The book binds two women who share Collected Stories, Donald Margulies' Pulitzer-nominated play chronicling the relationship between a successful writer and her protge. Over the course of six years, the characters navigate friendship and friction, as the student becomes her mentor's confidante, colleague and, ultimately, rival. The Arizona Jewish Theatre Company production opens this Saturday, February 14, at the Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central, just north of McDowell inside the Viad Corporate Center. Collected Stories continues through February 29 at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays (no evening show Sunday, February 29).
Call 602-264-0402 or visit www.azjewishtheatre.org to purchase tickets -- $27 to $29, with group and senior discounts available; $7 student rush tickets go up for grabs 30 minutes before showtime. -- Jill Koch
New musical from Black Theatre Troupe
Together, they made sweet sounds. For the world's jazz lovers, their parting was not such sweet sorrow. And now, their story takes on the resonance of Sweet Thunder. The friendship and artistic collaboration of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn takes center stage in the Black Theatre Troupe musical, opening Thursday, February 12. Penned by Arizona playwright Ben Tyler, the play recounts the life and music of Billy "Swee' Pea" Strayhorn, a composer and lyricist who sacrificed fame in order to live as an openly gay black man. The world premire production continues through February 29 at Herberger Theater Center's Stage West, 222 East Monroe. Call 602-252-8497, extension 3, for tickets, $24 to $30. -- Jill Koch
Ballet Arizona jumps for your love
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Shake the Valentine's blues -- revel in the red at Ballet Arizona's Scarlet Symphony, part of the company's Valentine's Winter Treat. Opening this weekend at the Orpheum Theatre, the ode to amore combines three original ballets: artistic director Ib Andersen's Amorso, an interpretation of love's phases; Interplays, a world premire work pairing Vladimir Angelove's choreography with live piano accompaniment by Caio Pagano; and the aforementioned Scarlet Symphony, Dwight Rhoden's Òathletic, contemporary ballet" exploring the connotations of the color red. The loving cup runneth over Friday, February 13, through Sunday, February 15, at the Orpheum, 203 West Adams. Call 602-381-1096 or see www.balletaz.org for tickets, $7 to $92. -- Jill Koch