Radio drama? These days, there isn't much, unless Rush Limbaugh's bout with OxyContin counts as dramatic fare. But there was a time -- in the 1930s and '40s -- when live electronic entertainment came solely via radio, with War of the Worlds and Arch Oboler's Lights Out leading the way. On Thursday, August 19, local playwright and director M.V. Moorhead brings radio drama -- with a large dose of slapstick comedy -- back to life and to the stage with Scorpion City, live radio theater that he describes as "Rocky and Bullwinkle meets Blazing Saddles."
Scorpion City -- the third installment of KJZZ/KBAQ's "Big Summer To-Do Series" -- stars Stan J. Tuznik as the "two-fisted hero" singing cowboy, Dick Scott, who fends off would-be radio rivals while "underworld" aliens try to jam the world's radio waves.
Hear and see it live and in stereo at 7 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore, 24th Street and Missouri. Tickets, $10, can be purchased at the door or by calling 480-834-5627. -- Joe Watson
State of Mind
Rent at the Orpheum
Those living in the lower east side of Manhattan -- surrounded by death, AIDS, violence, drug addiction and dealing with overdue rent -- apparently can't help but burst into song. For the rest of us, we probably could refrain from operatic expression, but we're not a character in Rent. The critically acclaimed musical is coming to the Orpheum Theatre at 203 West Adams on Friday, August 20, through Sunday, August 22. For tickets, $48.50 ($20 tickets will be available at the box office on performance dates), call 602-262-7272 or see www.tickets.com. -- C. Murphy Hebert
Theatre in My Basement shows
Everyone has a dream car. For hepcats, it's a flame-spewing hot rod. For street racers, it's some tricked-out import. But for local playwright Chris Danowski (pictured), his dream machine is a run-down 1986 Honda Civic. No foolin' -- Danowski conjured a nocturnal vision with the jalopy as the metaphorical setting for Pavement, one of two new works Theatre in My Basement will debut on Wednesday, August 25, at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. The troupe won't muck up the space, however, as chairs will represent the rattletrap, which becomes a public gathering space for seven characters. "Sometimes it's easier for an audience to accept crazy leaps of imagination," says Danowski. "You say you're in a car or on the moon and not worry about how to build it." The show starts at 8 p.m., and a second play, Dry Rot, follows. Tickets are $5. Call 602-462-5516. -- Benjamin Leatherman