Darkness falls across the land/ The midnight hour is close at hand/ Creatures crawl in search of blood/ To terrorize yawl's neighborhood . . .
Michael Jackson -- not just the king of pop, but also the king of freaky -- isn't the only one with the 411 on where the mischief makers are. Downtown is crawling with macabre creatures as Center Dance Ensemble opens its season with Halloween at the Herberger. Getting the adrenaline pumping is a piece from the troupe's repertoire, Dracula; adding new blood to the event is the premiere of Dance of the Spider Women. If that doesn't get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up, six other local dance troupes -- Movement Dance Source Dance Company, Physical Graffiti, Instinct Dancecorps, lizcasebolt & dancers, Scorpius Dance Theatre, and Footwork -- perform frightfully beautiful modern dance pieces.
Halloween at the Herberger opens Thursday, October 23, and runs through Sunday, October 26. Tickets -- $8.50, $16.50 and $19.50 -- can be purchased by calling 602-252-8497 or 480-784-4444.- Eric Schandel
Rock Out, Damn Spot
Come see the ultimate drama king, Macbeth
It's Macbeth for the MTV generation, as Actors' Renaissance Theatre transports the Bard's 17th-century king to the 1990s music scene in Macbeth: Remixed. The tale's new twist: After a visit from three groupies who predict he'll reign as the king of rock, the desperate Macbeth slays the CEO of Scotland Records. True to Shakespearean formula, it all ends in a mess of madness and murder.
The production runs Friday, October 24, through November 2 at the Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 East Sixth Street. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Call 480-632-0409. - Jill Koch
The Pound of Music
Japanese drummers perform in Scottsdale
Japan's Yamato drummers believe that the drumbeat, like the heartbeat, is the very pulse of life. The troupe plays traditional Wadaiko drums, some of them made from trees hundreds of years old -- their sounds range from gentle raindrops to rolling thunder.
The group was founded 10 years ago in Nara, said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. Since its formation, the troupe has traveled the world, playing street performances and concert halls. Combining theatrics with tradition, the drummers blend meditative music with a visually entertaining show, employing communal clapping and audience participation. Fresh off a European tour, the troupe is on its first tour of the U.S. and will perform at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, on Sunday, October 26. Showtimes are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $34. Call 480-994-ARTS (2787) or visit www.scottsdalearts.org for more information. - Brendan Joel Kelley