Thursday, October 7, is shaping up to be Valley theater's biggest opening night of the year. At least half a dozen fairly major shows open that night. Here's a quick run-down of your many options as a Mr. or Ms. First-Nighter:
Play On! -- Arizona Theatre Company kicks off its Valley season with this musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, featuring the music of the great Duke Ellington. It runs through Sunday, October 24, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Call 602-252-8497 or 480-503-5555 for ticket information.
The Vampires -- Harry Kondolean's dark comedy opens the season for In Mixed Company. The run continues through Saturday, October 30, at PlayWright's Theatre, 1121 North First Street. For reservations and details, call 602-252-8497 or 480-503-5555.
Menopause: The Comedy -- Peggy Lord Chilton directed this "lighthearted look at menopause" -- hence the title -- by Terry Earp, which runs through Saturday, November 27, at On the Spot Theater, 4700 North Central. Call 602-564-6606 for reservations.
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Rashomon -- This stage version of the great Kurosawa film about perception and reality was directed by Peggy Lord Chilton. It's performed for one weekend only, through Sunday, October 10, at Theatre Outback, located on the Mesa Community College campus, 1833 West Southern. Call 480-461-7170 for ticket info.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona -- Shakespeare's early comedy about how a pretty face can screw up a friendship between two guys opens the season for Southwest Shakespeare Festival -- it plays through Saturday, October 16, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Call 480-644-2560 (Mesa Community Center) or 480-503-5555 (Dillard's) for details and reservations.
And, though it's not precisely an opening:
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead -- Tom Stoppard's absurdist spin on Hamlet winds up its run with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7; and the same time Saturday, October 9, at the Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 East Sixth Street. It's in repertory with Shakespeare's Hamlet itself, which closes its run at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 8; 2 p.m. Saturday, October 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, October 10. The two shows make up this year's Valley of the Sun Shakespeare Festival, the fourth annual from Actors' Renaissance Theatre. For details call 480-632-0409.