It was 1984. Reaganomics were trickling down, collars were turning up, and an unknown Kevin Bacon, with his sassy spiked hair and angry choreography, made the world safe for dancing. Nearly 20 years later, the Footloose phenomenon parties on, as a stage version of the movie opens Thursday, May 22, at Mesa's Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre-West. The story sets a hip Chicago teen in a decidedly un-funky town, where he clashes with the conservative rural citizens and (let's hear it for the boy!) defies their no-dancing law. Even without Bacon's star power, the show rocks with dance numbers set to the original soundtrack's songs, including "Almost Paradise," "Holding Out for a Hero" and Kenny Loggins' timeless title track.
Footloose cuts loose through June 28 at the theater, 5247 East Brown in Mesa. Tickets range from $22 to $41. Call 480-325-6700 or see www.broadwaypalmwest.com for reservations. - Jill Koch
Spring in Their Steps
Dancers salute fate and film
The Valley's Dance Motion Performing Company is stepping up its annual spring production, presenting not one but two full-length shows, both taking the stage this weekend at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. The nonprofit youth organization's senior and teen groups join forces in Playing With Fate, a production recounting the tragedy and comedy of classic Greek drama through contemporary dance set to pop, disco and Latin music. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Dance Motion's junior performing group takes a spin through musical cinema; Let's Go to the Movies mines memorable flicks from Flashdance to Singin' in the Rain.
Tickets for both performances, $8 to $18, are available through 602-262-7272 and www.tickets.com. - Jill Koch
Perils of parenting, a laughing matter
He went from pimpin' to Pampers and, this weekend, comedian Craig Shoemaker -- a.k.a. "the Love Master" -- brings his "Who's Your Daddy Tour" to the Tempe Improv. Since becoming a father five years ago, Shoemaker has written a children's book, What You Have Now... What Your Daddy Had Then, and has incorporated the highs, lows and hilarity of parenthood into his act. He takes the stage at the Improv, 930 East University, at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 22, through Sunday May 25, with additional performances at 10 p.m. Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24. Tickets are $17 and $29; call 480-921-9877 to purchase. See www.craigshoemaker.com for more on the Master. - Jill Koch