By Kathleen Vanesian
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The Hispanick Zone: This comedy, written and directed by Teatro Bravo founder Guillermo Reyes, launches the company's new season. Set in Arizona in 2006 and told in sketch comedy format, it depicts the world (and the Legislature) as ruled by humorless people. Reyes spoofs assimilation, deportation, and the hotties of Mexico's telenovelas; there's even a "Mr. Hispano" contest, a macho beauty pageant for which the audience does the judging. Partially funded by the City of Phoenix and the National Endowment for the Arts, this one stars Charlie Castaneda, Edis Donoghue-Chavez, Obed Hurtado, Marcos Najera, Brianna Quijada, and Marcelino Quinonez, billed here as the Teatro Bravo Rasquachi Players. Sept. 1-17 at Playhouse in the Park, located in the lobby of the VIAD Building, 1850 N. Central Ave. (because of construction, enter Palm Lane from 1st Ave.), Phoenix. Tickets are $15; $12 for seniors and students; $11 for groups of eight or more. For more information, call 602-258-1800 or e-mail the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sleeping Beauty: Mark your kiddy calendars Childsplay's 29th season is about to begin with this fresh version of the timeless fairytale in Center Stage at the Herberger Theater Center. Arizona's award-winning theater company for young audiences and families will mount Welsh playwright Charles Way's adaptation of the famous fable, one that brings us a bolder, funnier Sleeping Beauty than Disney ever imagined. A different spin on the usual suspects, some wild plot twists, and wacky new characters will tickle kids and their chaperones as well. There's Briar Rose, a spunky and independent princess; her prince, Owain; Gryff, a half-man, half-dragon sidekick; and a fairy-only dance troupe named Twyleth Teg. Samantha K. Wyer, associate artistic director and education director at Arizona Theatre Company, makes her Childsplay directorial debut here with a show that's the first in the Target Storybook Season. Cast members include Childsplay stalwarts Katie McFadzen, Jon Gentry, Dwayne Hartford, and Debra K. Stevens. Sept. 9-30 at Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. Single tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for children and seniors. For reservations, phone 602-252-8497.
Wicked: Based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, with a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz but not the Oz of MGM musical fame. This one concerns itself with Oz's seedier side, as seen by a couple of famous witches, Glinda and Elphaba, who become, respectively, the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West. Maguire's is a story that explains how the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow came to be, and isn't above a little political commentary sandwiched between songs. The sparkly score by Stephen Schwartz hasn't gotten great reviews, but the show's popularity refuses to die; folks were lining up for tickets to this one for weeks. Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m. through Sept. 3 at Gammage Auditorium, 1200 S. Forest Ave. (Mill Ave. and Apache Blvd.), Tempe. Call 480-784-4444.
The World Goes Round: A revue of tunes by musical theater legends John Kander and Fred Ebb, this production is directed and choreographed by Jessica Redish under the musical direction of Alan Ruch and John Massaro. A tribute to one of Broadway's most daring and successful teams, The World Goes Roundis built around popular gems such as "Cabaret," "All That Jazz," and "New York, New York," as well as other recognizable tunes from Chicago, Cabaret, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. These sing-alongs are balanced with other, lesser-known material, like early collaborations ("Sara Lee"); personal favorite compositions ("A Quiet Thing"); and quintessential Kander and Ebb ("The Grass Is Always Greener"). Through Sept. 10 at 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria. 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, which include dinner, show and tax. Call the box office at 623-776-8400.