The Orange Tree Golf and Conference Resort wraps up its Jazz Evenings series for the season with Keyboard Brilliance: Dick Hyman, featuring American Jazz Hall of Famer (and music director for 10 Woody Allen films) Hyman on the keyboards. Scheduled to sit in are guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Bob Haggart and sax/clarinet man Ken Peplowski. Sets begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30; and at the same time on Friday, May 1, at 56th Street and Shea. Tickets are $35. 956-5515.
In avowed defiance of Horace Greeley's exhortation to "go west, young man," this year's Route 66 Fun Run Weekend, the 11th annual vintage-auto rally along that legendary thoroughfare once known as "America's Main Street," is changing direction this year--it runs eastward, from Topock to Seligman rather than the other way around, from Friday, May 1, through Sunday, May 3. It kicks off in Topock with a beauty pageant, carnival and street dancing on Friday. The leisurely, untimed rally--not a race--departs Topock after a pancake breakfast at 10 a.m. Saturday, covering a 90-mile segment of Route 66 to Kingman for more festivities--including a car "Show 'n' Shine" on Andy Devine Avenue--all day. The cars leave Kingman at 10 a.m. Sunday and head for still more fun in Seligman, thus completing the storied highway's longest remaining stretch. Automotive participants may register for $44; the events are free for spectators. 1-602-753-5001.
The havoc that a dog can wreak in a domestic relationship is comically explored in Sylvia, A.R. Gurney's play about a man who throws his marriage into turmoil when he brings home the title character--a stray poodle-Lab mix played by Christie Klein. Jared Sakren, Heidi Ewart and Richard Trujillo are also in the cast of this Actors Theatre of Phoenix production, directed by Beverly Smith-Dawson. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, May 1; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, May 3, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Tickets range from $13.50 to $28.50, available at Herberger and Dillard's. The run continues through Sunday, May 17. 252-8497 (Herberger), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Though May 5 actually falls on a (yecch!) Tuesday this year, the Valley's various celebrations of Cinco de Mayo are held over the weekend. Mesa's two-day Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, the 12th-anniversary edition of the outdoor fest, features traditional Latin music and dance performances, carnival rides, a salsa contest, children's activities and more. Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, May 1; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 2, on Macdonald and Pepper, between Main and First streets, in downtown Mesa. Admission is free. 644-2351.
Downtown Phoenix, on the other hand, will celebrate the Fifth on the Second and the Third: Arizona's Cinco de Mayo Festival runs from noon to midnight Saturday, May 2; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, May 3, on Washington and Jefferson Streets between Central and Third Avenue. The event, this year benefiting Braun-Sacred Heart Center and Chicanos por la Causa, features performances by mariachis Campanas de America and Yolanda Del Rio, Tejano stars Pete Astudillo and Ruben Ramos, and the great Freddy Fender, as well as food, a children's area and other fun. 279-4669.
A.R. Gurney, the blue-blood chronicler who penned Sylvia (see Friday), is also the creator of Love Letters, the popular play about a 50-year relationship between a husband and wife. The expressive words from a trail of love letters are the uniquely chosen format as two actors read their scripts while seated at a table. The real-life husband-and-wife duo, Jill St. John and Robert Wagner, take the stage in the vehicle for two performances: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and the same time Sunday, May 3, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $37.50 and $42.50 in advance, $40 and $45 the day of the show. 262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Sure, around here everybody's heard of Cinco de Mayo, but have you ever heard of Trzeciego Maja? May 3 is the date of the annual commemoration of Poland's 1791 Konstetucja (Constitution), which, according to the Polish-American Journal, "signified the spiritual and moral renovation of the Polish nation after a period of stagnation caused by foreign influences under the Saxon kings." All are welcome to celebrate this holiday on Sunday, May 3, at the Pulaski Club, 4331 East McDowell. $8 gets you dinner from noon to 2 p.m., followed by dancing to the polka sounds of the Jolly Timers, from 2 to 6 p.m. 275-9329, 802-0775.
"Voices of Mexico" is the title of a program, with selections ranging from Mexican baroque to traditional folk, presented by Sonoran Desert Chorale. The ensemble, joined by classical guitarist Raul Jose and Mariachi Corazon de Phoenix, performs at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at First United Methodist Church, 15 East First Avenue in Mesa. Admission is $8, $7 for students and seniors. 732-9529.
Mexico doesn't have many odder voices than El Vez, described by some as "the love child of Charo and Elvis." This "glitter mariachi" man's gimmick is to fashion himself as a living south-of-the-border homage to the King. But he has a wacky--and proudly Latino--sound that's truly original. Touring behind his Big Pop CD G.I. Ay, Ay! Blues, the Vez takes the stage at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. 265-4842.
First-time novelist Nancy E. Turner will read from and sign her debut, These Is My Words, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 4, in the fourth-floor lecture room at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. The work, subtitled The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901, is based on the frontier diaries left behind by Turner's great-grandmother, who rode a covered wagon from Texas to Arizona and had a love affair with the Army captain who led her group of settlers. Books will be available to purchase for signing; proceeds benefit the library. 534-0603.
A 12-year-old, frustrated simply by being 12, makes a wish to a carnival genie to be "big" and is transformed into the body of an adult while remaining a kid inside. That's the premise of Big, the Broadway musical based on the popular (and somewhat overrated) comedy starring Tom Hanks. The stage version features music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.--several new songs were written especially for this tour. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 5--a special "Kids Night on Broadway"; kids under 18 get one free ticket per adult ticket purchased--and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, at Gammage Auditorium. Tickets range from $29.50 to $43.50. The run continues through Sunday, May 10. Mill and Apache in Tempe. 965-3434 (Gammage), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
The 85-member community ensemble Scottsdale Concert Band plans a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, in the Performing Arts Center of Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral. The program, conducted by Charles Sessions, includes Broadway melodies and overtures. Scottsdale Trombone Choir, under the direction of Bill Johnstone, opens the show. Admission is free. 423-6152 or 860-2902.