Grab a seat, there’s still plenty happening on Tucson stages.
Salomé — The Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre, 738 N. Fifth Ave., in the Historic Y. This company burst onto the theater scene this season and quickly impressed with its production of the intimate “A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney.” Unfortunately, it’s production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salomé” falls short.
The play is Wilde’s subversive take on the Biblical story of Salome, who demanded the head of John the Baptist in exchange for performing a sensual dance for her lecherous stepfather, Herod, the tetrarch of Judea.
Director Bryan Rafael Falcón was overly ambitious with this large-cast piece. The acting was uneven, which meant Wilde’s gorgeous language often got lost in the translation.
Still, there were highlights. Among them was an always-solid Christopher Younggren as a slimy and conflicted Herod, and Hunter V. Hnat as a slightly crazed Jokanaan, whose head Salome lusts after.
The moon is a central character in this weighty-with-symbolism play, and Falcón interpreted that as a pool of water that served as reflection, a barrier and a death bed. It was quite effective.
Scoundrel and Scamp is an exciting company. We’ll chalk this one up to growing pains. Final performances are 7:30 Feb. 15-17 and 2 p.m. Feb. 17 and 18. $28. 448-3300 or scoundrelandscamp.org
“The Best Brothers” — Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway. Bunny Best has died, meeting a tragic end when a drag queen falls off a float and on to her during a pride parade. Her two polar opposite sons must come together to plan her funeral, care for her reckless dog and make other post-death arrangements. Sounds like the ingredients for a deliciously over-the-top comedy, which Live Theatre does particularly well. Sabian Trout directs the Daniel MacIvor play, and Stephen Frankenfield and James Wood play the two brothers. “The Best Brothers” previews at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and opens at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through March 24. $20. 327-4242 or livetheatreworkshop.org.
“I Hate Hamlet” — Roadrunner Theater, 8892 E. Tanque Verde Road. Andrew is a young actor on the rise when he and his girlfriend settle into an old New York City brownstone once occupied by the great actor John Barrymore. He is summoned during a séance and proceeds to give Andrew tips on the role he once played and Andrew is about to take on: Hamlet. But that’s not all — Andrew’s girlfriend insists on separate rooms until after marriage, and he’s a tad frustrated. Barrymore has tips on his love life, as well. Mark Klugheit directs the Paul Rudnick comedy, and the cast includes Lucas Gonzales, Andrea Hickey, Chris Koval, Clark Ray, Renata Rauschen and Ellie Vought. Performances are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 11. Tickets are $20. 207-2491 or roadrunnertheatrecompany.org.
“The Real Machiavelli” — The Scoundrel and Scamp Theater, 738 N. Fifth Ave. Tucson playwright Monica Bauer knows how to protest: with art. This play of hers is part of an across-the-country anti-Trump protest sponsored by the national group Bad Hombres and Nasty Women. According to a press release, the play “is a historical fantasy built around the writing of the most infamous book on political skulduggery ever written: ‘The Prince.’ It imagines the book springing from the pen of Machiavelli’s mistress, acting as Niccolo Machiavelli’s ghost writer. When the mistress demands public credit for the book, something must be done. There are echoes of our current political situation in the play, and echoes of the #MeToo movement as well.” The staged reading is slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 19. And it’s free. 392-4386
“Latin Standards” — Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 W. Sixth St. Borderlands Theater has a primo treat in store: The company has brought the talented Marga Gomez to town to perform her solo piece, “Latin Standards.” The play is a tribute to her father, Willy Chevalier, a 1950s, ’60s entertainer, producer and songwriter who penned songs about love and obsession. The award-winning playwright, actress and comedian tells of her father’s triumphs and his decline, and weaves in her own story, punctuated with her struggles and successes. Final performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18. Tickets are $16-$30 at 882-7406 or borderlandstheater.org.
“The Fantasticks” — Cabaret Theatre at the Temple for Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Winding Road Theatre Ensemble embraces this musical about a boy and a girl and fathers who pretend they don’t want them to talk in order for them to fall in love. The musical by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt is directed by Maria Caprile and features some uproarious performances from Chad Davies and Eddie Diaz. This one’s a hoot. Final performances are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17; 3 p.m. Feb. 17 and 2 p.m. Feb. 18. $22-$28. 401-3626 or windingroadtheater.org.
“Black Pearl Sings” — Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Playwright Frank Higgins based his play on the legendary folk singer Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, who was in prison in the 1930s when he was discovered by folklorist John Lomax. The play centers on Susannah, a Library of Congress musicologist, and imprisoned Pearl, an African American singer with an encyclopedic knowledge of the songs Susannah collects. It’s packed with more than 20 tunes and stars a couple of strong talents — Katherine Byrnes and To-Ree-Nee Wolf. Susan Claassen directs. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 25. There’s an additional matinee at 3 p.m. Feb. 24. $34. 882-9721 or invisibletheatre.com
“Doubt, A Parable” — Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. Arizona Repertory Theatre stages a knock-out production of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning drama set in a Catholic school in the Bronx during the mid ’60s. The story centers on the very conservative school principal, Sister Aloysius, and the progressive priest who is teaching there, Fr. Flynn. She is convinced he molested a boy; Fr. Flynn is pretty angry about the accusation. It’s a powerful play performed powerfully. No children 12 and under permitted; teens permitted with parent or adult guardian. Various times through Feb. 25. $15-$28. 621-1162. theatre.arizona.edu.
“The Lone Stranger” — The Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway. The Lone Stranger tries to tame the wild frontier. He brings along his white stallion, Thunder, and his sidekick, Tonka. Expect eye-rolling humor, great voices and just good old-fashioned fun. Various times through March 25. $21.95. 886-9428. thegaslighttheatre.com.
RAPunzel — Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway. The tale of Rapunzel — she of the long locks — is given a rap turn by Tucson playwright Richard Gremel. It’s geared toward kids. 12:30 Sundays through March 18. $10. 327-4242 or livetheatreworkshop.org.