Theater Scene

42nd Street: On the avenue they're taking you to . . . the one where the girl goes out a dancer "but comes back a star!" This popular musical has been revived countless times, but it's still best known in its original context: as the classic Warner Bros. tuner in which chorus girls and would-be showmen dance and romance behind the scenes of a big Broadway show. The Harry Warren and Al Dubin score contains songs that have gone on to become classics of popular music, including "Lullaby of Broadway," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "We're In the Money," and "42nd Street." Come, as the song goes, and meet those dancing feet through Feb. 24 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5247 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa. Call 480-325-6700 for tickets and showtimes.

Old Man's Friend: Arizona Jewish Theatre's latest outing is this James Sherman dramedy, which debuted at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre where all of Sherman's plays have premièred. It's the story of an elderly fellow who moves in with his estranged daughter after being told he's dying. When he instead recovers, the pair must face their past troubles and the prospect of resuming their relationship. Southwest Shakespeare Company founder Randy Messersmith is directing, and his stellar cast features local stars Maria Amorocho and Ben Tyler. Through Jan. 14 at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. Call 602-264-0402 for ticket information.

South Pacific: Some enchanted evening, you may see a celebrated Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, but only if you head to Arizona Broadway Theatre. Set in an island paradise during World War II, this dual love story based on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific won multiple Tony Awards when it first debuted and features a score that has yielded such classics as "Bali Ha'i," "Younger Than Springtime," and, of course, "Some Enchanted Evening." Through Sunday, Jan. 7, at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria. Call 623-776-8400 for more information.

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 extended Suds, and plans to keep it afloat until February 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.

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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