Working Title

Nickel and Dimed clocks on at the Herberger

 1/21-1/26
There's nothing like having a J-O-B that requires you to clean the soiled sheets of others, carry a dozen hot plates on one forearm, or clean up fecal matter in front of the layaway department. And when that paycheck comes, hoo boy! You might have 10 bucks left after paying your bills, just enough to buy some booze to get you through another two weeks at your minimum-wage gig. Journalist and best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich feels the pain of the working poor. She went undercover to work as a waitress, hotel maid, and Wal-Mart lackey to answer the question, "Can anyone survive on minimum wage?" Ehrenreich channeled her humor, experience and insights into her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Actors Theatre brings the stage adaptation to life at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe, for a première on Friday, January 21, with performances through Wednesday, January 26. "The play is a very entertaining way of exploring a serious issue," artistic director Matthew Wiener says. Tickets cost $22.50 to $42. Call 602-253-6701. -- Niki D'Andrea

Citizens Cope

The Laramie Project explores a community's response

Cast members of Nickel and Dimed
courtesy of Actors Theatre
Cast members of Nickel and Dimed
The Laramie Project opens January 20 at 
South Mountain Community College.
Nnamdi Solomon
The Laramie Project opens January 20 at South Mountain Community College.
The band Coughing Up Blood
The band Coughing Up Blood
Dennis Rowland
Dennis Rowland

1/20-1/23
The citizens of Laramie, Wyoming, come to grips with the murder of Matthew Shepard in the Bright Angel Players production of The Laramie Project, opening Thursday, January 20, at the South Mountain Community College Studio Theatre, 7050 South 24th Street, through Sunday, January 23. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 to $10. Call 602-487-3308. -- Niki D'Andrea

Ladies and Germans

Inaugural parties have nothing on Kit Kat Klub antics

1/21-2/13
Before Adolf Hitler's hunger for power turned Berlin into a pile of smoldering bricks, the city was an epicenter of entertainment and naughty nightlife. Witness pre-Nazi Germany in all its gender-bending gusto with the première of Cabaret on Friday, January 21, at the Fountain Hills Community Theater, 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard in Fountain Hills. The play tells the story of Sally Bowles, a promiscuous nightclub singer, and her circle of Jewish and ambisexual friends, all looking for a break in early-1930s Berlin. Tickets cost $13 to $18. The production continues through February 13. Call 480-837-9661. -- Niki D'Andrea

Show of Support

Rock show benefits Body Positive

FRI 1/21
To throw a benefit concert for a hard-core disease like AIDS, you'll need some pretty hard-core bands. See, for example, the AIDS Benefit Show at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt, on Friday, January 21. Iji, described as "indie with a broken bottle," opens things up, followed by four-piece thrasher band Coughing Up Blood, Kill Courtesy, Saddle Up, These City Lights, and emo-punk group Bluewall Audience. Jay Paz, 17, a junior at Corona Del Sol High School and bassist for Coughing Up Blood, organized the show to raise money for Body Positive, an HIV and AIDS research group in Phoenix. Tickets are $6. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 602-462-5516. -- Ashlea Deahl

Cat Trick

Popovich puts his pets on parade

SAT 1/22
Gregory Popovich's cats make Pavlov's dogs look weak. His creatures do much more than salivate on cue. Popovich, a former Moscow Circus clown, has won fame by training small animals to behave like people. His menagerie of cats and mice -- and dogs, for that matter -- jump through hoops, push carriages around and, uh, ride each other. And there's no way to describe that last bit without sounding dirty, but, hey, this is a family show at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, on Saturday, January 22, at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Popovich sprung all of his performers from the pound, and the Center will be accepting donations for Valley Cats and Dogs, a nonprofit animal rescue organization, at every performance. For tickets, $10 to $24, with discounts for groups of four or more, call 480-782-2680. -- C. Murphy Hebert

Count On It

Basie centennial concert swings into Kerr Center

1/26-1/27
Dennis Rowland is definitely down for the Count (Basie, that is). Having sung alongside the legendary bandleader for seven years, the local jazz singer is more than qualified to serve as the front man for the Count Basie Centennial Concert on Wednesday, January 26, and January 27, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. "Learning from a master like Basie, it's an experience I'm so glad I got to live," Rowland says. "It's something that keeps on teaching me even today." Backed by the Arizona Big Band, Rowland will use his smooth-as-silk voice to bring such Basie standards as "One O'Clock Jump" and "Everyday I Have the Blues" to life. As for the rest of the lineup, which will also include several instrumental numbers, the crooner's playing it cool. "I don't like to tip my hand and give the program away because it sets up unrealistic expectations," says Rowland, laughing. The Count-down begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $25 and $28, are available by calling 480-784-4444 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. -- Benjamin Leatherman

 
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