In the shadow of the Cold War, a round of redbaiting in 1950s Hollywood produced a "blacklist" of film professionals banned from the industry. When the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company's production of The Value of Names begins, the scene is set in 1981, and blacklisted comic Benny Silverman has revived his television career after 30 years, only to find that his actress daughter has been hired by the man who named Silverman to the list. Though the action takes place only 50 years ago, the blacklist is something few people know about. "This play is about forgiveness, but not a lot of it is given," says director Mark DeMichele. "Your sympathies keep shifting because there is no clear good guy -- everyone is a victim."
The Value of Names runs at Playhouse on the Park, at the southwest corner of Central and Palm Lane, from Saturday, November 8, through November 23. Tickets are $27 to $29, with $7 student rush tickets available 30 minutes prior to curtain time. Call 602-264-0402.- Quetta Carpenter
Dancer's Swan song takes center stage
When Ballet Arizona dancer Yen-Li Chen-Zhang graces the stage for the company's five performances of Swan Lake, it will be the Valley's final chance to see the prima ballerina in the role that artistic director Ib Anderson says "was made for her." Indeed, this is Zhang's swan song as Odette/Odile, the princess turned swan by an evil sorcerer who becomes human for a few hours each midnight and attracts the love of a benign prince who swears to rescue her. The Phoenix Symphony performs Tchaikovsky's emotive score for the production, which runs from Thursday, November 6, through Sunday, November 9, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with matinee shows at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $17 to $44 for adults. Call 602-381-1096 or visit www.balletaz.org.- Brendan Joel Kelley
Legends of the Wall
Reality TV has made voyeurism socially acceptable -- whether it's a bogus millionaire, campouts in remote locations or spoiled rich girls, we have an insatiable urge to watch. Now, Is What It Is Theatre brings reality TV to the stage with The Fourth Wall. The A.R. Gurney play explores an upper-class New York couple who believes life is a play. Satire abounds, making fair game of everything from cola wars to Republicans. The curtain goes up Friday, November 7, and the production continues through November 22 at Studio One Performing Arts Center, 4520 East Thomas. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee on November 16. Tickets are $10 and $12; call 480-994-9495. - Eric Schandel