Theater Scene

Reviews and previews of what's running now

 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 8:00. 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.

Dracula: Apparently one can never have enough Dracula, because, in addition to the musical adaptation over at Desert Stages, there are two production of Steven Dietz’s rather charming version playing this month. This Dracula, now playing at North Valley Playhouse, suffers from bad acting and crummy set design, for starters. Director Jeana Whitaker was either unaware of the witty absurdities in Dietz’s translation, or was simply unable to cast actors who could play this subtly bizarre piece of theater. She’s managed to drain all the humor and horror from Dietz’s darkly comic script, although there is some unintentional humor in Craig J. Klodzinski’s portrayal of the title character, who speaks in the hammiest, most clichéd “Transylvanian vampire” accent one can imagine. And Jeff Field’s performance as Renfield is fun; he really seems to be having a blast screaming for his master, eating pretend spiders, and nearly pulling down the flimsy “stone” walls to which he is chained. This droopy Dracula continues through October 27 at 13043 North Cave Creek Road; call 602-765-1581 for tickets or for directions to a better production, if you can find one.

Forever Plaid: They’re dead and they like to sing close harmonies, so what’s not to love about The Plaids, a fictional guy group that’s become a fixture of sorts in local theater? This time, they’re brought to you courtesy of Copperstate Dinner Theater, where they’ll cover the Four Aces and the Four Freshmen while you eat surf and turf. Songs include “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Perfidia,” “Cry,” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” sung here by Stephen Goodfriend and Matt Bauer, among others. As usual, Copperstate’s producing director Peter J. Hill is directing, with choreography by Noel Irick and musical direction by Bill Moore. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings, with dinner at 6:30 and curtain at 8, and on Sundays at 5:30 with a 7 p.m. curtain. Show and dinner price is $39.95; reservations can be made at 602-279-3129. Through November 11 at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 3801 E. Washington St.

Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone: “It is difficult,” said one review of this show, “to determine if the actor listed in the playbill, Hershey Felder, is inhabiting Gershwin, or if Gershwin is inhabiting him.” ’Nuff said, except to mention that Felder switches between monologues about the great composer’s life (funny stuff, like his father’s misunderstanding of Gershwin song titles or his mother’s interference in the costume design for Porgy and Bess; and disturbing, like the reviews his music received later in his life) and tunes that tell an even greater story. Arizona Theater Company’s presentation of Felder’s uncanny impersonation plays the Herberger (222 East Monroe Street) through October 28. For tickets, call 602-256-6899.

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.

 
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