With titles such as Death and Taxes, The Trouble With Death and A Prison in the Heart in its repertoire, Phoenix-based Sharkey Productions could win a prize for the most depressing act in town. But since the independent theater company prides itself on producing original plays with a touch of worldliness, we forgive them. Sharkey's current show is no exception. A two-act drama, A Prison in the Heart explores the struggle of one Sarajevo family during the aftermath of the Bosnian war. Bosnia was ravaged in the early 1990s during a three-and-a-half-year decimation of Yugoslavia.
Penned by Phoenix resident and author Bob Ryan, A Prison in the Heart was originally staged in Bosnia last summer. The English version runs at the Herberger Theater from Friday, June 11, through June 20. Call 602-252-8497 for tickets, $24.50. For more information, visit www.sharkeyproductions.com. --Ashlea Deahl
SNL comedian brings his talent to The Improv
Wanna party with Bill Clinton, Sean Connery, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson and Jay Leno? Get a ticket to see comedian Darrell Hammond, and you might hear 'em all -- and Ted Koppel, too. The Florida-bred funnyman, best known for his impersonations of the former president on Saturday Night Live, brings his standup to the Tempe Improv, at Rural and University, this weekend, Thursday, June 10, through Sunday, June 13. Whether he's ad-libbing Joe Pesci or sliming it up as the pimpin' prez, Hammond whips out the wisecracks. Tickets run $22 to $25. Call 480-921-9877 or see www.tempeimprov.com for more information. --Niki D'Andrea
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Playwright pans Law School
Michael Thomas DePaoli knows why people hate lawyers. After all, he is one. But this local legal eagle turned playwright is trying to show just cause for his profession with his one-act comedy Why You Should Not Go to Law School, which he wrote and will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, June 11, at the Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. DePaoli says he's gotten good at making fun of lawyers, but adds that his kind are a necessary evil. "Being a lawyer sucks," DePaoli admits, "but our system couldn't survive without them." And here's the pro bono prize: The play concludes with DePaoli's fictionalized attorney going to an Azz Izz concert, while the homegrown world music band, featuring Arizona Idol Suzy V., performs immediately following the show. For tickets, $17.50, call 480-596-2660. --C. Murphy Hebert