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
Diet! The Musical: Like nose hair or the flu, it’s back to trouble us again. This mean-spirited, barely entertaining horror show of a “musical” stops just short of Elephant Annie jokes in an attempt to titillate an audience opposed to avoirdupois. Tunes include “Am I Fat?,” “Twenty Points a Day,” “Fat Pat,” “All You Can Eat,” “Pleasingly Plump,” and “Big Beautiful Woman.” Need we say more? For unfathomable reasons, four of the five original cast members have returned in this new staging by Laurie Lemley, with a revised script and three new songs. The good news is that Diet! runs less than a week (October 3-7) at Theater 4301, at 4301 N. Scottsdale Rd. Call the box office at 480-994-2787 to reserve tickets or to plead for mercy for the obese.
Charlotte's Web: Find out what Wilbur said to Templeton in Joseph Robinette’s well-regarded translation of E.B. White’s marvelous story book about Wilbur, a special piglet who’s on his way to the slaughterhouse until Charlotte, a wise spider, intercedes on his behalf. The pair explores friendship, loyalty, and some pretty special adjectives as well in this Childsplay production. Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 4 p.m. at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. $25 for adults; $20 for children, seniors, and students. Through October 14.
Little Shop of Horrors: The first of four local productions this season of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s wildly successful musical is this one from Arizona Broadway Theatre, which runs straight through November 4. Dine on pork tenderloin and cream-cheese-frosted carrot cake while Audrey II, a giant puppet of a plant, dines on the cast of this comic perennial. ABT is located at 7701 West Paradise Lane in Peoria. Dinner is served at 6:15; curtain time is at 8. Call 623-776-8400 to reserve a seat or maybe just to plead with these guys to do more original work from time to time.
Dracula: The Musical?: The question mark in this Scottsdale Desert Stages production’s title screams, “Careful! Hyper-clever campiness awaits you!” But who can resist any show that includes a song called “The Tippy, Tippy Tap of Love”? Playwright Rick Abbot is taking pokes at Bram Stoker’s classic monster story in this family-friendly tune-fest; look for wisecracks about hemoglobin and songs about being buried alive. Dracula: The Musical? plays Fridays and Saturdays at Desert Stages’ Actor’s Café through December 15. For some reason, the curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. rather than the more customary 8. The theater is located at 4720 North Scottsdale Road, and tickets are $22 in advance and $25 day of show. Reservations are recommended. Call 480-483-1664.
Nipples to the Wind: 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 run through September 30 and take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.