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Elizabeth Marshall Black, Lisa Villegas and Crystal O’Brien.

The first time Main Street Theater performed scenes from legendary 20th-century playwright Noël Coward, it was a bonafide hit.

“It was such a gas!” says Main Street’s Executive Artistic Director Rebecca Green Udden. “We had martinis and between acts the audience mingled with the actors. People spoke in outrageous fake British accents—we had so much fun!”

So much fun, in fact, the theater does Cocktails and Coward, its summer folly that bridged the end of one season and the beginning of the next, on a regular basis. But last year, Main Street Theater was completing a massive renovation campaign, so the beloved event hit the snooze button.

Now, it’s back, with music, martinis and more. The two-act presentation, which benefits the 40-year-old theater company, blends Noël Coward melodies with comedic sketches and scenes from Coward's plays. Audiences can expect pieces from Private Lives and Present Laughter, as well as beloved songs like “Has Anybody Seen Our Ship," “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and “Mad About the Boy.”

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“There’s a lot of singing,” emphasizes Claire Hart-Palumbo, the show’s director. “For me, it was a great chance to work with some new people doing Coward, as well as reuniting with actors who’ve done these before. Everyone’s been very gung-ho.”

The incomparable Noël Coward had a keen eye for both the absurd and human nature. His flamboyance and flair were hallmarks of Interwar Britain, and left a lasting stamp on playwriting.

The evening of scenes and songs also includes an open bar and small bites. Think: Fun cocktail party with cool theater people, less buttoned-up affair. 

“It’s a very intimate setting,” says Udden, noting that during intermission, you can mingle with the actors. “Special events like these are real crowd pleasers. People can come and enjoy—whether they know Noël Coward’s work or not. It’s just a great evening.”

August 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Attire: '30s chic or cocktail casual. $100 ($60 of which is tax deductible). Main Street Theater Company, 2540 Times Blvd. 713-524-6706. mainstreettheater.com

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