Also starring...

Nick Collins and Melodie Smith absolutely stole the show in the second act. They play the "funny couple" in the story, and the characters could not have been better cast. Nick has such a convincing British accent that at least one of the cast was surprised to hear that it wasn't part of his offstage voice.

Melodie was working three jobs and coming to rehearsals, and it was taking its toll on her. Finally, she had to quit one of the jobs. She's serious about making her way in theater, and I think she will.

A master of mannerisms, Bob got laughs where simply playing the role in the script wouldn't have. His Dr. Steiner was reminiscent of old slapstick movies, in his over-the-top accent and physical comedy, which was just what the play needed.

Offstage, Bob Leeds carefully cultivates his reputation as an erudite curmudgeon. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of films, and introduced us to the rustic word "absquatulate".

Joe White is my best friend. We have been friends since our days at Rice University, and it was Joe who alerted me to the auditions for Pardon My English. His sense of humor ranges from the silly to the disturbing, and he's always looking for ways to make the show funnier. That's why he got special mention in the Houston Insider.

Backstage, he was often chewing on his billy club or getting it to stick to his lips or tongue. Why? I have no idea. But he also managed to procure bottles of Moxie (old-time soft drink mentioned in the play) for all of the cast and crew. Joe's cool like that.

Joe also spent some time recruiting choristers for this year's Rice Light Opera Society production of Ruddigore, which he is directing. I will be comedy consultant.

In the picture, Joe is indicating his little toe, which he stubbed, and which subsequently lost its nail.

Ryan Josef Villaverde (he uses his middle name as his stage last name) sings with me in the Bach Choir. While his main interest is opera, he does musical theater for something a little lighter. I think he makes a great goon.

Ryan has a load of interesting tales from when he lived in California. And new adventures to relate about his school-teaching career. I think most of us were glad we're not teachers.

The black and white looks very authentic-30s, doesn't it?