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Just like your high school experience, but with more skating

As the kid-courting juggernaut of a franchise known as "High School Musical" continues to expand its unstoppable reign of pop-culture domination (which already includes two hit films, their bestselling soundtracks and DVDs, a theatrical show, a book series and - whew - even a video game) an ice tour was probably inevitable.

Angling for the same 'tween-age crowd that would sell a kidney (or possibly both) just for a nosebleed seat at a Hannah Montana show, this Disney-fied moneymaking machine has been entertaining hoardes of children while simultaneously emptying their parents' wallets since 2006.

The film series, soon to become a trilogy, launched the careers of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, the latter of whom later became even more well-known for ... less family-friendly reasons.

The ice show is more or less the same old story, except that now, the heart-warming, song-filled tale of the starcrossed-but-obviously-made-for-each-other couple, Troy and Gabriella - roles Efron and Hudgens embodied onscreen - unfolds atop a sheet of frozen H20. Just like real life. The production combines scenes and songs from the original film with others from the 2007 sequel.

Performances began Wednesday at Philips Arena in Atlanta and will continue each night until Sunday. Today's showtimes are at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The show will be performed at 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday.

'Laughing' at themselves

The Lionheart Theatre Company goes meta with its new production "Laughing Stock," a quick-witted comedy about the shenanigans and goings-on both onstage and backstage at - what else? - a theater company.

This wry send-up of low-budget summer stock theater features show-business stereotypes galore: Pompous directors, flaky technicians and insecure actors round out the cast as the characters-playing-characters try to pull off successful productions of three plays-within-a-play: "Charley's Aunt," "Hamlet" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

Written by Charles Morey, the self-referential spoof is more love letter than mean-spirited satire.

Hey, it worked for "The Producers."

"Laughing Stock" will be performed Nov. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 at the Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center, 10 Britt Ave., Norcross. Showtimes on Fridays and Saturdays are 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Call 770-806-0935 or visit www.lionhearttheatre.org.

The 'Search' for star quality

If refer to your child as a "bundle of personality," and mean it in a nice way, you may want to sign them up for the New Star Search regional talent hunt, which begins at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Discover Mills, 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Registration begins at noon.

Kids can be entered in age divisions ranging from 0-7 months all the way to 7- and 8-year-olds. Those who possesses enough of that certain je ne sais quoi to wow the judges will walk away with a New Star Discovery Trophy - meaning a crown for the girls and a medallion for the boys - and have their entry fees paid for the state finals. They also get the opportunity to vogue it up for a photo shoot with an unnamed but "world-renowned" Chicago photographer.

But be warned: Avoid the urge to rouge up your tots' tiny little cheeks, because a "natural appearance" is encouraged and makeup of any kind is strictly verboten. Illinois-based New Star Discovery, the organization putting on the event, promises a positive experience for the little ones - special trophies are handed out to non-winners, as well.

The entry fee for the main event is $50. Call 877-330-2229 or visit www.newstardiscovery.com.