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
Snake in Fridge: Dubbed “a gothic horror story for the 21st century” and “The Amityville Horror meets Boogie Nights,” this relatively unknown Brad Fraser drama raised eyebrows when it premièred not long ago at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, England. Fraser, one of Canada’s better young playwrights, is best remembered for Unidentified Human Remains, which was made into a smallish but well-received film several years ago. With Snake in Fridge, Fraser offers precisely the sort of stuff on which our fave Nearly Naked Theatre has been built: a story about a group of creepy young misfits squatting in a creaky old Toronto Victorian that’s home to a terrible secret. Among the miscreants is a bitter, homophobic straight guy with a tiny dick who works as a go-go dancer in a gay bar; a stripper who takes care of her disabled sister; and a Web porn hack who films slutty naifs in his spare time. If anyone can do anything with this, Damon Dering and company can, through September 15 at The Little Theater at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. Call 602-254-2151 for ticket information and times.
West Side Story: Apparently there has been passed some kind of ordinance that states that no more than 30 days can pass without a production of this Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) musical, which every fourth-grader knows is a modernization of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in New York City. And if the Tony and Maria who get caught between Theater Works’ warring Jets and Sharks aren’t pleasing to you, fear not another production of this classic tuner by a different company is always right around the corner. Trust me. Through September 22 at Theater Works, way out in Peoria at 8355 West Peoria Avenue; if you get lost, call 623-815-7930.
Nipples to the Wind: We have about a week to somehow get through before a show with the word “nipples” in its title opens here. Billed as a “sassy comedy by Paula Coco,” this is yet another of those too-fun programs in which two zany actors (Coco and someone named Janye Anderson) portray 14 different characters. Among them are an emotional Little League mom who winds up in jail, a narcissistic Latina suicide hotline operator, and three sisters making their Catholic confessions. Much wig-changing is sure to ensue, but even that isn’t enough to get me to venture out into what passes for weather around here. Blame the Herberger Theater Center for these fun and games; you’ll find them at 222 East Monroe Street. Call the box office for tickets, which cost $35, at 602-252-8497. Performances commence September 7 to 30 and take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Pump Boys and Dinettes: It sounds like the name of an orgiastic furniture store, but Pump Boys and Dinettes is a musical tribute to life by the roadside along Highway 57, to be exact somewhere between fictional Frog Level and the town of Smyrna. Original rock- and country-flavored tunes with clever names like “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine” and “Be Good or Be Gone” get tossed back and forth among four grease monkeys at a gas station (the “pump boys” of the title) and the waitresses across the street at the Double Cupp Diner, until every last song setup is exhausted and everyone goes home. Through September 9 at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 West Paradise Lane in Peoria. Call 623-776-8400 for times and ticket prices, or visit www.azbroadwaytheatre.com for song samples and further information.
Beehive: What would summer in Phoenix be without an endless parade of jukebox musicals? Beehive is that genre’s queen and, like the monsoon, it arrives every year usually in August and usually at a wee theater that can’t afford a book musical this time of year. Broadway Palm tends to have bigger budgets and better production values, which is good news for people whose out-of-town visitors want to take in a show this month. This musical tribute to girl singers of the ’60s is built for anyone who thinks a vinyl minidress and a towering bouffant are hilarious, or those who get all goose-pimply during the chorus of “The Beat Goes On” and teary-eyed recalling Pet Clark doing “Downtown.” There’s girl-group patter to fill the spaces between the dozens of memorable pop hits here, which include “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “Don’t Sleep In the Subway,” and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” Broadway Palm, located at 5247 East Brown Road in Mesa, plans to keep this one afloat through September 22. Tickets are $43-$52 including the dinner buffet, or $25 for the show only. Call 480-325-6700 for more information.