According to Joe Louis' autobiography, the title confab of Black Theatre Troupe's new production, Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, really happened. Ed Schmidt's play, directed by Douglas Alan-Mann, tells the story of a 1947 conference called by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey in which he asks other prominent blacks--boxer Joe Louis, performer Paul Robeson and dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson--advice on how to break the news to America that Jackie Robinson is about to become the first black major-league player. The run, which is presented in part by the Arizona Diamondbacks and by Diamondbacks Charities, begins with a preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 1; and with performances at 8 p.m. Friday, April 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, April 3; and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 4, at Helen K. Mason Center for the Performing Arts, 333 East Portland. A reception precedes the Friday, April 2 show at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the Thursday, April 1 preview; during the run proper, they range from $12 to $16. 258-8128.
The big-screen 3-D movie T-REX: Back to the Cretaceous and the 2-D second feature The Living Sea make up the bill at the second annual April Fool's Day at the IMAX, a fund raiser for the Tempe Community Impact Foundation. The event kicks off with a social hour and refreshments, provided by Red Robin, at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 1, at the IMAX Theatre, Priest and Baseline, at Arizona Mills mall in Tempe; the show follows at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $25. 945-4629.
Comedian John Pinette is "large" in both senses of the term--he's a big-time comedian, and he's physically a large man. It perhaps isn't surprising that a hefty percentage of his humor is devoted to the subject of food. Pinette performs his standup act at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 1; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, April 2; and 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, April 3; at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall); the Improv is closed on Sunday, April 4; in observance of Easter. 921-9877.
Kentucky-born blues guitarist John Brim, acclaimed for his 1994 Tone-Cool release The Ice Cream Man, plays on Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Showtime is 9 p.m. both evenings; Henry Gray, Chico Chism and the Rhythm Room All-Stars share the bill. The cover is $7. 265-4842.
Theater Works mounts Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie's classic courtroom whodunit. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, April 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, April 3; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 4. Tickets range from $11 to $13. The run continues through Sunday, April 25. 9850 West Peoria Avenue in Peoria. 815-7930.
Valley philatelists will converge on the annual Phoenix Stamp Fair, slated for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, April 2; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 3; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 4, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel at 427 North 44th Street. Admission is free. 1-800-783-7589.
An open juried competition, celebrating 11 East Ashland's 13th year of operation, opens with a reception, featuring music by electric violinist Barry Smith, from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 3; and continues through Saturday, April 24. Works in sculpture, photography, painting and mixed media are included in the exhibition. Julie Sasse, museum director for University of Arizona--and one of the original 11 artists to exhibit in East Ashland's first show back in April of 1986--will be this year's guest juror. Admission is a $1 donation at the door. 11 East Ashland (off Central, two blocks south of Virginia). 257-8543.
The Essential Theatre troupe takes suggestions from audience members and transforms them into improvised scenarios, this time on the theme of "risk and the ensuing repercussions," in Playback Theatre: Risky Business. The show is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 3, in the Cinema Theatre at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $12. 897-6711.
Up north, the Jazz Society of the Cannon Academy of Performing Art presents an Easter Sunday performance by pianist-vocalist-composer Joe Bonner at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 4, at the Porterhouse Restaurant, 155 Plaza Drive in Prescott. Tickets are $14 for the show only; $30 if you want dinner with it. For reservations call 1-520-445-1991.
The stage version of one of the triumphs of educational TV, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, is performed at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 5; at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Tickets range from $7 to $9. 975-1900 (the 'dome), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Those in need of a fix of abstract strategy can stop by Chess Night for a game at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5; and most subsequent Mondays, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. There's no charge to participate. 957-6660.
Couch tuber alert: A Letter Without Words, the one-hour documentary by Lisa Lewenz, is shown at 10 p.m. Monday, April 5, on KAET-TV, Channel 8. The program features rare and jolting color home-movie footage shot by the filmmaker's Jewish grandmother in Berlin during the rise of Nazism. Call 965-3506 for more information.
One wonders if there's a chapter titled "How to Force Taxpaying Rubes to Underwrite Massively Lucrative Personal Business Ventures" in Jerry Colangelo's new book How You Play the Game. You can find out when the author himself signs his work at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 6; at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Copies of the tome will be available for purchase at the event; proceeds benefit Suns Charities. 262-4636.
Photography by Valley TV journalists is showcased in "Film @ 11," a professionally curated exhibit which opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6; at the Arizona State University West Art Gallery, and continues through Friday, April 16. Located on the second floor of the University Center Building on the ASU West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale. Regular hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. 543-2787.
Clarinet soloist Robert Spring, guest conductor Richard Clary and marimba/steel-drum player Paul McDermand are featured when Arizona State University Symphonic Band performs a free concert, featuring Roland Cardon's Concerto for Clarinet and Band; Martin Ellerhy's Venetian Spells; Guy Woolfenden's Illyrian Dances and a variety of other works, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Admission is free; for details call 965-8863.
Pianist Michael Ellis is scheduled to perform contemporary tunes from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. Admission is free. 957-6660.
Often compared to Melissa Etheridge and Ani DiFranco, guitarist-vocalist Melissa Ferrick is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 7; at The Green Room, 560 South College in Tempe (Fifth Street and College). Ferrick is touring behind her What Are Records? CD Everything I Need, recently nominated for a GLAMA (Gay/Lesian American Music Awards) Record of the Year Award. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; Shamsi and Jamal of Niner share the bill. Tickets for the all-ages show are $8.50 in advance; $10 the day of the show. 968-9190.
Joe "The Punisher" Pardo and John "The Bone Crusher" Baker face off in the main event of "Rage in the Cage #4"; an extreme cage fighting event scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7; at Midnight Rodeo, 33rd Avenue and Indian School Road. Tickets range from $30 to $40. Call 675-8901 or 784-4444 for tickets and information.