Cactus League Baseball: They struck out in 1995, but the real boys of spring are back for this year's slate of preseason games, which continues daily, through Friday, March 29, at venues in the Valley and Tucson. For the schedule and other information, see the "Cactus League" subsection in the Sports listing.
Madama Butterfly: Arizona Opera continues its season with Puccini's tragic work about the love and death of a Japanese geisha. Performances are at 7:30p.m. Thursday, March 21; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. All shows are sung in Italian, with English surtitles. Tickets range from $14 to $56, available at Dillard's. Call 266-7464.
The Living Sea: Meryl Streep narrated this smashing, Oscar-nominated love letter to the"world ocean." The 40-minute, 70mm movie, directed by Greg MacGillivray and featuring a soundtrack by Sting (including two new originals), screens daily, through Monday, July 1, at IMAX Theatre, Civic Center Boulevard and Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale. Showtimes are noon and 2 and 4 p.m. Mystery of the Maya shows daily at 1 and 3 p.m.; double features of the unrated movies are scheduled at 7 and 9 nightly. Tickets range from $4.50 to $8.75. Call 945-4629 or 949-3105.
Oleanna: Actors Theatre of Phoenix presents David Mamet's searing drama about political correctness and a disputed case of sexual harassment between a professor and astudent; see the review on page 73. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21; 8 p.m. Friday, March 22; 2and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 23; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Saturday's early show is a "priceless matinee," in which patrons pay what they can afford. The production continues through Sunday, March 31. Regular tickets range from $10 to $23.50, available at Herberger and Dillard's. Call 252-8497 or 678-2222.
Phoenix Suns: The Suns host the Golden State Warriors Thursday, March 21; the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, March 24; and the Sacramento Kings Tuesday, March 26, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. All games tip off at 7 p.m.; a free party at Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams, precedes Sunday's match (call 262-6225). If game tickets are available, they're at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 379-7867, 379-7800 or 678-2222.
Candida: Arizona Theatre Company presents George Bernard Shaw's comedic battle of the wills between young poet Eugene Marchbanks and the good Reverend James Morell. The objective: the hand of the title character, beloved wife of the preacher, apple of the wordsmith's eye and one of the theatre's great roles. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21; 8 p.m. Friday, March 22; and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. A discussion follows Thursday's show. Tickets range from $24 to $30, available at Herberger and Dillard's. For details call 252-8497 or 678-2222.
Branford Marsalis and Ellis Marsalis: Saxman Branford and his piano-playing pop, Ellis, patriarch of the musical New Orleans clan that also produced Wynton and Delfeayo Marsalis, are touring in support of their Columbia collaboration Loved Ones. The album features minimalist versions of 14 standards, including Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets," David Raskin's "Laura" and Duke Ellington's "Angelica." The Marsalises perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts Amphitheater, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 the day of the show, available at the center and Ticketmaster. For details call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
Cowboys LaCage: Craving a revue that features a cast of female impersonators crooning the roles of top Nashville women artists--Dolly, Wynonna, Babs Mandrell, et al.? Don your glitter-dipped Nudie suits and head for Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Showtimes are 7 and 10 p.m. Friday, March 22. Tickets are available at the scene and Dillard's. Call 267-9373 or 678-2222.
Cactus League Baseball: See Thursday.
Candida: See Thursday.
The Living Sea: See Thursday.
Madama Butterfly: See Thursday.
Oleanna: See Thursday.
Spring Landscape Plant Sale: Billed as the state's largest, the annual nonthirsty-flora extravaganza at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5p.m. Saturday, March 23; and the same hours Sunday, March 24. About 15,000 arid-land specimens will be up for grabs. Admission to the sale area is free; regular entrance fees apply at the garden proper. Call 941-1225.
Arizona Highways Spring Sale: The state's official mag hosts its eighth annual bargain-bin bonanza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in the parking lot at Highways, 2039 West Lewis. The array of Arizona-specific items, including prints, books, calendars, travel guides, cooking utensils and clothing, is priced from 25 cents to $25. James Tallon, author of Arizona's 144 Best Campgrounds, will sign copies of the new book from 10 to noon. Admission is free. Call 258-6641.