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Playwright Todd McCullough sets the classic story of the ambitious usurper attempting to dethrone a king in a midwestern small town and makes the "king" a television weatherman and his rival the local anchor. The prize may be as trivial as a new fishing boat or a coveted spot in the county fair's dunk booth, but McCullough plays the material straight and never sneers at his characters' aspirations. Neither does the Laboratory Theatre Project, a new troupe that helped the playwright bring this 2001 work to its current form. Under Kevin Carroll's direction, John David Hall as the meteorologist in midcareer crisis and Kent Brown as his sly, ruthless would-be replacement deliver outstanding performances. They evoke our compassion as the tension mounts in this well-crafted script, and their fates remind us that sometimes the better guy wins. Through 6/29: Tue-Wed 7:30 PM. Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield, 773-227-8521. $5 in advance; $7 at the door. Closing.

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