CRITICS PICKS: Adam Lubitow 

"Ruts! The Oregon Trail Experience"

If you're anything like me, you've got fond memories of whiling away the hours in your elementary school's computer lab, avoiding homework and playing The Oregon Trail. Fording rivers, hunting for squirrels, and doing everything you could to avoid dying of dysentery; good times. So I'm hoping for a wagon train loaded with nostalgia when I head off to "Ruts! The Oregon Trail Experience," a musical that depicts what happens when a group of actual pioneers somehow get transported into the popular educational game. Let's hope for pleasant weather, because my health is good, my oxen are ready, and I've got axles to spare. Westward ho! (Friday, September 23, 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 6 p.m. The Strong National Museum of Play. $12. All ages.)

Pandora Boxx's "Worst Show Ever"

Hometown queen Pandora Boxx makes a triumphant return to Rochester as she performs "The Worst Show Ever," a cabaret-style show about her experiences as a reality show contestant on "RuPaul's Drag Race." Some comedy, a little shade throwing, and even musical performances like "I Can't Death Drop" and "Everybody Loves Dick." Yaaas, queen! (Friday, September 23, 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 9:30 p.m. Spiegeltent. $21. Mature audiences.)

"Spooky Stories in the Stacks"

It's fall, and Halloween is just on the horizon, so what better way to get into the spirit than with some chilling, true tales of Rochester lore? "Spooky Stories in the Stacks" offers a backstage tour through the Rundel Memorial Building of the Central Library — site of many reported supernatural occurrences over the years — while being steeped in the ghoulish (and sometimes gruesome) stories of Rochester's macabre underbelly. Beware, foolish mortals. (Saturday, September 24, noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Central Library. $8. Appropriate for 13 and over.)

"Murder Night: Don't Fear the Re-Purge"

Every day, our society seems to grow more and more like the vision depicted in "The Purge" series of films, which imagines a not-too-distant future where for one night every year all crime — including murder — is legal. So the time seems right for "Murder Night: Don't Fear the Re-Purge." Inspired by the movies, writer-director Bryan Smith delivers a satirical, acoustic rock opera about the fate of two suburban couples who decide to participate in their city's annual purging. It should be a scary — and maybe thought-provoking — good time. (Saturday, September 17, 2:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. TheatreROCS Stage: Main Stage. $10. Appropriate for ages 18 and over.)


WallByrd Theatre Company, which was behind this past summer's production of "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" at the Highland Bowl, present this theatrical staged reading of Bram Stoker's classic gothic novel, "Dracula." The story's always been one of my favorites, so I'm looking forward to their take on this romantic tale of love, death, and blood-sucking fiends.

(Wednesday, September 21, 10:30 p.m.; Thursday, September 22, 10:30 p.m. Lyric Theater: Main Stage. $12. Appropriate for ages 13 and over.)

"St. John Fisher College 2016 Student Film Festival"

Full disclosure: I helped curate the film lineup for the Fringe's Pedestrian Drive-In this year, but I haven't had the opportunity to view any of the films included in the St. John Fisher College 2016 Student Film Festival. This selection of long and short-form films from the undergraduates of St. John Fisher College's Department of Media and Communication spans a variety of genres and, as with the Fringe's annual presentation of the RIT Student Honor Awards, it's always a blast finding out what emerging local filmmakers are up to. (Tuesday, September 20, 7:30 p.m. Spiegelgarden. Free. All ages)

"The Man With Bogart's Face"

"The Man With Bogart's Face" is the latest live radio play from Rochester Screen Plays, a group dedicated to performing stories from Hollywood's Golden Age. Using live sound effects and vintage equipment, they'll present this comic caper about a man who undergoes surgery in order to look like his idol, Humphrey Bogart, and sets up shop as a private eye. If you're a fan of retro film noir and old Hollywood cool, it's the stuff that dreams are made of. (Sunday, September 18, 5:30 p.m.; Monday, September 19, 7 p.m. RAPA @ SOTA: Allen Main Stage Theatre. $17. Appropriate for ages 13 and over.)

In This Guide...



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