By Kathleen Vanesian
By Amy Silverman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Jim Louvau
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Benjamin Leatherman
By New Times
By Becky Bartkowski
Little Mary Sunshine: As ever, Theater Works is courting its Sun City audience with this less-than-hip chestnut that spoofs musical theater. Set in the Rocky Mountains in the early 20th century, this one has villains twisting the ends of their pointy mustaches, and rugged, upright heroes rescuing damsels in distress. Rick Besoyan's sideways homage to old Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy operettas is goofy fun for anyone who hasn't already seen it -- but who, at this point, might that be? General admission tickets are $23, and group discounts are available. Through Feb. 26. Theater Works, 10484 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City. Call 623-815-7930 for showtimes.
Man of La Mancha: Just in case you weren't in New York in 1972, 1977, 1992 or 2002 to see one of the Broadway revivals of this perennial musical favorite, you're in luck: This local production by our newest dinner theater features performers who all hail originally from New York state. Ann Marie Wilcox (Brooklyn) is Aldonza/Dulcinea; Ronald L. Brown (Jackson Heights) is Cervantes/Don Quixote; and Dennis Setteducati (Smithtown) is Sancho in Dale Wasserman's world-famous retelling of Don Quixote's quest "to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to rescue orphans and distressed persons." Dinner is served one hour and 45 minutes prior to curtain. Showtimes are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 1 p.m.; and Sunday twilight shows at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $39 to $49 and include dinner and the show. Through March 5. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. Call 623-776-8400 for more information.
Bunnicula: There's no need to fear, apparently: Bunniculais here. Jon Klein and Chris Jeffries' musical comedy for kids, based on James and Deborah Howe's popular books, is all about the Monroe family as seen through the eyes of its pets. Harold the Dog and Chester the Cat freak when a bunny joins the family, and really come unglued when they find a tomato drained of its juice. When still more vegetables turn up annihilated, the four-legged duo suspects the silly rabbit in a story filled with song that's strong on messages about why kids needn't fear imaginary monsters. The cast features Childsplay vets Debra K. Stevens and Jon Gentry. Through March 12. Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 E. 6th St., Tempe. Call 480-350-8119 for times and ticket prices.
The Complete History of America (Abridged): The third in a trio of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's hit plays (following The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged]and The Bible: The Complete Word of God [Abridged], each of which has been produced here by Actors Theatre) is an irreverent, often funny peek into thousands of years of American history. Billed as "600 years of history in 6,000 seconds," this dinner theater remount tackles such heady stuff as who really discovered America, why Abe Lincoln freed the slaves, and how many Democrats it takes to screw in a light bulb. Directed by Peter J. Hill and featuring Hill goofing politics and the nation alongside actor Jack Dwyer and new comic Matt Krause. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m., and curtain time is 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30 and 7 p.m. Sundays. $32.95 includes dinner, show, tax and gratuity. Through Sunday, Feb. 12. Copperstate Dinner Theater, located at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 3801 E. Washington St., Phoenix. Call 602-279-3129 for more information.
Sweeney Todd: Like the song says, "Sweeney Todd/His skin was pale and his eye was odd/He shaved the faces of gentlemen/Who never thereafter were heard of again." Created by the modern master of the musical, Stephen Sondheim, this award-winning tuner is as blackly comic as song cycles come. Hugh Wheeler's book is full of murder and sly references to more traditional musical fare. Through Sunday, Feb. 12. Fountain Hills Community Theatre, 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. Call 480-837-9661 for times and ticket prices. theater scene