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
Woodsman: Is What It Is Theatre all but vanished last year, but resurfaces this month with an original adaptation (and world première) of the 2004 film that starred Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. The story follows Walter, who's just been released from a 12-year prison sentence for committing a horrible crime. His family has disowned him and the police are hounding him, but he's trying to be good. Despite the love and support of his new girlfriend and a court-appointed therapist, Walter again caves to temptation -- surprise! -- and confronts his own personal demons. The folks at the theater are cautioning against bringing kids to Woodsman "due to thematic elements." Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through June 3 at CAFA Theater, 7475 E. McDowell Rd. in Scottsdale. Tickets available via the theater's Web site at http://iswhatitis.org/.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: Musical tarts! Dancing hookers! This late-'70s perennial tells the story of a bordello that existed for decades in Texas and was shut down after a snarky newsman wrote about the "loveless copulation" that visitors to the Chicken Ranch were enjoying. When this musical premièred in 1978, both the title and subject matter were considered scandalous; today, Whorehouse is as tame as a box of kittens. Somehow, it still has an audience. This production features Sarah Wolter as Angel and Pamela Blair as Mona. Through June 11 at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix. Call 602-254-2151.
Epic Proportions: This comedy by playwrights Larry Coen and David Crane came about after the pair noticed an extra in a biblical epic they were watching on television being crushed by a falling column. Coen and Crane (who's best known as co-creator and executive producer of TV's Friends) began to wonder what this guy's day had been like before that giant Styrofoam column landed on him, and the result is the infrequently produced backstage story about a couple of bit players who rise through the Hollywood ranks via the usual stage comedy shenanigans. Through June 4 at Copperstate Dinner Theater, which is located inside Phoenix Greyhound Park at 3801 E. Washington St., Phoenix. Tickets are $32.95, which includes dinner. Call 602-279-3129 for reservations and showtimes.
Aida: What do gay rock icons do with their downtime? Why, they write Disney rock musicals, of course. Set in ancient Egypt, Sir Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida grafts a pop-rock score busting with ballads and high-kicking dance numbers onto that old saw about an Ancient Egyptian princess who falls in love with her conqueror, the Egyptian captain Radames. Disney's take on Nubian handmaidens is certainly more wholesome than anything the pre-Sir version of Sir Elton might have presented, but Aida is still hardly a show for the whole family. See for yourself at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Rd., Mesa. Call 480-325-6700 for showtimes and prices. Through June 10.
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds: Paul Zindel's best-known play won the Obie Award for "Best Play" and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1970, and was handed the Pulitzer Prize for drama the following year. It's an autobiographical story based loosely on Zindel's own childhood in a single-parent household; a roman à clef in which a bitter, disillusioned woman named Beatrice tries to cope after her husband flees, leaving her to raise their daughter. Good news for local theater fans: In this iTheatre Collaborative production, the cast includes Michelle Chin, one of our best local kid actors. Through Saturday, May 20, at the Herberger Theater Center's Performance OutReach Theater, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, or $15 for students and seniors. For reservations call 602-347-1071.