While most kids long to be baseball stars or astronauts, Darrell Hammond was a comedian born. He started impersonating family members when he was 5, and he's blossomed into Saturday Night Live's resident impressionist, specializing in letter-perfect portrayals of political and entertainment figures such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Sean Connery, Regis Philbin, Dan Rather, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Richard Dreyfuss, Jay Leno, and Ted Koppel. Hammond's coups de grâce are his channelings of the big-headed Koppel, the sonorous windbag Jackson, and, especially, the robotic Gore. Regarding the latter, Gore rather typically failed to see the humor (or parody) in Hammond's portrayal. In fact, it's rumored that the then-veep actually borrowed from the comedian's oeuvre in an attempt to perfect his own presentation in the presidential debates versus Dubya.
Hammond sticks pins in donkeys, elephants and other deserving fauna in shows at 8 p.m. Friday, September 16, and 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, September 17, at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Tickets are $27. Call 480-921-9877 or visit www.tempeimprov.com. -- Clay McNear
Hey, little thing
If you find it "Twice as Hard" to get a "Remedy" that's not "Hard to Handle" these days, "Sometimes Salvation" can be found in the rockin' blues of the Black Crowes. The Atlanta outfit's last record was 2002's Live, and that's what the Crowes will be at Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington Street in Phoenix, at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 17. For tickets, $35, call 480-784-4444. -- Niki D'Andrea
Solo dancing in the dark
Hot jazz, cool jazz, modern jazz, classic jazz -- Daniel Nagrin, the maverick maestro of American dance, has choreographed it all. ASU's Department of Dance is paying tribute to the guru with a special concert, Celebrating the Nagrin Legend. Jazz devotees will see some of Nagrin's most celebrated pieces, such as Man of Action, Strange Hero and Spanish Dance. Shane O'Hara, who performed Nagrin's works in 1998 to rave reviews, will perform the male solos. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17; and 2 p.m. Sunday, September 18, at ASU's Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Tickets range from $5 to $18. Call 480-965-6447 or visit www.herbergercollege.asu.edu/mainstage. -- Kanupriya Vashisht
Jumpin' jive alive!
Theater Works, that west Valley troupe that started life in a barn (no, really), will have audiences dancing in the aisles with its new musical, The All Night Strut!.The revue draws heavily on the hepcat music of Harlem's golden era and the rhythm and blues of the post-World War II years, and is chock full of red-hot tunes like "Fascinatin' Rhythm," "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing" and more than 20 other tunes by the likes of Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, and the Gershwin brothers. The All Night Strut! opens with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 16, and continues through October 2 at the theater, 10484 West Thunderbird Road, Suite 2, in Sun City. Tickets are $23. Call 623-815-7930 or visit www.theaterworks.org. -- David Gofstein