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stage dive

Stage Dive: Two Things to See Before You Die This Weekend

Jeremy Gumbs in Lost in the Stars.

To be clear: I'm not saying you will die this weekend. I'm saying you might. So by all means, before you do, go see:

1. The incredible, golden-throated Jeremy Gumbs in the Encores! series' production of Lost in the Stars. Gumbs (just seen in The Scottsboro Boys) has a fairly marginal role in this remount of the high-minded but low-spirited 1949 Kurt Weill musical — a rather pious adaptation of Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country. But Weill's music and orchestrations shine, and nowhere more noticeably than in Gumbs's bring-down-the-house rendition of "Big Mole," a sort of charm number that becomes the highlight of the second act. "There’s one thing I have to say for your voice," comments Gumbs's onstage playmate. "It’s loud." Here's another: It's preternaturally great, a thing of immense power emanating from a tiny pre-adolescent. I'd advise any stars-of-tomorrow handicappers to listen to everything that comes out of this kid's mouth, from here on out.

2. Room 178 (closing February 6). This brisk, bumptious, nattily attired little clown show — the latest from the tireless Parallel Exit troupe — combines bare-knuckled physical comedy, tasteful audience molestation, Chaplinesque pantomime, and random Peking Opera tropes into a well-oiled comedy machine. And co-clown Mike Dobson's marimba-driven music gives you a beat you can laugh to.

Photo: Joan Marcus