LaChiusa and Chris Standart. A minor comedy with major appeal to small-town sensibilities, under the direction of Thomas Dooney, the point of the show might well be the opportunity to see these two guys in drag. The visual alone is irresistibly funny. The America Repertory Theatre of WNY production continues at the Main Street Cabaret through December 5. (Call 884-4858 for tickets.)

On the topic of Texas (and who says, “Don’t mess with Texas”?), Texas Homos has proven to be popular with its story of closeted married men in a rural Texas town, caught with their pants down. Playwright Jan Buttram weaves comedy with some startlingly moving insights about the convergence of sex and love. Her irreverent romp bounces along—allowing Caitlin Coleman, Kurt Erb, and Eric Rawski to chew the imaginary scenery with a vengeance, before she goes in for the kill with the piece’s more serious underpinnings. The show continues at BUA through December 5.

Texas Homos reminds us of Helen Lawson’s wisdom in Valley of the Dolls that it’s not smart to marry a gay man. That thought is the less repeated segue from her unforgettable insight that “Broadway doesn’t go for booze and dope!” The Subversive Theatre Collective production of Dario Fo’s We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! became the living proof of the latter adage, opening and shuttering in a single night. Sadly, before things started to careen entirely out of control in Act II, the production, under the direction of Donn Youngstrom, was shaping up to be a delightful comedy with some first-rate work by Rolando Gomez and Megan Townsend as an Italian rendition of Ricky and Lucy with a decided edge. I have nothing more to say on the topic, except that being there was an unforgettable experience. Anything can happen in a live medium!

A local production of a full-book musical—what could be more delightful! We get so very many musical revues! MusicalFare gives us a treat with Man of La Mancha, directed by Randall Kramer. John Fredo is sensational as the title character, and Lisa Ludwig—who specializes, it seems, in taking on unlikely roles—finds an entirely appropriate hard and bitter dimension for Aldonza. Performances have been added for this decided hit, in which the actors play the musical instruments, through December 6. (Call 839-8540 for tickets.)

Check On The Boards for this week's complete theater listings.