Sleeper Hit

Small local theater productions have a way of inviting comparison to current events -- intentionally or not. Take George Washington Slept Here, which premières at the Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 East Sixth Street, at 8 p.m. Friday, May 28. The play, written by Pulitzer Prize winners George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, is the story of Newton Fuller -- a man from the big city who invades the countryside to build his dream house, despite several setbacks, money woes, and the endless stream of Murphy's Law references.

If art truly imitates life, the comedy, produced by Tempe Little Theatre and directed by Karen Rolston, is the perfect morale booster for a certain commander in chief. At least this story has a happy ending.

The play runs through June 13. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Call 480-350-8388 or see --Joe Watson

Dog Days

Canine love story provides lunchtime levity

Tue 6/10
As downtown clock-watchers woof down chili dogs, the Herberger's Lunch Time Theater series aims to make good on a plot reminiscent of a David Spade flick gone horribly bad. In Dog Lovers, beginning Tuesday, June 1, at the Performance Outreach Theater, 222 East Monroe, director Cindy Brown presents the beastly love triangle of Tom -- in dogged pursuit of Colleen -- and Daisy, the four-legged key to Colleen's heart. Tickets to the one-act, 45-minute show (starting at 12:10 p.m.) are $5; bring your own lunch or pre-order a boxed lunch for an additional $5. For reservations call 602-254-7399. --Joe Watson

Verse Vice

Poets slam at Arcosanti

Sat 5/29
This ain't the old "slam, bam, thank you ma'am." Nope, the stakes are much higher at the fourth annual Arizona Regional Slam Poetry Championship on Saturday, May 29, at Arcosanti. More than the usual beatnik finger-snappers, the event offers the winning word slingers a berth in the National Slam Competition in St. Louis. Three rounds of lyrical bouts are scheduled among eight teams, as select audience members judge on performance and content. "Arizona is really getting recognized as a new breeding ground for spoken word and slam poetry," says organizer Dan Seaman, whose surname has surely inspired a few digs over the years, poetic or otherwise. Some rhymes rule, some rhymes bust from noon until 8 p.m. Admission is free. Arcosanti is off I-17 Exit 262 in Cordes Junction. Visit -- Benjamin Leatherman