"I don't want the audience to blink," says Hodgie Jo, artistic director for Imation Dance Company, "not even once, throughout my show." It's a stiff mandate, but one he just might pull off. The debut performance of his modern jazz dance company, Footsteps, is an amalgam of Cirque du Soleil-inspired acrobatics, Asiatic allusions and, of course, dancing. Combining so many components, Jo explains, multiplies the amount of choreography he can create. Case in point: this three-part production, with the jazz-oriented The Firm and Cotton Club occupying the first half. The second half is a cross between The Matrix and Armageddon, wherein black-and-white-unitard-clad dancers wield Chinese swords and ribbons, exploring God, machine and man. What a show.
Catch Footsteps at 7 p.m. Friday, April 23, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $35; call 480-994-2787 or 602-212-9999. -- Elizabeth Exline
ASU production blows Mozart
To clarify any misconceptions, Tamino didn't kiss and tell. Oh, you thought the Magic Flute was the, ahem, instrument that helped him rescue that hottie, Pamina? Well, get a grip -- on reality, that is -- as ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre presents its production of Mozart's Magic Flute Friday, April 23, through May 2 at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre, 40 East Gammage Parkway in Tempe. The opera will be performed in German. So forgive us for blowing Tamino's horn for him, but someone needs to -- in English. Tickets are $5 to $14. Call 480-965-6447 for more information. -- Joe Watson
Stray Cat Strut
Clockwork swaggers onstage
The old in-and-out is in again for Stray Cat Theatre; starting Friday, April 23, Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange rapes and pillages onstage. The "droogs" of Burgess' masterpiece -- a gang of teenage anarchic punks, led by 15-year-old Alex -- will prove to audiences that not all children are born innocent. In Stray Cat's rendition of the controversial novel -- which was turned into Stanley Kubrick's 1971 tour de force on film, starring Malcolm McDowell in the lead role -- Burgess' original ending is kept intact. The play contains adult themes, so no one under 18 will be admitted. The show runs through May 15 at 1121 North First Street. Tickets are $12 to $18. Call 602-253-8188 or visit www.straycattheatre.org for more information. -- Joe Watson
Getting to the core of women's souls at PC
Phoenix College's production of Talking With is as mysterious as playwright Jane Martin herself. The 1982 play about 11 women who bare their souls via moving monologues has been critically acclaimed, yet no one knows who Martin is. (In American Theater magazine, Martin was called "America's best-known, unknown playwright.") Talking With runs Friday, April 23, through May 1, with the opening-night performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Phoenix College's John Paul Theatre, 1202 West Thomas. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Call 602-285-7300 for tickets. -- Joe Watson
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Not So Clean-Cut
Itty Bitty puppets get down and dirty
It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. Let's ogle naked cutouts at the puppet show tonight! Leave the moppets at home for Great Arizona Puppet Theater's Itty Bitty Puppet Shows, a trio of adults-only productions featuring tiny paper figures on miniature "toy theater" stages. Audience members will rotate among three salacious shows, including Little Blue Moon Theatre's Natalie, the story of a Parisian paper cutout who sheds her clothes on a warm summer day. The thrills aren't limited to titillation, however, as Omnipresent Theater tackles religious satire in Golfing With Gods. "Adult doesn't necessarily mean risqu," says GAPT manager Kamala Kruszka. "There's plenty of social or political humor at this kind of show." Itty Bitty Puppet Shows runs at 8 p.m. Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24, at the Puppet Theater, 302 West Latham Street. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 602-262-2050 or see www.azpuppets.org. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Getting used is part of the fun at Herberger
Is the remora guilty of abetting the shark? ThatÕs the metaphorical question William Mastrosimone explores in his 1986 play Cat's Paw (from the term "cat's-paw," meaning pawn or dupe). Chris Haines directs the iTheatre Collaborative production about a terrorist who uses a journalist to disseminate his views, while the journalist uses the terrorist to advance her career. (Just how many cat's-paws creep around the nation's newsrooms?) The play runs Thursday, April 22, through May 9 at the Herberger Theater Center's Performance Outreach Theater, 222 East Monroe. The curtain goes up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children. For reservations, call 602-347-1071, extension 1. For more information, call 602-254-7399 or visit www.herbergertheater.org. -- Kim Toms