Theater Scene

My Fair Lady: The rain in Spain will, these next several weeks, be falling mainly on the theatrical plain of Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, which brings us this famed Lerner-Loewe musical through mid-April. Based on George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion, My Fair Lady contains more classic tunes in its first act alone (Wouldnt It Be Loverly?; The Rain in Spain; I Could Have Danced All Night; On the Street Where You Live) than most composers have turned out in an entire career. The original cast of the shows 1956 debut production, directed by Moss Hart and choreographed by Hanya Holm, included Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, and Cathleen Nesbitt, and ran for an incredible 2,717 performances, a record at the time. And who can forget Al Hirschfelds infamous playbill cover drawing depicting Eliza as a marionette being manipulated by Henry Higgins, whose own strings are being yanked by a heavenly George Bernard Shaw? This dine-and-ogle version plays through April 14 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa. Call 480-325-6700 for tickets and showtimes.

Funny Money: Last years screen adaptation of this Ray Cooney farce, starring Chevy Chase and Penelope Ann Miller, made a splash on the film festival circuit, then sank without a trace. The Copperstate staging of Cooneys original play promises to stick around for at least a month in its Valley première. Set in England, Cooneys story involves a mild-mannered accountant, a briefcase full of cash, and a dead guy whos been pumped full of lead. Lets hope this production doesnt also include phony British accents, which always spell death for across-the-pond comedies produced locally. Funny Money plays at the Copperstate Dinner Theater, 3801 E. Washington (inside Phoenix Greyhound Park), through April 8. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings, with dinner at 6:30 and curtain at 8. Sunday Supper Shows offer dinner at 5:30 and a 7:00 curtain. The $32.95 ticket price includes dinner and the show. Phone in your reservations to 602-279-3129.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona: The gentlemen in question are Old Wills Valentine and Proteus, old pals who are striking out for Milan, although Proteus hopes to bag the fair Julia and would rather stay behind. Once in Milan, the usual cross-dressing, mistaken identities, and presumed infidelities ensue (hey, its Shakespeare), but after much iambic pentameter, everyone gets laid and goes home happy — even the servants! Southwest Shakespeares production takes the stage next week and plays through March 24 at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. in Mesa. Call 480-641-7039 for tickets and showtimes.

Guys and Dolls: Nathan Detroit, Arvide Abernathy, and Harry the Horse are returning to us, this time by way of Phoenix Theatres current production of Frank Loessers famed musical. Adapted from several short stories by Damon Runyon, most notably The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Pick the Winner, Guys and Dolls bowed on Broadway in 1950 and ran for 1200 performances. It won the 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical, and has been revived three times since. Most of us can hum at least part of the score — which includes now-classic selections like Luck Be a Lady and A Bushel and a Peck — a fact that Phoenix Theatre, which excels at staging well-known musicals, is probably counting on. This production is directed by Michael Barnard and features a Whos Who of local musical theater talent, including Robert Kolby Harper (as Nathan Detroit), Kristen Drathman, Dion Johnson, and Black Theatre Troupes David Hemphill. Through March 18 at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd. Call 602-254-2151 for more information.

Kiss Me Kate: Cole Porters famous score for this backstage musical about a theater troupes performance of Shakespeares The Taming of the Shrew is bursting with now-classic original tunes. In between choruses of Another Openin, Another Show, Wunderbar, Too Darn Hot, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare are some of musical theaters most cleverly crafted quarrels, each of them designed to prove once and for all that theater people are the most terrifying creatures on earth. Through March 4 at Arizona Broadway Theater, 7701 W. Paradise Ln. in Peoria. Dinner is served one hour and forty-five minutes prior to curtain. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m., Sunday matinee at 1 p.m., and Sunday twilight shows at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $39-$49, which includes dinner, show and tax. Call the box office at 623-776-8400.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela