Theater Scene

Fat Pig: Tom is surprised to find himself falling in love with Helen, an intelligent, witty, and very overweight librarian. His friends and colleagues don't approve, and rather than forging ahead with a post-PC "love is love, darn it" attitude, he hides his romance with Helen in Neil LaBute's sassy, deeply moving morality play. Fans of LaBute won't show up expecting a happy ending, but there's plenty to love about this inspection of our crass, shallow expectations of people. Stray Cat Theatre's production stars Bronwyn Schile and runs Friday, Nov. 3, through Nov. 18 at Metro Arts, 1700 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix. Call 480-820-8022 for ticket prices and showtimes.

Vilna's Got a Golem: Jewish folklore tells us that a golem is a homicidal creature made of clay that, in Ernest Joselovitz's comedy, provides an opportunity to consider whether persecuted Jews should have suffered in silence or taken up arms against their oppressors. Joselovitz's deeply thoughtful play masquerades as a comedy, but behind its cartoonish monster and its sitcom sympathies, there are dark themes and troubling questions. The story of a Jewish theater troupe in 1899 imperialist Russia that performs the tale of the golem is steeped in Brechtian technique, but is staged as a contemporary comedy. Arizona Jewish Theatre Company performs the play Saturday, Nov. 4, through Nov. 19 at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, located on the first floor of the Viad Corporate Center. Call 602-264-0402.

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 that 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. Desert Stages plans to keep Suds afloat until Saturday, 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