- The Houston Ballet laces up for Cinderella.
It's been told many times onstage, in movies, and on television, but the story of Cinderella never gets old. Maybe because there's always a little girl somewhere who finds solace in the tale of the mistreated princess-to-be. "I've always dreamed of dancing this story," says Mireille Hassenboehler, star of the Houston Ballet's production of the fairy-tale classic, which comes to Playhouse Square this week.
With Prince Charming and a magical horse and carriage in tow, the troupe's Cinderella sticks pretty close to the original fable. "The transformation is what inspires," Hassenboehler explains. Bonding with her character fuels the fantasy, she adds. "This is the first tutu I had fit for me. I had the same feeling as Cinderella."
Besides dancers on pointe, glittery costumes, and a rags-to-riches narrative, this Cinderella takes a cue from Monty Python: The mean stepsisters are played by two men, who display some not-so-fancy footwork in preparation for the climactic ball. "They're all over the place," Hassenboehler says. Cinderella is at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) Thursday through Sunday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 to $56; call 216-241-6000. -- Nadia Michel
UniverSoul circus juggles hip-hop and tiny people.
Casual Cal bills himself as the first African American ringmaster. And he's at the center of the UniverSoul circus, a hip-hop-under-the-big-top parade of midget dance trios, chimp-and-elephant acts, and live bands. "The music, the rhythm, and energy are a part of our unique formula," says Cedric Walker, who founded the circus in 1993. "We are America's soul inspiration." Cal likens the festival's atmosphere to that of a revival meeting. "When we go to a concert or church, we like to stomp our feet, snap our fingers, and sing along," he says. "Why go to a show [if] you can't sing, 'Hey, ho! Hip-hip-hooray'?" The circus comes to town 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, May 7; noon, 4:30, and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 3 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Randall Park Mall, 21201 Miles Road in North Randall. Tickets are $10 to $25; call 800-277-1700. -- Cris Glaser
Don't Read This . . .
. . . It will kill you.
Kent filmmaker-brothers Luke and Andy Campbell increased the budget on their latest flick, Demon Summer. The gore, however, is down from their previous movies. The story -- small-town teens unleash zombie hell after reading a forbidden book -- rings familiar, in an Evil Dead kinda way. Still, co-writer and actor Cory Maidens maintains that everyone involved was trying to make a relatively serious horror movie. "We tried not to let the campiness interfere with the scary scenes," he says. Demon Summer makes its Cleveland premiere at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 9 p.m. Saturday. Lords of the Highway and Kill the Hippies perform before and after the screening. Tickets are $6, call 216-383-1124. -- Melody Caraballo
Two plays are making their premieres as part of Dobama's New Works Festival: Dirge (For a Failed Bris) by Jakob Holder (pictured) and Steven Christopher Yockey's Thief's Knot. Both are studies of human nature. The fest runs Friday through May 16 at Dobama Theatre's Night Kitchen, 1846 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Show times are 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7; call 216-932-3396. -- Michael Gallucci