13 Best Plays to See in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Scene from the iTheatre Collaborative production of Grounded.
Scene from the iTheatre Collaborative production of Grounded.
iTheatre Collaborative

Scientist turned mutant. Pregnant teen athlete. Drone operator. A whole slew of clueless but well-meaning missionaries. The cast of characters looks pretty appealing for this fall's crop of theater offerings — which also include Sigmund Freud, Salvador Dali, and Joan of Arc. Shows by local and touring companies are taking viewers to secluded cabins, a toxic turnpike, a disastrous dinner party, and countries including France, Mexico, and Uganda. Here's the line-up of shows you need to see this season.

Grounded
iTheatre Collaborative presents a George Brandt play in which a fighter pilot who gets pregnant is reassigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer in Las Vegas, where the stress of tracking a high-value target blurs the boundary between her desert home and another desert far away. The show opened Friday, August 21, and continues through Saturday, September 5, on the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater Center. Tickets are $20 and available by calling 602-252-8497. For more information, visit www.itheatreaz.org.

Cast for the Southwest Shakespeare Company production of Hysteria.
Cast for the Southwest Shakespeare Company production of Hysteria.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Hysteria
Southwest Shakespeare Company presents a fast-paced farce first performed in 1993 at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The play imagines psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud having tea in his home with artist Salvador Dali during the summer of 1938 when a mysterious woman arrives with serious charges against Freud. The show runs Friday, September 4, to Saturday, September 19, at Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $12.50 to $44, and available by calling 480-644-6500. For more information, visit www.swshakespeare.org.

Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.
Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

Sex with Strangers
Arizona Theatre Company and Stray Cat Theatre collaborate to present a recent Off-Broadway play by Laura Eason, which imagines two beautiful strangers living in the digital age, whose one-night stand while stranded during a snowstorm in a secluded cabin takes a complicated turn. Ron May, artistic director for Stray Cat Theatre, directs this production. The show runs Thursday, September 24, to Thursday, October 1, at Herberger Theater Center. Tickets are $20 to $60, and available by calling 602-256-6995. For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org or www.straycattheatre.org.

Previous production at Space 55.
Previous production at Space 55.
Space 55

Sexual Perversity in Chicago
Space 55 presents a play by David Mamet, in which two lovers trying to get into the same groove during the disco era must contend with two friends who think they should dance to a different beat. The show runs Saturday, November 7, to Sunday, December 6, at Space 55. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit www.space55.org.

Scene from Arizona Lady.
Scene from Arizona Lady.
Courtesy of Arizona Opera

Arizona Lady
Arizona Opera presents the first major U.S. opera house production of Emmerich Kálmán's Arizona Lady, written in 1953 as a love letter to the Southwest. Reminiscent of musical comedies from the golden age of Hollywood, the opera explores the hopes and dreams of a woman riding in the Kentucky Derby. It's performed in German, English, and Spanish with English subtitles (with new English/Spanish translation by Kathleen Kelly and Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto "Tito" Rios). The show runs Friday, October 16, to Sunday, October 18, at Symphony Hall. Tickets are $25 to $135, and available by calling 602-266-7464. For more information, visit www.azopera.org.

Herberger Theater Center lobby.
Herberger Theater Center lobby.
Lynn Trimble

Disgraced
Arizona Theatre Company presents Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play that explores “the stories we tell our friends, the secrets we tell our lovers, and the lies we tell ourselves” by imagining the dissolution of polite dinner conversation into an explosive experience altering everyone’s beliefs about identity and race. Directed by David Ira Goldstein, artistic director for ATC. The show runs Thursday, November 12, to Sunday, November 29, at Herberger Theater Center. Tickets are $28 to $48, and available by calling 602-256-6995. For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

Scene from the Broadway touring production of The Book of Mormon.EXPAND
Scene from the Broadway touring production of The Book of Mormon.
Joan Marcus

The Book of Mormon
Broadway touring production of the musical by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez — which earned nine 2011 Tony Awards, including best musical. Renowned for having the irreverent vibe of Parker and Stone’s South Park  television series, sets Mormon missionaries in Uganda. The touring cast includes ASU graduate Alexandra Ncube, whose credits include Phoenix Theatre and Childsplay productions. The show runs Tuesday, October 20, to Sunday, November 8, at ASU Gammage. Tickets are $25 to $150, and available by calling 480-965-3434. For more information, visit www.asugammage.com.

