For more than two decades, The Mystery Mansion Dinner Theater has kept diners guessing with ghoulishly goofy whodunits. The rotating repertoire includes Murder at Greystone Manor, which takes place on the set of Golden Age Hollywood director C.D. Weasel's latest production. Before filming can begin in earnest, starlet Clara Simpleton comes down with a bad case of cold feet and cold everything else. Femme fatale and back-up actress Jewel Precious seems the obvious suspect, but the stunningly punny characters know well how to hide their motivations behind a flurry of gags and one-liners. Murder at Bedside Manor takes place in a shockingly OSHA-noncompliant hospital staffed by such consummate professionals as Barb Bituate, Old Doctor Young, Young Doctor Young, and Nurse Scratchit. "Lame jokes, puns, goofy costumes, and thin plots are the stock in trade at the Mystery Mansion," noted Barbara Yost of the Arizona Republic, adding, "Patrons can't get enough.
More than 25 years ago, the performer known as Zohar first experienced belly dancing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. She told the staff that she would become one of those performers—nine months later, she was back on board, complete with jangling coins on her hips. Since then, she's performed for Meryl Streep, members of the Saudi royal family, audiences at New York's Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall. Today, she prefers teaching the art to others over performing live, and many of her students have become professional dancers themselves.
When musician Joe Grotto got lucky in Vegas in 1994 and pocketed $75,000, he played it smart. Instead of blowing it all on a flashy convertible or a self-portrait carved into a human-size diamond, he used his windfall to build an intimate music venue with a state-of-the-art sound system. Joe began by booking manic rockers, brutal metal bands, and raucous blues guitarists before expanding to include more all-ages shows as the years passed. The success of the venue, which earned recognition as 2008’s Best Rock Club from the Phoenix New Times, has helped draw talented, original groups of all kinds to the stage. The limelight isn’t just reserved for established artists, either; on Wednesdays, bands looking for a place to play can sign up for the open mic, and on Monday, acoustic musicians steal the show.
Although its focus is on music, Joe’s Grotto hasn’t neglected other aspects of entertainment. The full bar pours draft brews such as Kilt Lifter, Blue Moon, and Shock Top while guests shoot pool at a pair of tables, play games on two Megatouch game machines, and throw darts or annoying companions at electronic targets. Out on the patio, revelers order more drinks from an outdoor bar, where a screen lets them watch inside happenings and a mister, cooler, and heater keep the fresh air comfortable all year round.
Professional artists from both the local community and from around the world flock to Raw Roots Professional Performance Center. They help aspiring actors, singers, and dancers perfect their skills before helping them take over the stage in a professional setting through 12-week professional programs. They also lead community classes for beginning and intermediate performers and dancers such as modern dance, hip-hop technique, and beginner tap.
Big cat Terry Schmoyer and his grooving kittens pound Fatcat Ballroom and Dance Company’s 5,800-square-foot floating hardwood floor with a variety of dance styles. Friday and Saturday group lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. each night, tangoing, waltzing, and swinging along for 45 minutes. The first class covers basic steps, and the second half works through more challenging dance patterns and introduces basic levitation. The Saturday-night party rewards class graduates with three hours of lively music, snacks, and ample space to practice new moves. Three 60-minute private lessons furnish solo shakers with in-depth technical instruction. Whether quickstepping through the foxtrot or preparing jaw muscles to clench rose stems throughout an extended tango, students easily gain and retain formal elegance thanks to traditional long-form teaching methods.