Coppelia: Ballet Arizona has opened its season with a revival of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Frankenstein-style work about mad Dr. Coppelius and the strange bond he forms with his mechanical creations, especially the beautiful title automaton. The score is by Delibes, and the set is great. Final performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, October 6, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Discussions begin an hour before each show. Tickets range from $17.25 to $29.25, available at the ballet box office and Dillard's. Call 381-1096 or 678-2222.
Four Piece Suit: You're not likely to see these Suits on MTV anytime soon. The four guys in the Barrence Whitfield and the Savages offshoot are not pretty, but, hepcat, they blow and go. Their forte is retro/lounge, and they nail it to the vinyl wall on covers of Henry Mancini's "A Shot in the Dark," Ernest Gold's "Theme From Exodus" and--you'll just die--Neil Young's "Hey Hey My My." Highly recommended. Touring behind the Ocean Music disc Ready to Where?, the quartet performs on Thursday, October 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The Kings of Pleasure open at 9 p.m. The cover is $4. For details call 265-4842.
Curiouser and Curiouser: The National Theater of the Deaf presents this touring, all-ages take on Lewis Carroll's down-the-rabbit-hole tales Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The show, which starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 3, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, is interpreted in a combination of spoken word and American Sign Language. Tickets are $15, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
Phoenix Symphony: Pianist Andre-Michel Schub joins the ensemble, led by guest conductor Uriel Segal, in a program that includes Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503; Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, Opus 100; and Barber's First Essay for Orchestra, Opus 12. Shows are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 3; and 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, October 4, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Friday morning's program is a "Coffee Classics" concert; tickets are $12 and $16, and the Barber piece will not be performed. Regular tickets range from $13 to $37, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's (call 264-6363 or 678-2222). The full program is repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 6, at La Sala, located in the University Center Building on the Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale. The show continues ASU West's "Musics for a Sunday Afternoon" series; tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, $8 for students (call 543-2787).
Oliver!: Following recent tradition, Southwest Shakespeare Company kicks off its season with a non-Bard work--in this case, the Lionel Bart musical, adapted, of course, from Dickens' Oliver Twist. Opening performances are on Thursday, October 3; Friday, October 4; and Saturday, October 5, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. More shows are planned Thursday, October 10, through Saturday, October 12; all start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, $16 for students and seniors, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices. For reservations and details, call 644-2560 or 678-2222.
Rodeo Showdown: About 80 top cowguys and -gals hang on for dear life in the annual showdown, a pro-circuit highlight that features the world finals of the $1 million Chute Out Series. Preliminary rounds are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 4; and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 5. The finals are at 4 p.m. Sunday, October 6. All shows are at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Related concerts at nearby Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams, follow Friday's performance and Saturday's evening show, beginning at 9 each night. Mark Chesnutt performs Friday; Sawyer Brown takes the stage Saturday. For details about the Rodeo Showdown Western Expo, see the Events listing. Tickets for individual rodeo rounds range from $15 to $40; tickets to all events are available at the arena and Dillard's (call 379-7800 or 678-2222).
Danny Gottlieb: The former member of the Pat Metheny Group is a percussion fanatic's dream. He plays full kit, electronic pads, cymbals, talking drum and ocean drum in a multimedia program titled "Rhythms of Life," which he concocted with computer programmer/graphic designer Gerry Burnett. The performance starts at 8 p.m. Friday, October 4, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe, and inaugurates the venue's worthy "On-Stage" series, in which audience members are seated on the stage with the performers; space is limited. Tickets are $15, available at Gammage and Dillard's. For details call 965-3434 or 678-2222.
Elaine Horwitch Wild West Auction: The late Scottsdale art maven owned a formidable array of western and Native Americana, from rodeo duds to folk-art pieces to toys to salt-and-pepper sets to custom-made Edward Bohlin saddles, and the collectibles go on the block at this event. Previews are slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 4; and 8 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday, October 5, at the Safari Resort, 4611 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The auction proper follows Saturday's preview at 10. For details call 481-2002.
Maya Angelou: The activist, actor and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie and On the Pulse of Morning is becoming a Valley staple. She returns for the second time in about three months, this time to present the keynote address at the College and Career Expo '96 (see the Events listing). Angelou speaks about "Wit and Wisdom: Fuel for the Future" at 7 p.m. Friday, October 4, in Exhibit Hall B at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Tickets are $22, available at Dillard's; proceeds benefit the Southwest Student Services Scholarship Fund. For details call 461-6525 or 678-2222.