Storytelling performance by The Moth.
Storytelling performance by The Moth.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Between Worlds
The Moth, a New York-based organization founded by poet and novelist George Dawes Green to further “the art and craft of storytelling,” presents an evening of true stories exploring the theme of “between worlds.” Like all Moth storytelling events, and the Peabody Award-winning The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Podcast, the performance is designed to “dissolve socioeconomic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.” A single show takes place Tuesday, October 27, at Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $35 to $45, and available by calling 480-644-6500. For more information, visit www.mesaartscenter.com.

Box office and entrance to breezeway at Phoenix Theatre.
Box office and entrance to breezeway at Phoenix Theatre.
Lynn Trimble

The Toxic Avenger
Phoenix Theatre presents the musical, inspired by Lloyd Kaufman’s 1985 cult film, which first ran Off Broadway in 2009. It imagines a New Jersey scientist bent on cleaning up toxic waste being transformed into a superhero who takes on corruption and toxic waste even as he woos the local librarian. The show is directed by Michael Barnard, producing artistic director for Phoenix Theatre. The show runs Wednesday, October 28, to Sunday, November 22, at Phoenix Theatre. Tickets are $30 to $75, and available by calling 602-254-2151. For more information, visit www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Nelson Fine Arts Center on Arizona State University's Tempe campus.
Nelson Fine Arts Center on Arizona State University's Tempe campus.
Lynn Trimble

Dry Land
ASU Film, Dance and Theatre presents Ruby Rae Spiegel’s play about a pair of high school swimmers drawn together by the need to secretly end one of the young women’s pregnancy. Set in a girl’s locker room, the play explores teenage friendship and desperation. The show's directed by William Partlan, associate professor for the ASU Film, Dance and Theatre department. The show runs Friday, October 30, to Sunday, November 8, at the Nelson Fine Arts Center on ASU’s Tempe campus. Tickets are $5 to $10, and available by calling 480-965-6447. For more information, visit asuevents.asu.edu.

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in a touring production of Evil Dead The Musical.
Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in a touring production of Evil Dead The Musical.
David Hou

Evil Dead The Musical
Touring production of the musical metro Phoenix audiences know from the 2010 Nearly Naked Theatre show directed by Damon Dering, which starred Toby Yatso and featured choreography by Nicole Olson. The musical, adapted from three horror flicks, pits a chainsaw-wielding hero against college students transformed into demons – promising enough bloody action to warrant warnings of an audience splatter zone. The show runs Tuesday, November 10, to Sunday, November 15, at Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $38 ($50 splatter zone), available by calling 480-644-6500. For more information, visit www.mesaartscenter.com

"Guadalupe: The Opera" artwork by Colette Crutcher.
"Guadalupe: The Opera" artwork by Colette Crutcher.
Sean Hoyer

Guadalupe: The Opera
ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre presents the world-premiere production composed by James DeMars, ASU School of Music Professor and Arizona Governor’s Arts Award winner. Explores the violent clash of cultures between inhabitants of 1531 Mexico. Orchestra includes Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai and Xavier Yxayoti. The play features stage direction by Graham Whitehead, music direction by William Reber, and choreography by Lauren Margison. The show runs Thursday, November 19, to Sunday, November 22, at ASU’s Evelyn Smith Music Theatre. Tickets are $8 to $21, and available by calling 480-965-6447. For more information, visit asuevents.asu.edu.

Tempe Performing Arts Center.
Tempe Performing Arts Center.
Lynn Trimble

Heathers: The Musical
Stray Cat Theatre presents the Off Broadway musical adapted by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe from the Daniel Waters film, which imagines a high school misfit working her way into the cool clique only to get kicked out. Directed by Louis Farber, associate artistic director for Stray Cat Theatre. Scorpius Dance Theatre's Nicole Olson choreographed the show. The show runs Friday, December 4, to Sunday, December 20, at Tempe Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $35, and available by calling 480-227-1766. For more information, visit www.straycattheatre.org.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

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Herberger Theater Center

222 E. Monroe St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-254-7399

www.herbergertheater.org

miles
Space 55 Theatre

636 E. Pierce St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-663-4032

www.space55.org

miles
Gammage Auditorium

1200 S. Forest Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85287

480-965-3434

www.asugammage.com

miles
Phoenix Theatre

100 E. McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-254-2151

phoenixtheatre.com

miles
Piper Repertory Theater at Mesa Arts Center
miles
Evelyn Smith Music Theatre

40 E. Gammage Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85287

480-965-6536

herberger.asu.edu

miles
Tempe Performing Arts Center

132 E. Sixth St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-350-8388

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