Theater Scene

Suds: Local critics haven't much liked this goofball extravaganza of tunes from the 1960s, and who can blame them? Of the innumerable inane musical revues that attempt to wrap era-specific pop songs around a slim story, this one's the hokiest. To sell its silly tale of a Laundromat owner who attempts suicide and is cornered by a trio of guardian angels, a troupe really needs talented singers with a wide range of singing styles. Reportedly, Desert Stages has chosen a different route. But there are always audiences who don't care who's crooning "Please Mr. Postman," "You Can't Hurry Love," or "Wishing and Hoping"; they just want their big slice of '60s pie. This one may be mincemeat, but it'll be playing for months on end: Desert Stages has plans to keep Suds afloat until Nov. 4 in its Theatre's Actor's Cafe at 4720 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; tickets are $20 to $25. Call 480-483-1664 for reservations.

Dreamgirls: Author Tom Eyen couldn't have guessed that the trio of backup singers he'd created and based on The Supremes would become nearly as big as the real girls themselves, but 25 years after this play's award-winning Broadway debut, we're still humming Henry Krieger's cool Dreams melodies. There are those among us who can't wait to see what Black Theatre Troupe will do with this popular musical in the year that its film version finally makes it to big screens. It's the story of an all-girl black singing trio, The Dreams, who become music superstars and confront the trappings and friendly horrors of fame. BTT will perform its version at the Herberger Theater Stage West, 222 E. Monroe St., through Oct. 15. Tickets are $25 to $35; showtimes are Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. For group tickets, call 602-258-8128; otherwise phone the Herberger at 602-254-7399.

A Chorus Line: That tried-and-true celebration of the unsung heroes of American musical theater, the chorus boys and gals, is traipsing back into town — and this time it comes with an entree! The second-longest-running show in Broadway history won both a Tony and a Pulitzer and features the now-classic songs "At the Ballet," "The Music and the Mirror," "One," and that ultimate blank-stare ballad, "What I Did for Love." It reveals, through song and dance, the hopes and fears of professional dancers as they audition for a new Broadway show, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that show people are not necessarily the most mentally stable bunch in the whole world. A Chorus Line performs through Nov. 11 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Tickets cost between $41 and $50, and showtimes are all over the map; call 480-325-6700 for dinner and curtain times. Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is located at 5247 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: Even people who hate musical theater tend to look fondly on this irreverent tuner from the authors of Guys and Dolls. The show's original production opened in October of 1961 and ran for more than 1,400 performances; this and subsequent productions tend to draw more from the staging of the show's recent Broadway revival. Through Nov. 12 at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria. Showtimes are 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 12:15 and 6:15 p.m. Saturdays, and 11:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $39 to $49; call 623-776-8400.

Pearls: Motherhood Unstrung: This tribute to moms and momism is culled from a collection of essays by the students of Mothers Who Write, a creative writing workshop for mothers sponsored by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The play incorporates pieces both comic and tragic about divorce, finding God, and moms who've reconciled relationships with their own mothers. Pearls is produced by actor/author Debra Rich Gettleman along with Jewish News of Greater Phoenix associate editor Deborah Sussman Susser and New Times managing editor Amy Silverman, who teach the Mothers Who Write workshops. The show will run through Sunday, Oct. 8, at the newly opened Arizona Women's Theatre Company at Stable Arts Theatre, 7610 E. McDonald Dr. in Scottsdale. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $25 for evening performances and $20 for matinees. Discounts are available for groups, seniors and students. Call 602-620-0044 for tickets and additional information.

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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