UK/AZ You Like It: Romeo et Juliette, Hamlet on Trial and More Stuff From Beyond the Pond: The UK/AZ Festival celebrates the--rather tenuous--connection(s) between England and Arizona. So what have France and Italy got to do with it? Well, Arizona Opera opens its season with French composer Gounod's adaptation of Shakespeare's tragic tale of love and loathing between the Veronese houses of Montague and Capulet; Barbier and Carre wrote the libretto. Performances, in French with English surtitles, are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 23; 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 24; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 25; and 2 p.m. Sunday, October 26, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets are available at the opera's box office and Dillard's (266-7464, 503-5555). Hamlet on Trial, an unusual twist on the Bard's piece about the down-at-the-mouth Dane, plays Saturday (see below). For a run-down of other UK/AZ doings this week, see the Events listing or call 258-6055.
Arizona State Fair: The annual corn-dog carnival continues daily, through Sunday, November 2, at the fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Along with the usual attractions--rides and games on the revamped midway, livestock and ag exhibits--this year's fair includes the separately ticketed "UFO Encounters" and a synchronistic salute to the U.S. Air Force. The usual array of twangers, commercial-alt acts and wheezing has-beens hits the stage at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum; this week's lineup begins with a killer R&B bill that's none of the above: Dr. John, Charlie Musselwhite, and Keb' Mo' at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 23 (for details about Charlie Louvin's performance on Wednesday, see below). For general info, see the At the Fair listing or call 268-3247 or 252-6771.
The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous: Eric Bernat wrote and performs this one-man desecration of pop culture, adopting guises including "child beauty queens, aspiring porno stars and rock-star wanna-bes." The show was directed by David Drake (of the off-Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and the big screen's Philadelphia). This week's performances are on Thursday, October 23; Friday, October 24; Saturday, October 25; and Wednesday, October 29. All start at 8 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell; the run continues through Saturday, November 1. Tickets are $17.50. 254-2151.
"Aria for an Endangered Species": Tucson choreographer Ellen Bromberg and the Atlanta-based Core Performance Company--the touring arm of Sue Schroeder's Several Dancers Core--link up for the Valley premiere of this unusual movement piece. Originally scheduled to debut here last April, "Aria" features a score by Yoko Ono based on the Ono installation "Endangered Species 2319-2322," which was itself derived from Yoko's visit to Pompeii; see the story on page 65. Showtime is 8 p.m. Thursday, October 23, at La Sala, located in the University Center Building on the Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, available at ASU West and Dillard's (543-2787, 503-5555).
Show Boat: This Show Boat isn't (necessarily) for blue hairs, though you'll rub elbow patches with 'em. Director Harold Prince's splashy but sublime restaging of the Kern/Hammerstein epic, based on Edna Ferber's novel about old times in the Deep South, stars Tom Bosley as Capt. Andy, honeydew-voiced Sarah Pfisterer as Magnolia and basso profundo Andre Solomon-Glover as Joe. The lush score--including "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Ol' Man River" and "Make Believe"--remains the same. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 23; 8 p.m. Friday, October 24; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 25; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 26; 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 28; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 29, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. The run continues through Saturday, November 1. Tickets range from $15 to $65, available at Gammage and Dillard's (965-3434, 503-5555).
"Fritz Scholder: Icons and Apparitions, 1957-1997": The second of three high-season retrospectives of the career of the world-infamous, Scottsdale-based, love-him-or-hate-him expressionist, this Fritz retro includes some of the artist's best-known works and "pays tribute to Scholder's contribution to the artistic identity of Scottsdale and his role in defining the artistic vernacular of art in the Southwest." (The first Scholder exhibit out of the blocks was "Vampires and Fallen Angels" at Phoenix Art Museum; see the Visual Art listing. Next up: an installation at Scottsdale's Cultural Exchange in early November.) "Icons and Apparitions" opens Friday, October 24, and continues through Sunday, August 23, 1998, in the Atrium Gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 994-2787.
Arizona State Fair: See Thursday.
Romeo et Juliette: See Thursday.
The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous: See Thursday.
Show Boat: See Thursday.
Hamlet on Trial: New York's Elizabeth Falk developed this conceptual piece--a trial of the title character on the charge of murdering Polonius--for England's Globe Theatre. Actor Michael York was supposed to defend Shakespeare's Dane, but, as with the Othello Royal Premiere on September 30, York bowed out; his replacement is Scottish actor Billy Connolly (Mrs. Brown). Arizona's hot-dog AG, Grant Woods, prosecutes Hamlet (Matthew Mazuroski), retired Arizona Supreme Court chief justice Frank X. Gordon wields the gavel, and a group of "leading Phoenicians" renders the verdict. The show, presented in conjunction with the UK/AZ Festival (see Thursday), starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, October 25, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $24 and $29, available at Phoenix Civic Plaza and Dillard's box offices (262-7272, 503-5555).