Reviews and previews of what's on Valley stages now

To Kill a Mockingbird: The impossible has occurred: There is, at the Herberger, a professional production in which the entire (and rather long) first act is held merrily aloft by three child actors. Although one of them, Daria LeGrand, appears at first glance to be a young woman in an improbable Dutch boy wig, she is in fact a 12-year-old girl playing the lead in this comely adaptation of Harper Lee's exquisite Southern novel. As Scout, she is joined in the very adult pursuit of carrying an entire play by Adam Moffitt (as Scout's brother, Jem) and Christopher Moffitt (as Dill, a.k.a. Truman Capote, upon whom the character is based), and the trio, while not magnificent, are far and away better than the moppets one usually finds mugging their way through less complicated fare. Also beautiful to behold is Julia Lema as Calpurnia, maid to barrister Atticus Finch and family, the former in pursuit of acquittal for his Negro client, the latter preoccupied with getting Boo Radley to come out of his creepy old house. And Wendy Robie, as the now-grown Scout, narrates this warmhearted memory play in that melodious voice that Arizona theatergoers have come to love. The Arizona Theater Company production continues through April 13 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St. Call 602-256-6899 for more information.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks: It's possible that Phoenix will eventually recover from losing Jill-of-all-theater-trades JoAnn Yeoman when she moves to New York later this year, but it doesn't seem likely. Yeoman's many fans — those who remember her Dulcinea, her Company, her '60s turn in Bye Bye Birdie — can bid her adieu in this, her final performance before blowing town. Yeoman is featured opposite Robert Kolby Harper in Richard Alfieri's two-character study of a middle-aged gay man and a somewhat older Baptist minister's wife who has hired him to teach her to dance. Each of the scenes winds up with a different dance routine, and given Harper's and Yeoman's background in dance, one can only expect great things from this pair of chorines. Through April 20 at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd. Call 602-254-2151 to buy tickets or to leave sad goodbyes.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story: Broadway Palm's remount of one of its most popular shows promises not only a jubilant '50s rock score (including such midcentury classics as "Chantilly Lace," "La Bamba," "Peggy Sue," and "That'll Be the Day"), but a sanitized version of the legendary singer/songwriter's short life and quick rise to stardom. Through June 7 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa. Call 480-325-6700 for tickets and show times.

JoAnn Yeoman and Robert Kolby Harper in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.
Laura Durant
JoAnn Yeoman and Robert Kolby Harper in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.

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Tom, Dick, and Harry: Members of the Peter Hill fan club, rejoice! Your fave dog track director is not only at the helm of this Arizona première; he's the star! Ray Cooney's latest British farce has something to do with a better-than-middle-aged couple who've adopted a baby. The dame from the adoption agency is scheduled for a drop-in when New Dad's wayward brothers drop in for a visit. Hilarity apparently ensues for Marty Berger, Ross Collins, and various other dinner theater regulars in the newest endeavor by Copperstate Dinner Theater. Through May 18 at (no, seriously!) Phoenix Greyhound Park, 3801 East Washington St. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, with dinner at 6:30 and curtain at 8, and Sunday dinner at 5:30 and curtain at 7. $39.95 per person includes dinner and the show. Call 602-279-3129.

 
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