Take a deep breath — there’s lot of theater to see in the Old Pueblo:
Beautiful — The Carole King Musical — Broadway in Tucson. See story.
Día 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 those 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. Performances are 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 5. $7-$10. 327-4242. livetheatreworkshop.org.
Cloud Nine — The Rogue Theatre, 300 E. University. The Rogue gives a staged reading of this Caryl Churchill play — and we’ve hopes that it might lead to a full production at some point. That’s because Churchill is funny, and smart, and insightful. And oh yeah, she’s a pretty brilliant playwright, too. “Cloud Nine,” which explores sexual politics and gender identity, is set in two times. The first act takes us to Victorian Africa and to the household of Clive, a colonial administrator who lives with his wife and three children. He is intent on managing the Africans who chafe under the rule of Queen Victoria. Meanwhile, lust and confusion have taken over the house. The second act takes place in 1970s London. We meet some of the same characters (though they are only 25 years older) and the sexual revolution is in full swing. But that doesn’t mean there is any less confusion. The reading is 2 p.m. Oct. 1. $15-$17. 551-2053. theroguetheatre.org.
Chapter Two — Temple of Music & Art, 333 S. Scott Ave. Arizona Theatre Company’s production of the Neil Simon play is directed by the playwright’s ex-wife, Marsha Mason. The comedy about a recently widowed writer who is introduced by his press-agent brother to a soap opera actress, was inspired by Mason and Simon’s whirlwind romance. The production zeros in on the struggles of dealing with deep grief, tempering the humor with insight. Final performances are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29; 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 30. $25-$73. 622-2823. arizonatheatre.org.
The Astronaut Farmworker — PCC Center for the Arts West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road. The play, geared toward children, is loosely based on the true story of José Hernández, the son of migrant farm workers who dreamed big — to be an astronaut. And he achieved the dream. In the play, Pepito must overcome struggles with the language and balance work in the fields with his studies so that his starry-eyed goal can be achieved. His commitment to learning and the help and guidance of teachers and his family give him the tools that will one day send him to space. Mickey Nugent directs. Final performances are 7 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30; 2 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct 1. $8. 206-6986. pima.edu.
The Curious Savage — Roadrunner Theater, 8892 E. Tanque Verde Road. Mrs. Savage is a widow and a rich woman — her husband left her $10 million. She would like to do good with it; her stepchildren want to get their greedy hands on it. So they have her committed, where she meets all sorts of misfits who could really use the help her millions can give. Final performances of the John Patrick comedy are 7 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30; 2 p.m. Oct. 1. $20. 207-2491. Roadrunnertheatrecompany.org.
Radio Theatre Revival Project — The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave. When the company is between main stage shows, it mounts this project, which revives old time radio shows. Final performances are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30 and 3 p.m. Oct. 1. $12. 800-4192. Thecomedyplayhouse.com.
Building the Wall — Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Borderlands Theater shares in a rolling premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s new play. That’s a big deal — Schenkkan is a Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright. This dystopic story takes place in the near future. A historian — played by T Loving — is interviewing a man (Sean Dupont) who is awaiting sentencing for crimes committed while he was head of a private prison that held immigrants awaiting deportation after the president has declared martial law. The script echoes the Nazi death camps stories and is quite harrowing and powerful. Marc Pinate directs. The final preview is 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and the opening is Sept. 30. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 15. $27. 882-7406. borderlandstheater.org.
Tigers Be Still — Tornabene Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. Life ain’t easy in this Kim Rosenstock play sharply staged by Arizona Repertory Theatre. It is packed with layers of grief and pain, but at its center is art teacher Sherry, who is committed to being upbeat. A tough commitment to keep: Her sister has taken over Sherry’s sofa clutching a whiskey bottle and watching TV. That’s what a cheating fiancé can do to you. Sherry’s recently-widowed boss frets over his son and a long-lost love he has had for Sherry’s mother. He is hoping that by making his son Sherry’s assistant, and her his therapist, he can bring him out of his funk. Amidst all this turmoil comes the news that a tiger has escaped from the zoo. That could be the least of their problems. Brent Gibbs directs the University of Arizona students who embrace the material and provide an evening of laughs. Performances are various times through Oct. 7. $15-$28 621-1162. 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: Armen Dirtadian as the masked man. And David Fanning as the masked man. Yup the two, who have played the character multiple times on the Gaslight stage, are going to split the role: Dirtadian is the Phantom through Oct. 1; Fanning, who has also done the Gaslight’s Phantom several times, will do the role Oct. 3-Nov. 5. 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.