Three compelling plays open this week.
The River Bride — Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. What playwright Marisela Treviño Orta had in mind was a fairytale for grown-ups. When she came across the Brazilian legend about the Amazon’s river dolphins — they transform into handsome men at night and come ashore to seduce the women — she knew she had her plot. Orta’s play, which Arizona Theatre Company opens in previews Friday, Oct. 21, whisks us to the small Brazilian village where sisters Helena and Belmira live with their parents. Belmira, the younger, will soon be married to a young man Helena always thought she would marry. As she tries to overcome her sorrow, a handsome man dressed in white is pulled out of the Amazon by her fisherman father. This is not the sanitized Disney version of a fairytale, Orta quickly points out in an interview early this month. This is more like the Brothers Grimm version of the stories — dark and dangerous, but with lessons to be learned. “‘Bride’ is an engrossing blend of magical realism, once-upon-a-time fantasy and cautionary tale,” said the San Francisco Chronicle about a San Francisco production in 2014. And when the play opened at the prestigious Oregon Shakespeare Festival earlier this year, the Ashland Daily Tidings critic was most impressed. Orta, he says, “has birthed a work of great beauty; a play that is at once transcendent and triumphant.” The play won ATC’s 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award. The one-act runs about 90 minutes. Previews for “The River Bride” are 8 p.m. Oct. 21, 7 p.m. Oct. 22, and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24-26. Opening is 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27. Tickets are $25-$63 at arizonatheatre.org or 622-2823.
An Iliad — Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. Winding Road Theatre Company takes on Homer’s “Iliad.” This is a modern-day retelling of the epic poem by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. It covers only a few weeks in the last year of the 10-year Trojan War. But it is packed with beauty, battles, death, and prophecies. Susan Arnold directs. Dress rehearsls — open to the public — are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19-21 and 2 p.m. Oct. 22 and tickets are $10. The preview is Oct. 26, and the official opening is Oct. 27, at $22 a ticket. It continues through Nov. 4. Windingroadtheater.org or 401-3626.
Two Plays for Lost Souls — The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre at The Historic Y, 738 N. Fifth Ave. The new theater company launches with two one-acts. “The Love Talker,” by Deborah Pryor, takes place in a desolate, spooky area where Bun is trying to care for her younger sister, who is entering adulthood with hormones and a curiosity about sex. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” has been adapted for the stage by Christopher Johnson. Considered an early piece of feminist literature, it takes the form of diary entries written by a woman while she was recovering from a “nervous breakdown.” In those days, any woman with a mind of her own was having a nervous breakdown. Bryan Rafael Falcón directs. Preview is 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Continues at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 2 p.m. Oct. 29. $28 with discounts. 448-3300. Scoundrelandscamp.org.
The Odd Couple — Arizona Rose Theatre, 4500 N. Oracle Road. Neil Simon’s comedy about a recently separated neurotic neat freak who moves in with a pal who is the opposite of neat gets the Rose treatment. Performances are 7 p.m. Oct. 20-21; 2 p.m. Oct. 22. $8-$15. 888-0509. Arizonarosetheatre.com.
Digna — The YMCA of Southern Arizona, 525 N. Bonita Ave. Teatro Dignidad remounts this powerful one-woman show by Patricia Davis. It’s about Digna Ochoa, the Mexican human rights attorney who was assassinated for her work. Barclay Goldsmith directs the powerful piece. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19-22. $15. 288-9149. Teatrodignidad.org.
The Addams Family — Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. The Addams Family started as a single-panel New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams in the 1930s. It was so popular, it was made into a TV show in the mid 1960s, then a movie in 1991, and in 2010 it became a Broadway musical. Seems you can’t keep those strange, goth ghouls down. The University of Arizona’s Arizona Repertory Theatre mounts the musical, which has Wednesday Addams in love and with wedding bells on her mind. Things get complicated when she begs her father not to tell her mother. That’s the least of her problems: wait till her boyfriend’s family meets hers. Various times through Nov. 4. $15-$31. 621-1162. theatre.arizona.edu.
Phantom of the Opera — The Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway. The Gaslight brings back its Peter Van Slyke version of the classic Gaston Leroux story about an opera singer, a stalking masked man and a famous opera house. Here’s what else the Gaslight is bringing back: David Fanning as the masked man. And this piece of news will put Gaslight fans in a frenzy: Joe Cooper is coming out of retirement to reprise the role of Madame Giry. We’re guessing it was just too hard for him to pass up the opportunity to put on a dress and a gray wig again. “Phantom” is at various times through Nov. 5. $19.95. 886-9428. thegaslighttheatre.com.
Luna Gale — St. Francis Theatre, 4625 E. River Road. When teen addicts are accused of neglecting their newborn, a social worker places her in the care of her grandmother in this Rebecca Gilman drama. But the social worker, Caroline, struggles as religious fervor and family secrets are revealed. She strives to do the right thing with little resources and while fighting deceit and denial. Mark Klugheit directs a cast consisting of Amy Scully, Cole Potwardowski, India Osborne, Joanne Robertson, Steve McKee, Taylor Hernandez and Jared Stokes. Ages 13 and up. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 29. $18-$20. 505-1856. Artmeetsheart.com.
Sherlock Holmes — Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Road. Walking adventure with interactive storytelling with Sherlock Holmes leading the way. Every 20 minutes 6-9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30; additional performance Oct. 31. $10. 323-1331. tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com.
The Cat and the Canary — The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave. An attorney tries to protect the sole heir to a millionaire’s estate. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Through Oct. 29. $18. 800-4192. thecomedyplayhouse.com.
Snow White and Friends — Roadrunner Theater, 8892 E. Tanque Verde Road. A musical comedy about Snow White and all those charming pals she has. Ages five and under are free. $10-$12. 11 a.m. Saturdays through Nov. 4. 207-2491.
Baskerville — Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway. Here’s why you want to see this Ken Ludwig play: Ken Ludwig. He is, frankly, a stitch. Here’s another reason: Stephen Frankenfield dons the deerstalker cap. He, too, is a stitch. OK, there are more reasons: The comedy has Watson and Sherlock Holmes hunting down why the male heirs of the Baskerville line are being picked off one by one. The cast also includes Eric Du is Watson, Matthew Copley, Debbie Runge and Steve Wood. The small cast plays 43 different characters. Another reason to go. Christopher Moseley directs. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 11. Previews and Thursday tickets are $15, regular performances are $20. 327-4242. Livetheatreworkshop.org.
Dia de los Muertos: The Musical — Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway. Live Theatre’s Managing Director Michael Martinez is also a composer. A musician. A playwright. He combines all these skills for this children’s play celebrating the annual Day of the Dead. The story has the audience follow a young woman, who has lost a much-loved pet, on a journey to the world of the dead. There she realizes that it is not frightening and foreboding, as she thought, but a world of beauty and kindness. With the lesson in her heart, a new monster friend helps her return to the land of the living before she is stuck there forever. Performances are 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 5. $7-$10. 327-4242. Livetheatreworkshop.org.