Taking the concept of a core curriculum to extremes, creepy Mrs. Gorf turns her pupils into apples. The wacky Wayside School -- where the 30 classrooms were accidentally stacked vertically rather than built side-by-side -- inspires a slew of such tall tales, and Childsplay Theatre Company brings them to life in Sideways Stories From Wayside School. Adapted from Louis Sachar's series of children's books, the play combines academic misadventures with moral lessons for young audiences. Appropriate for children 5 and older, the Sideways Stories take Center Stage at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe, from Saturday, September 13, through October 4. Showtimes are 2 and 5 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, with an ASL-interpreted performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 20. Childsplay Academy offers a corresponding class, Saturdays from September 20 through October 11, engaging 8- to 12-year-olds in active exploration of the play. Call 602-252-8497 or see www.ticketmaster.com for tickets -- $19 for adults, $15 for students/seniors -- and download study guides at www.childsplayaz.org. - Jill Koch
Getting The Pointe
Ballet classes begin
Assume the positions: Phoenix Parks and Rec is sponsoring free ballet classes for kids and adults of all skill levels, Wednesday, September 17, through December 17 at Eastlake Park Dance Studio, 1549 East Jefferson. Susan Lotocki, who studied at the New York Conservatory of Dance and the Washington School of Ballet, is on tap to teach the weekly courses: pre-ballet (for ages 5 to 9), beginning ballet (7 to 12), adult beginning ballet (12 and older), ballet I and II (9 and up), and beginning pointe (teacher's consent required). Call 602-262-6759 to request a schedule or registration form. - Jill Koch
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New IMAX film raids the world of bugs
A new IMAX film is set to hit the screen, and the buzz is deafening. "A movie about bugs starring real bugs," Bugs! 3D shrinks viewers to the size of a thumbtack, making them flies on the proverbial wall.
Partially shot in the Borneo rain forest and narrated by Dame Judi Dench, the live-action nature drama documents Papilio's metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly via that awkward pupal stage. Meanwhile, Hierodula, a praying mantis, develops by incomplete metamorphosis, breaking out of his egg as a mini-mantis and regularly shedding his skin as he grows into his wings.
Bugs! 3D opens at Tempe's Arizona Mills IMAX Theatre, Friday, September 12, and runs through December 25. Tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children. Call 480-897-1453 or see www.imax.com/tempe for showtimes; log on to www.giantscreenbugs.com for more on the film. - Jill Koch