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Thursday 4

BATTER UP. Now that we all love those World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks, isn't it time to get to know the superstars of tomorrow? It's opening night for the Tucson Sidewinders, the D'Backs' Triple-A affiliate. The 'Winders are in town for a four-game homestand against the Edmonton Trappers, followed by a four-game series against the Calgary Cannons, including a doubleheader next Tuesday. First pitch tonight is 6:30 p.m. at Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way. Admission ranges from $4 to $8. For more information, call 434-1021.

Get Homered. Quicksilver Productions Inc. promises "you'll never have seen anything like this in Tucson."

"This" is Quicksilver's version of The Odyssey by Derek Walcott (winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature), based on the epic poem by Homer.

Walcott's play, first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993, is a three-act re-visioning of the classic epic that incorporates styles of theater ranging from classical Greek to modern avante garde.

Like the original epic, the story focuses around Odysseus, hero of the Trojan War. He endures a 10-year journey to return home to his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus. Telemachus, along with the housemaid Eurycleia and Odysseus' childhood friend Eumaeus, desperately try to keep their kingdom together under increasing pressure from the foreign prince, Antinous, who wants to marry Penelope.

Guided by the goddess Athena, Telemachus sets out to seek confirmation of his father's death and discovers from the Spartan king Menelaus and Helen of Troy that Odysseus is still alive, only lost. Aided by the princess Nausicaa, Odysseus is able to return home, having survived the Cyclops, escaped the enchantress Circe, confronted his own mother in the underworld, and lost many friends and treasures along the way.

Laced with beautiful poetry, modern references and classical allusions, The Odyssey is a contemporary work. Walcott uses the ancient tale to discuss a wide variety of subjects from the far-reaching fallout of war and the meaning of love, devotion and friendship, to issues of narrative control, actual reality vs. subjective reality, and temporal pertinence.

For this reason, Quicksilver's production will be done in an amorphous time period ranging from modern to ancient in style, borrowing from many different cultures, performance techniques and production values.

The play opens at 8 tonight in the Cabaret Theater at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Performances all begin at 8 p.m. and are also scheduled for Friday and Saturday and April 11-13. Tickets are $6. For more information and reservations, call 884-4967.


Friday 5

A real slice of life. Your golf game may be a mess, but the game of golf is making a mess of Chip Putnam's life.

How To Improve Your Golf Game is a riotously funny play about Chip, a young pro golfer who's forced to admit his game is a wreck and move back in with his WASP-y, golf-obsessed parents.

To compound his troubles, he's brought with him his new girlfriend, T.J. Blodgett--a loud, no-holds-barred woman who is the epitome of what Chip's parent's would not want for their son.

Chip's life spins out of control as T.J. turns the Putnams' lives--and living room--upside down and ultimately impels Chip to confront his parents and make some difficult decisions.

The Tucson production is directed by Barclay Goldsmith with a local team of actors and designers that include Dwayne Palmer, Betsy Kruse, Tom Turner, Drew Antzis, and Suzi List. Set design is by John Longhoffer and lighting design by Clint Bryson.

Playwright David Babcock is co-executive director of ABC's Dharma and Greg. His plays include Serious Bizness, which has a successful off-Broadway run, Hippies from Hell, Intelligent Life and Bind That Ties.

An opening celebration of How to Improve Your Golf Game starts at 7:30 p.m. today at the Pima Community College Center for the Arts, Proscenium Theater, 2202 W. Anklam Road. The cost, $17, includes a reception. Tickets to other performances, through April 14, are $9 to $13. Tickets are available at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. (cash only) and Borderlands Theater office, 40 W. Broadway. For more information and reservations, call 882-7406.

Power poets. Today's Tucson Poetry Festival schedule teams Jane Miller and Sherman Alexie.

Alexie is an American Indian poet who, at age 33, has published more than 300 poems, stories, essays and reviews.

"I don't believe in writers' block," says Alexie, whose novels, Reservation Blues and Indian Killer, also have won wide praise.

Miller is on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program in the English department at the University of Arizona.

Her publications include The Greater Leisures, American Odalisque and Working Time: Essays on Poetry, Culture, and Travel.

A former Guggenheim Fellow, Miller recently won a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award for her work conducting poetry writing workshops and readings for senior citizens.

The readings, part of the festival's 20th annual weeklong event, begin at 7:30 tonight at Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $10 at the door. For a complete rundown of remaining talks and readings, visit www.tucsonpoetryfestival.org.


Saturday 6

Sounds of love. Desert Voices, Arizona's premiere lesbian and gay chorus, presents its spring concert, Love. It's about, well, you know ...

The chorus will be exploring all facets of love with its sister chorus, the San Diego Women's Chorus. Together, these choruses unite to bring a festive night of love songs ranging from the Renaissance to Broadway.

Desert Voices will also be doing a world premiere of a new work by Eric Helmuth.

This two-movement piece was inspired by poetry written by Fredrico Garcia Lorca and Amy Lowell, whose works have touched many hearts by exploring the pain and joy of love.

Eric Helmuth is a renowned composer from the Boston area whose musical flare adds luster to the poetry, making for a real musical treat. Artistic director Keith A. Koster and Desert Voices are are eager to share this music with Tucson audiences.

The Love concert will also feature musical morsels by Desert Voices' own women's barbershop quartet Alegria, the men's quartet Four Brothers and Una Voz.

Performances are 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Gregory's School, 3231 N. Craycroft. Tickets are $12 in advance; $10 students and seniors; and $15 at the door. Tickets are available at Antigone Books, Hear's Music, Tucson Trunk, and Zip's University. A pre-concert talk by composer Eric Helmuth will be held at the VIP reception for season ticket holders and donors. Questions and ticket inquiries can be answered by calling the Desert Voices hotline at 791-9662.


