Theater Scene

Kimberly Akimbo: David Lindsay Abaire's cautionary tale about a teenager with a rare condition that causes her body to age faster than it should was a runaway smash when it debuted in Manhattan a few years ago. The author of Wonder of the World, an early hit for Stray Cat Theatre, has penned a hilarious character study in which Kimberly, the afflicted teen, must reevaluate her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a drunk of a father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and -- most terrifying of all -- the possibility of first love. This shrewd satire is making its Southwest première with director Damon Dering at the helm -- great news for fans of really solid alternative theater. Through Saturday, Feb. 25. 1121 N. 1st St., Phoenix. Call 480-820-8022 for times and ticket prices.

The Melody Lingers On: Songs of Irving Berlin: Maestro Irving Berlin never learned to read or compose music, yet produced dozens of musical theater shows, founded the famous Music Box theater, and wrote thousands of popular music's most famous songs -- all of them in the key of F sharp. This aptly titled revue recounts the story of Berlin's life and the lives his music has touched through much of the past century. The cast features popular crooner Nick Cartel, Stagebrush favorite Katie Olsen, and a newly svelte Kristin Drathman. Directed and co-choreographed by Mark Steven-Robinson with Heather Langam, and music direction by Alan Ruch. Through March 19. Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix. Call 602-254-2151 for times and ticket prices.

Little Mary Sunshine: As ever, Theater Works is courting its Sun City audience with this less-than-hip chestnut that spoofs musical theater. Set in the Rocky Mountains in the early 20th century, this one has villains twisting the ends of their pointy mustaches, and rugged, upright heroes rescuing damsels in distress. Rick Besoyan's sideways homage to old Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy operettas is goofy fun for anyone who hasn't already seen it -- but who, at this point, might that be? General admission tickets are $23, and group discounts are available. Through Sunday, Feb. 26. Theater Works, 10484 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City. Call 623-815-7930 for showtimes.

Man of La Mancha: Just in case you weren't in New York in 1972, 1977, 1992 or 2002 to see one of the Broadway revivals of this perennial musical favorite, you're in luck: This local production by our newest dinner theater features performers who all hail originally from New York state. Ann Marie Wilcox (Brooklyn) is Aldonza/Dulcinea; Ronald L. Brown (Jackson Heights) is Cervantes/Don Quixote; and Dennis Setteducati (Smithtown) is Sancho in Dale Wasserman's world-famous retelling of Don Quixote's quest "to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to rescue orphans and distressed persons." Dinner is served one hour and 45 minutes prior to curtain. Showtimes are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 1 p.m.; and Sunday twilight shows at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $39 to $49 and include dinner and the show. Through March 5. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. Call 623-776-8400 for more information.

Bunnicula: There's no need to fear, apparently: Bunnicula is here. Jon Klein and Chris Jeffries' musical comedy for kids, based on James and Deborah Howe's popular books, is all about the Monroe family as seen through the eyes of its pets. Harold the Dog and Chester the Cat freak when a bunny joins the family, and really come unglued when they find a tomato drained of its juice. When still more vegetables turn up annihilated, the four-legged duo suspects the silly rabbit in a story filled with song that's strong on messages about why kids needn't fear imaginary monsters. The cast features Childsplay vets Debra K. Stevens and Jon Gentry. Through March 12. Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 E. 6th St., Tempe. Call 480-350-8119 for times and ticket prices.

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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