Munched: This workshop reading of local actor/author Kim Porter's new play features Ken Love in a story about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a psychiatric disorder in which mothers poison their kids in order to get attention for themselves. Here, we meet Marybeth, who's spent 25 years in prison after killing two of her children. Her surviving daughter has found a box of possibly damaging letters written during the trial. If Theatre Artists Studio's past work is any indication, this should be a smart, sassy look at a subject previously untouched by theater. Also featured in this reading, which takes place February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and again on the 25th at 2 p.m., are actors Maureen Dias, Judy LeBeau, and Debra Rich. Theatre Artists Studio is located at 4848 E. Cactus Rd., Suite 406. A $10 donation is requested. Call 602-765-0120 for reservations.
Girl, 20: It's apparently Disturbed Young Women Month on local stages (see 4.48 Psychosis and Munched), and newcomer Arizona Women's Theatre Company is weighing in with the West Coast première of playwright Ellen Fairey's drama about a college student who finds herself in a counseling program after a sexually explicit English-class essay turns too many people on. Her sessions are observed from behind a one-way mirror by a pair of male students, which introduces a dozen-odd secondary themes, such as professional ethics, obsession, and betrayal. Directed by Deborah Carrick, the play runs through February 25 at 7610 E. McDonald Dr. in Scottsdale. Call 480-607-7107 for ticket information and showtimes.
4.48 Psychosis: Stray Cat founder Ron May is directing what promises to be a disturbing production of Sarah Kane's final play, written shortly before she, at age 28, hanged herself in a mental hospital in 1999. A short, fragmented, nonlinear poem with no plot and no cast of characters (its jagged, psychotic monologues can presumably be read by one or a dozen different actors), 4.48 Psychosis is essentially an artful, hourlong suicide note in which its author attempts to make something beautiful out of pain. Through February 17 at EXIT Theatre, located on the first floor of Metropolitan Arts Institute at 1700 N. Seventh Ave. Call 480-820-8022 for reservations.
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Kiss Me Kate: Cole Porter's famous score for this backstage musical about a theater troupe's performance of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is bursting with now-classic original tunes. Between choruses of "Another Openin', Another Show," "Wunderbar," "Too Darn Hot," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" are some of musical theater's most cleverly crafted quarrels, each of them designed to prove once and for all that theater people are the most terrifying creatures on earth. Through March 4 at Arizona Broadway Theater, 7701 W. Paradise Ln. in Peoria. Dinner is served one hour and 45 minutes prior to curtain. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday matinee at 2 p.m., Sunday matinee at 1 p.m., and Sunday twilight shows at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $39 to $49, which includes dinner, show, and tax. Call the box office at 623-776-8400.
Cabaret: Originally titled Welcome to Berlin, Cabaret is based on John Van Druten's I Am a Camera, which is in turn based on Christopher Isherwood's novel Goodbye to Berlin. It's been revived twice domestically (in 1987 and 1998), and made into that impossibly popular film starring Liza Minnelli. A local dream cast for the umpteenth local production of this perennial tuner might include actor/director Damon Dering as the Emcee and the elusive Theresa Ybarra as Fräulein Schneider. But audiences will almost certainly be content with Copperstate Dinner Theater's cast, since most who attend any production of Cabaret these days are almost certainly there for the tunes, which include "Two Ladies," "Willkommen," "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," and, of course, that rousing title song. Through February 18 at Copperstate Dinner Theatre, located at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 3801 E. Washington St. Call 602-279-3129 for meal times and curtain times.
42nd Street: On the avenue they're taking you to . . . the one where the girl goes out a dancer "but comes back a star!" This popular musical has been revived countless times, but it's still best known in its original context: as the classic Warner Bros. tuner in which chorus girls and would-be showmen dance and romance behind the scenes of a big Broadway show. The Harry Warren and Al Dubin score contains songs that have gone on to become classics of popular music, including "Lullaby of Broadway," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "We're in the Money," and "42nd Street." Come, as the song goes, and meet those dancing feet through February 24 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa. Call 480-325-6700 for tickets and showtimes.