Top 20 arts events in October

October means it’s time for the season openers at the Valley’s biggest performing-arts companies, including Ballet Arizona’s “Swan Lake,” Arizona Opera’s “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” — billed as the world’s first mariachi opera — and Arizona Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Here are our Top 20 arts events this month.

Through 10/12: ‘Radio Golf’

Black Theatre Troupe opens its season with the final installment in August Wilson’s monumental Pittsburgh Cycle, with 10 plays set in each decade of the 20th century, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences” and “The Piano Lesson.” With sharply comic dialogue, it finds the latest denizens of the Hill District finally carving out a piece of the American dream of wealth and opportunity — and paying a spiritual price for it.

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

Through 1/11: ‘Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns’

No ivory-tower navel-gazing here: Inspired by a notorious line from Donald Rumsfeld, this multidisciplinary art show confronts the thorny 21st-century realities of government secrecy and surveillance, terrorism, immigration and human trafficking. But no Edward Snowden stuff: We are assured the 13 international artists have used “legal, traditional research methods and resources — including the Freedom of Information Act, government archives and insider connections.”

Details: Continuing through Sunday, Jan. 11. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St. $7; $5 students; free age 15 or younger; free to all on Thursdays. 480-874-4666, smoca.org.

RELATED: 20 Fall art events happening in metro Phoenix

10/2-4: ‘Appalachian Spring’

New maestro Tito Muñoz leads the Phoenix Symphony in a performance of Aaron Copland’s American pastoral masterpiece, and Aussie saxophone phenom Amy Dickson visits to play Jennifer Higdon’s 2006 Soprano Sax Concerto and a lively piece from John Williams’ score for the film “Catch Me If You Can.”

Details: 602-495-1999, phoenixsymphony.org.

■7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. $39-$59.

■7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $18-$79.

■”Coffee Classics” (shortened program), 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at Symphony Hall. $18-$39.

RELATED: Introducing Phoenix Symphony maestro Tito Muñoz

10/3: Chaos Theory 15

Some folks complain that Phoenix’s First Fridays art walks are more about the party than the art. Well, this unofficial season kickoff is about both. Every fall, pop artist Randy Slack invites the top names from the downtown scene to contribute a single piece for his bash at Legend City Studios, then throws in wine, snacks and live music to facilitate schmoozing. It’s a great survey of the diversity of work being created by Phoenix artists.

Details: 6-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. Legend City Studios, 521 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. Free. 602-321-2887, randyslack.com.

10/9-26: ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’

It wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your Chekhov before taking in Arizona Theatre Company’s season opener, but it’s hardly necessary to enjoy this invitingly quirky farce from the deranged mind of Christopher Durang (“Beyond Therapy,” “Betty’s Summer Vacation”). Named best play at the 2013 Tony Awards, it’s about a pair of gloomily erudite siblings whose life of monotonous seclusion is interrupted by the arrival of their movie-star sister and her latest boy toy. Single tickets on sale Monday, Aug. 25.

Details: Thursday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 26. Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. $36-$72. 602-256-6995, arizonatheatre.org.

10/10-11: Arizona Dance Festival Showcase

Tempe’s Desert Dance Theatre hosts this annual event spotlighting the diversity of the local dance scene, from contemporary choreography (Movement Source Dance Company, the Parking Lot Project) to ballet schools (Ballet Etudes) to multicultural performers (Astarte Belly Dance Troupe, Yumi La Rosa Flamenco Company).

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. $13-$18; $25 for both shows. 480-350-2822, desertdancetheatre.org.

10/10-11: ‘Cruzar la Cara de la Luna’

Dubbed “the world’s first mariachi opera,” this musical drama — aka “To Cross the Face of the Moon” — is about a family divided by the U.S.-Mexico border. With a Spanish libretto, it was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera from composer Jose “Pepe” Martinez, music director of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. That acclaimed ensemble, founded in 1897, will perform in Arizona Opera’s season-opening production, which is sure to spark debate among purists over whether it’s really an opera. Reviewing the piece for the Houston Chronicle in 2012, Steven Brown wrote that the music is not only “suave and melodious, but its almost unceasing glow reaches into the souls of the characters. … Was ‘Cruzar’ an opera? That didn’t matter at all.”

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $25-$135. 602-266-7464, azopera.org.

10/10-11/9: ‘The Producers’

Broadway empresarios Bialystock and Bloom dream up a scheme to bilk investors by putting on a show that’s sure to flop. But what happens if “Springtime for Hitler” turns out to be a hit? The winner of a whopping 12 Tony Awards in 2001, Mel Brooks’ musical spoof was adapted from his own 1968 movie starring Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.

Details: Friday, Oct. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 9. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. Tickets start at $65 ($45 show only) and are subject to demand pricing. 623-776-8400, azbroadway.org.

