Theater Scene

Yours, Anne: It sounds like the punch line to an unfortunate joke, but this musical adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank is utterly serious. Presented as a song cycle rather than a traditional book musical, Yours, Anne presents Frank's legendary journal as a series of dramatic scenes set to music. Librettist Enid Futterman has created simpler representations than those in Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett's previous Broadway adaptation to depict the story's teenaged narrator and her seven cohabitants, locked away in their Amsterdam hiding place and singing (but not dancing!) about it. Theater Works is taking some kind of artistic risk with this season opener, which plays through Sunday, Oct. 22, at the company's Sun City interim home, 10484 W. Thunderbird Blvd. Call 623-815-7930 for ticket prices and remaining showtimes.

Two Pianos, Four Hands: What began as a 25-minute skit by Canadian actors Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt has evolved into a popular full-length musical play, thanks in part to Arizona Theatre Company, which presented the show as part of its 2001 season. ATC's original cast, Mark Anders and Carl Danielsen, later toured the U.S. with that production, which is returning to Arizona for a special Mesa engagement through Nov. 2. Dykstra and Greenblatt's semiautobiographical play about the dreams and disappointments of concert pianists is set to tunes — everything from Bach to Billy Joel — played live by Anders and Danielsen, who assay more than 20 characters at the same time. Mesa Arts Center is located at 1 E. Main St. in Mesa. For showtimes and ticket prices, call 480-644-6500.

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.

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. A satire of big business and all it holds sacred, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch as he climbs the corporate ladder, from put-upon window washer to high-powered executive. Frank Loesser's still-topical tunes tackle corporate horrors like nepotism, office parties, company men, and ambitious receptionists. 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.

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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