Opening Nights | February 2017

Left to right: Marney Austin and Tom Koelbel in Bakersfield Mist. Photo by Mark Gluckman.

By Richard Schultz, February 2017 Issue.

Bakersfield Mist
Through Jan. 29

Maude, a 50-something unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, has bought a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock that’s worth millions. But when world-class art expert Lionel Percy flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover. Inspired by true events, this hilarious and thought-provoking comedy-drama by Stephen Sachs asks vital questions about what makes art – as well as people – truly authentic. Richard Powers-Hardt directs the cast featuring Marney Austin and Tom Koelbel.

Bakersfield Mist
Through Jan. 29
Theatre Artists Studio
4848 E. Cactus Road, Scottsdale
Tickets: $25; 602-765-0120

Through Feb.14

With enchantment, pageantry and glorious melodies, Lerner and Loewe’s classic won’t “Let it be forgot that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.” In Medieval England, young King Arthur hopes to create an idyllic kingdom guided by honor and righteousness, embodied by his Knights of the Round Table. But Arthur’s perfect world is an illusion; his wife, Guinevere, secretly loves the handsome and noble knight, Lancelot. This memorable score includes “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood” and “The Lusty Month of May.” 

Through Feb. 14
Arizona Broadway Theatre
7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria
Tickets: $81-$88; 623-776-8400

BASKERVILLE logoBaskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Jan. 25-Feb. 12

Does a wild hellhound prowl the moors of Devonshire? From the award-winning mastermind of mayhem and comedic genius Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) transforms Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Hound of the Baskervilles into a murderously funny adventure. Sherlock Holmes is on the case. The male heirs of the Baskerville line are being dispatched one by one. To find their ingenious killer, Holmes and Dr. Watson must brave the desolate moors before a family curse dooms its newest heir. The intrepid investigators try to escape a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit as a small cast of actors deftly portray more than 40 characters.

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Jan. 25-Feb. 12
Phoenix Theatre
100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix
Tickets: $36-$86; 602-254-2151

The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room
Feb. 3-19

This dark, biting comedy explores the timeless quest for beauty and its cost. Three women from different centuries meet in a modern doctor’s waiting room. Forgiveness From Heaven is an 18th-century Chinese woman whose bound feet are causing her to lose her toes. Victoria is a 19th-century tightly corseted English woman suffering from what is commonly known as “hysteria.” Then there is Wanda, a modern gal from New Jersey who is having problems with her silicone breasts. Husbands, doctors, Freud, the drug industry and the FDA all come under examination. Lisa Loomer’s play is a wild ride through medical and sexual politics.

 The Waiting Room
Feb. 3-19
Mesa Encore Theatre
933 E. Main St., Mesa
Tickets: $15; 480-834-9500

Unnecessary Farce
Feb. 3-12

When Billie and Eric, a pair of inept police officers, set up a sting operation to trap the crooked mayor, nothing can go wrong – unless everything goes wrong! Set in a pair of matching hotel rooms, this quick-paced farce is filled with doors slamming, clothes flying and bagpipes bleating, all of which adds up to an over-the-top tale of mix-ups and mayhem. In this side-splitting escapade, playwright Paul Slade Smith has reinvented the in-one-door innuendo, and out-the-other-door comic shtick. 

Unnecessary Farce
Feb. 3-12
Desert Foothills Theater
33606 N. 60th St., Scottsdale
Tickets: $26-$32.50; 480-488-1981

matilda the musicalMatilda the Musical
Feb. 7-12

Winner of four Tony Awards, is the story of an extraordinary girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind whose talents are constantly belittled by her cruel parents and headmistress. Dreaming of a better life for herself, she dares to take a stand against these oppressive forces and takes her destiny into her own hands. Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, this heart-warming musical continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway, in London’s West End and in Sydney.

Matilda the Musical
Feb. 7-12
ASU Gammage
1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe
Tickets: $20-$132; 480-965-3434

La Esquinita, USA
Feb. 9-26

What happens to a small border town when big promises from big business are broken? Rubén C. González, one of the Southwest’s premier Mexican-American writer/performers, presents a tour-de-force of interlocking stories: 10 characters on a passage through a once-booming, but now forgotten town. The main source of employment, the Thompson Tire Factory, has gone overseas and left the town’s infrastructure in disarray. Told by the wise, omniscient custodian, Lencho, and experienced through the eyes of 18-year-old Daniel, La Esquinita, USA connects the disparate stories of those left behind.

La Esquinita, USA
Feb. 9-26
Arizona Theatre Company
Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
Tickets: $25-$70; 602-256-6995

Feb. 10-26

Written by Nathan Louis Jackson, the King family has weathered life’s hardships, surviving with their love for each other intact. William King lives in the house his two sons grew up in. He’s alone, but he maintains his allegiance with their mother in his own private way. As illness takes its toll on his body, the brothers are called home to take care of him and immediately find themselves at a crossroads. The older son, who escaped the poverty and their neighborhood, has just finished grad school, and the younger brother, who has remained at home, must face the reality of his dead-end restaurant job.

Feb. 10-26
Black Theatre Troupe
1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Tickets: $36; 602-258-8128