10/11: ‘Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host’

Ira Glass of public radio’s “This American Life” explains his offbeat collaboration with choreographer Monica Bill Barnes: “There’s something funny and intensely personal in her dances, with these moments of awkwardness or self-consciousness or striving that I find so relatable.” This touring performance expands on a trio of dances created for an “American Life” variety show that was screened in movie theaters in 2012.

Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $30-$60. 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com.

10/11-3/15: ‘Fashioned in America’

Featuring more than 40 cutting-edge ensembles and accessories, Phoenix Art Museum’s exhibit explores how designers such as Ralph Rucci, Proenza Schouler, Anna Sui and Rodarte are rethinking fashion in light of 21st-century ethical concerns about the environment and labor rights.

Details: Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, March 15. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. $15; $12 seniors; $10 students; $6 ages 6-17; free for age 5 and under. 602-257-1222, phxart.org.

10/19: ‘Marsalis Well Tempered’

Sax man Branford Marsalis, who played sideman to Jay Leno and fused jazz and hip-hop with the band Buckshot LeFonque, takes a walk on the classical side with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, playing new arrangements of selections by Bach, Handel and Albinoni.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. $49-$79. 480-499-8587, scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

10/19: ‘Halloween at Hogwarts’

Kids are invited to dress up as their favorite “Harry Potter” character for the Phoenix Symphony’s concert featuring music from the film series. Fan-friendly activities add to the festivities for the program, which was a sellout in its premiere at Symphony Hall last year.

Details: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $11-$20. 602-495-1999, phoenixsymphony.org.

10/19-11/16: ‘The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane’

Childsplay, Tempe’s acclaimed theater for young audiences, wowed audiences last year with its world-premiere adaptation of the youth novel by Kate DiCamillo, about a self-centered porcelain rabbit that learns the meaning of love … and of loss. Folksy musical interludes and a shape-shifting set create an enchanting world that could come to life only in the theater.

Details: Sunday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 16. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. $12-$25. 480-350-2822, childsplayaz.org.

10/23-26: ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’

A modern ballet telling the story of “Billy the Kid” by choreographer Frances Smith Cohen highlights this season-opening concert by Center Dance Ensemble, the resident dance company at the Herberger Theater Center.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 23-25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. $14-$28. 602-252-8497, herbergertheater.org, centerdance.com. A shortened program will be presented at 12:10 p.m. Oct. 23 and 24 as part of the Lunch Time Theater program ($6 at the door).

10/24-25: Cheyenne Jackson

A Broadway veteran who has been featured on “30 Rock” and “Glee,” Jackson really shines on stage, where his mischievous sense of humor blends with a wide-ranging taste in material. His 2011 stand at Carnegie Hall, for example, included both “Luck Be a Lady” and Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Jackson performs with the Phoenix Symphony.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $33-$83. 602-495-1999, phoenixsymphony.org.

10/24-11/9: ‘Seminar’

Four aspiring novelists go to “Real Housewives” lows in their battle for the approval of their famous mentor in this comedy by Theresa Rebeck, whom the New York Times described as “a canny craftswoman with a sensibility poised somewhere between that of Yasmina Reza (‘God of Carnage’) and Neil Simon.” Actors Theatre’s season opener is directed by Ron May, the founder of the alternative troupe Stray Cat Theatre and a self-confessed reality-TV junkie.

Details: Friday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 9. Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix. $20-$50. 602-888-0368, actorstheatrephx.

10/25-1/11: ‘Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison’

The Heard Museum hosts a retrospective of this abstract expressionist painter and sculptor from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, who died in 2000. Known for his evocative landscapes and wood collages, he was influenced by Modernist masters such as Joan Miró and Adolph Gottlieb.

Details: Saturday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 11. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-252-8848, heard.org.

10/29-11/23: ‘Shear Madness’

The audience solves the murder — at least if it can stop laughing — in this interactive mystery play set at a hair salon. First produced at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, where it is still running after 30 years, the show has been performed across the country for more than 10 million ticket-buying sleuths.

Details: Wednesday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Nov. 23. Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road. $30 and up. 602-254-2151, phoenixtheatre.com.

10/30: Emily Bear with Zuill Bailey

Piano prodigy Emily Bear, 14, began composing at age 3 and played Carnegie Hall at 9. She has recorded six CDs, including last year’s “Diversity,” inspired by classical, jazz and Latin music. She is joined by cellist Zuill Bailey, artistic director of El Paso Pro Musica, who’s known for his chart-topping interpretation of the Bach Cello Suites.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $30-$45. 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com.

10/30-11/2: ‘Swan Lake’

The quintessential fairy-tale ballet has been parodied by the all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and even transformed into stop-motion animation using Barbie dolls. But expect no gimmicks from Ballet Arizona’s acclaimed artistic director Ib Andersen, one of the last proteges of the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, but rather a blend of athletic power and emotive grace keenly attuned to Tchaikovsky’s elegant score.

Details: Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 30-Nov. 2. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $15-$158. 602-381-1096, balletaz.org.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/arts/2014/09/30/top-arts-events-of-month/16116093/