Sunday 7

Star-studded. The nights are definitely warming up at St. Philip's Plaza, where the sounds of jazz fill the air.

The Tucson Jazz Society's Spring Series, Music under the Stars, starts tonight and runs Sunday evenings through May.

Check out a program called Made in the USA tonight. The traditional "Big Band Bash" features big bands from the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, TJS's own Jazz Werx and special guest Big Band Express.

On April 14, enjoy From England with Love. Tucson's own Jeff Haskell Trio will join the European sensation. The following week's feature presentation is called From the Big Apple to the Old Pueblo starring pianist-composer Cynthia Hilts, a Tucson girl who's made it big in the Big Apple.

Other great shows are planned for this weekly jazz blowout.

Music under the Stars is from 6-9 p.m. Sundays through May at St. Philip's Plaza, at Campbell and River. Season tickets are $50. Ticket prices for individual events vary. For more information and reservations, call the Tucson Jazz Society at 903-1265.

Horsing around. Founded by Bazy Tankersley 60 years ago, Al-Marah Arabians is a world-renowned horse-breeding farm.

Recently she bequeathed this property to the University of Arizona. Her special concern for the spiritual lives of students shows as she extends her generosity to support the Episcopal campus ministry.

An Arabian Spectacular features ranch tours, dinner and an auction which will include an original work by Hal Empie, UA alumni and Western artist who died last month. The gala will end with a spectacular show of Al-Marah's Arabians.

Today's event begins at 3 p.m. at Al-Marah Ranch, 4101 N. Bear Canyon Road, with proceeds to benefit the Episcopal Campus Ministry. Admission prices are $40 for adults ($30 tax deductible) and $10 for children ages 6-16. Call 546-5987 to purchase tickets.

Happy birthday to you. Jane Hamilton Fine Arts, which originated in Bisbee, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a show that begins today at the gallery's new location, 1825 E. River Road, Suite 111, in Joesler Village.

The show, featuring five artists from Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, continues through April 28. A reception for the artists is noon to 5 p.m. today.

Leigh Gusterson of Taos, N.M., is a plein aire landscape artist; Rose Johnson of Bisbee is known for her murals and magical flying subjects; John Walker and Roxann Moore of Colorado paint together under the name of Walker Moore; Alan Scott's "windowscapes" depict views surrounded by wooden window frames. For information, call 529-4886.


Monday 8

Something to prey for. It has been said that the best hunters never wait--they chase. Predator and prey come face to face in Day of the Hunter, a gripping tale of changed identity.

Jeb Stewart has traveled west to create a new life for himself as a law-abiding citizen after a brief stint of bank robberies back East. However, his worst fears come true when his past catches up with him in the form of a relentless bounty hunter known as Josh Tanner. As the story unfolds, the town Marshall finds himself caught in the middle of a desperate end emotionally heartfelt situation with Stewart, his close and loyal friend.

Staged at the bank set in Town Square at Old Tucson, stunt coordinator Rob Jensen produced and directed this very serious drama about friendship, allegiance and crime.

"As the show unfolds, it is clearly revealed that there are loyalties in conflict leading to a surprise ending" he says. "This show is a dramatic addition to our regular repertoire of comedy, slapstick, and stunt shows completing the entire range of emotions for our guests."

Day of the Hunter runs seven days a week at the bank set in Old Tucson's town square. Old Tucson Studios is located at 201 S. Kinney Road, in the Tucson Mountain Park. Take I-10 and exit Speedway Boulevard and head west, following the signs. Recreational vehicles should travel Ajo west to Kinney Road. Passenger cars may find this route more convenient when approaching Tucson from south of the city. For more information, call (520) 883-0100 or visit www.oldtucson.com.


Tuesday 9

Mayday, mayday, mayday. Imagine the terror faced by pilots of doomed airplanes. Imagine what goes on inside the cockpit as an engine flames out.

Find out the truth from the creators of Charlie Victor Romeo (CVR), the acclaimed docudrama derived entirely from the "black box" recordings from six major real-life airline emergencies.

Titled after the radio alphabet slang for cockpit voice recorder, this live techno-thriller of a production invites the audience to become observers to the tension-filled cockpit. Hailed not only by critics, and also by aviation, military and medical professionals, it is a fascinating portrayal of the psychology of crisis and a testimony to the ability to live to the last second of life.

CVR originally debuted in October 1999 at The Collective Unconscious, a 54-seat black box theater on Manhattan's historic Lower East Side, and went on to win two Drama Desk Awards. It has been mounted in numerous venues including the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, UCLA (where it won a Backstage West Garland Award), the Edison Theater in St. Louis and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.

The impact of CVR has reached far beyond the theater. The military now uses a video created by the CVR company for pilot training. Indeed, a letter to the company from Maj. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III of the United States Air Force reads, "Your efforts are being used to help us train a more professional and safe aircrew force."

See this unique show as it opens at 7:30 tonight at Nations Hall at Muse, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Performances run through April 21. Tickets are $25, general admission. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets also are available at 621-3341 or online at http://uapresents.arizona.edu.


Wednesday 10

Underground sensation. Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it.

He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.

The play premiered on October 9, 1986, at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, winning every major British theatre award including the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. The New York production opened on January 26, 1988, with a record advance of $18 million. The musical also won seven Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. The original London cast recording was the first in British musical history to enter the charts at number one. It has since gone both gold and platinum in Britain and the United States, selling over 25 million copies.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, directed by Harold Prince, opens tonight in Tucson for a four-week premiere engagement.

Tonight's performance begins at 7:30 at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Other performances are scheduled through May 4. Tickets are $22 to $70, with discounts available. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets also are available at 621-3341 or online at http://uapresents.arizona.edu.

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