Zombies, ghosts and … puppets? Yup, it’s Halloween season at Valley theaters, but don’t worry, there are plenty of plays and musicals for those who don’t get a kick out of things that go bump in the night. Here are this month’s picks.

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

Stephen Trask’s cult-hit glam-rock musical went mainstream when Neil Patrick Harris starred as the transgender title character on Broadway in 2014. Since the national tour never made it to Tempe, Phoenix Theatre and the A/C Theatre Company are teaming up for a production with local standout Caleb Reese, star of “The Toxic Avenger” and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

Details: Continuing through Sunday, Nov. 12. Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road. $29 and up. 602-254-2151, phoenixtheatre.com.

REVIEW: Phoenix Theatre’s ‘Hedwig’ will tear you down

MORE: Meet Phoenix Theatre’s ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ star Caleb Reese

‘Chapter Two’

Marsha Mason, Neil Simon’s second wife, starred in the movie version of this 1977 play inspired by their relationship, and now she has directed the show as Arizona Theatre Company’s season opener. It’s about a widower and a divorcée (they still used those words in the ’70s) who aren’t quite sure they’re ready for a new romance. A comedy with dark edges, it marked a turn Simon’s career toward more serious (though still funny) fare such as “Biloxi Blues.”

Details: Thursday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 22. Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. $25-$80. 602-256-6995, arizonatheatre.org.

‘The Woman in Black’

Based on the 1983 novella by Susan Hill, this Gothic horror story is set in a small English town where a shrouded figure strikes fear in the hearts of the citizens. Stephen Mallatratt’s stage adaptation, with all the characters portrayed by just two actors, has been in production in London since 1989, making it the second-longest-running nonmusical in West End history, after “The Mousetrap.” This Halloween season has three productions in the Valley.


Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 22. MET Black Box, 933 E. Main St., Mesa. $13-$15. 480-834-9500, mesaencoretheatre.com.

Thursday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 5. 13541 W. Camino Del Sol, Sun City West. $12-$20. 623-252-5127, ghostlightaz.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 31, through Sunday, Nov. 5. Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $19-$59. 602-734-5734, womaninblackphx.com.

‘Frankenstein Has No Legs’

All Puppet Players has shredded pop-culture icons from “Star Wars” to “The Exorcist” with its R-rated spoofs performed with Muppet-style characters and hilarious low-budget props. Now it takes on Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel before returning to movie madness in December with “Die Hard: A Christmas Story.”

Details: Friday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 28. Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $20; $52 VIP. 602-254-2151, allpuppetplayers.com.

PoeFest 2017

Arizona Curriculum Theater’s annual Halloween performances feature professional actors, done up as asylum inmates, reciting favorite stories and poems by Edgar Allen Poe. This year’s selections include “The Black Cat,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Premature Burial.” They save “The Raven” for Halloween, and there are also PoeFest séances.

Details: Friday, Oct. 6, through Tuesday, Oct. 31. Two venues. Hotel San Carlos, 202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Halloween performances of “The Raven” start at 7:30 p.m. at the Rosson House Museum, 113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix. $22-$27; $10 for “The Raven.” poefest.org.

‘The Nether’

In Jennifer Haley’s 2013 sci-fi thriller, a detective sets her sights on a virtual Victorian fantasy land that lets is customers indulge their darkest desires. This play, produced by Arizona State University, definitely needs a trigger warning. From the New York Times review: “As a parable for where we’re headed on that big old highway in the digital sky, ‘The Nether’ exerts a viselike grip, while taking you down avenues of thought you probably haven’t traveled yet.”

Details: Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 22. Lyceum Theatre, Arizona State University, 901 S. Forest Mall, Tempe. $8-$16. 480-965-6447, mainstage.asu.edu.

‘The Three Musketeers’

“All for one and one for all!” Southwest Shakespeare brings Alexandre Dumas’ classic adventure tale to the stage with a script by Ken Ludwig. The playwright is best known for his farce “Lend Me a Tenor,” but he also has adapted the likes of “Treasure Island” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (the latter as a musical).

Details: Friday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Oct. 28. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $13-$47. 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com, swshakespeare.org.


Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel about a mad scientist who re-creates life using spare body parts has been adapted for the stage in a variety of ways. Theater Works’ production is written by Victor Gialanella drawing on both the novel and the 1931 Hollywood classic.

Details: Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 29. Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 8355 W. Peoria Ave. $14-$36. 623-815-7930, theaterworks.org.


This psychological thriller by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith pays homage to the novels of Patricia Highsmith (“Strangers on a Train”) by turning the author into a character, a misanthropic recluse in her twilight years who sets her sights on a publisher’s assistant sent to persuade her to write one more Tom Ripley novel (as in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”).

Details: Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Nov. 5. Theatre Artists Studio, 4848 E. Cactus Road, Suite 406, Phoenix. $15-$25. 602-765-0120, thestudiophx.org.

‘Man of La Mancha’

“The Impossible Dream” is the “hit single” from this 1965 musical, in which the 17th-century classic “Don Quixote” is performed as a play-within-a-play as its author, Miguel de Cervantes, is held prisoner by the Spanish Inquisition. This dinner-theater presentation is the first of two professional productions this season, with Arizona Theatre Company bringing the show to the Herberger Theater Center in January.

Details: Friday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Nov. 11. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. Call for prices. 623-776-8400, azbroadway.org.

‘William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead’

“A true and accurate account of the Elizabethan zombie plague” by John Heimbuch is packed with witty wordplay designed to tickle Bard buffs. Set in 1599, it sees Shakespeare’s players holed up with the Queen at the Globe theater during what just might be an undead apocalypse. Produced by Scottsdale Community College Theatre Arts.

Details: Friday, Oct. 20, through Saturday, Oct. 28. Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E. Chaparral Road. Free. facebook.com/scctheatre, eventbrite.com.

‘Building the Wall’

Robert Schenkkan, author of the LBJ play “All the Way” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Kentucky Cycle,” grapples with the politics of the Trump era in a near-future thriller in which America is under martial law following a terrorist attack in Times Square. Produced by iTheatre Collaborative.

Details: Friday, Oct. 20, through Saturday, Nov. 4. Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix (Kax Stage entrance on Van Buren Street). 602-252-8497, herbergertheater.org, itheatreaz.org.

‘Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey’

A nerdy mouse finds his escape in science fiction in this touring show for families by Lightwire Theater, known for its innovative use of “electroluminescence.” Think: cartoons built out of light, brought to life by actors on a pitch-black stage.

Details: 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. $9-$29. 480-499-8587, scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

‘Tomás and the Library Lady’

Tempe’s Childsplay troupe brings back an old favorite. José Cruz González’s play-with-music is about a boy from a family of migrant workers who discovers the joy of reading. The show takes young audiences inside the world of imagination with dinosaurs and intrepid explorers.

Details: Saturday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 12. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. $12-$30. 480-350-2822, childsplayaz.org.

‘Seven Guitars’

Fresh out of jail, a 1940s blues singer is offered a record contract and with it an opportunity to right some wrongs. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1995, the play is part of August Wilson’s epic Pittsburgh Cycle, which explores the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century. Produced by Black Theatre Troupe.

Details: Friday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Nov. 12. Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix. $38. 602-258-8129, blacktheatretroupe.org.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4896. Follow him at facebook.com/LengelOnTheater and twitter.com/KerryLengel.

More arts

Phoenix arts news

Your guide to 42 top fall festivals around metro Phoenix

Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2yEyPk0