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The East Valley art of celebrating Valentines

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There's still a few days to get some lovely, loving holiday plans made for the coming weekend, and the Phoenix Valley--with so many options in and around Mesa--offers an artistic array for affections of every shape and size. We're talking love swept with the broadest of brushes here: your kids, your forever friend, your mom, your best buds or, of course, your sweetest of sweethearts, are all reasons to celebrate. So, take time to put show tickets into a balloon or a rose-scented envelope, and let the Valentine Day memories begin.

This slideshow list, like chocolates in a red satin Russell Stover box, chronicles nearly a dozen choices for the sweetest live entertainment in the Valley.

Chris Mann
Chris Mann courtesy Mesa Arts Center

Chris Mann

Classically trained pop star Chris Mann will croon to swooners at the Mesa Arts Center on Friday night.  His passionate music is one hot ticket these days.  He's topped the Billboard charts along with charming a White House audience, and is in Mesa for a rescheduled concert on account of an October date didn't work.

Playing for Peace Chamber Music concert
Playing for Peace Chamber Music concert Apple Hill Music

Playing for Peace Chamber Music concert

Bridging the divide between cultures in conflict, the 'Playing for Peace'  Chamber Music concert with Israeli pianist Sally Pinkas and Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh at ASU Gammage on Saturday night offers soothingly superb musicianship that helps provide most important kinds of healing affection.

'Fiddler on the Roof' at Mesa Palms
'Fiddler on the Roof' at Mesa Palms courtesy Mesa Encore Theatre

'Fiddler on the Roof' at Mesa Palms

The Palms Theatre in Mesa closes their Fiddler on the Roof production this weekend.  From 'Matchmakers' to 'Do You Love Me's,' the classic musical about Tevye and his family of eligible daughters is a celebration of love that struggles and strives to survive as times and cultures evolve.

Walter Cosand plays Schumann with Symphony of the Southwest
Walter Cosand plays Schumann with Symphony of the Southwest Penny Ann Dolin

Walter Cosand plays Schumann with Symphony of the Southwest

Romance of the classical music variety takes the stage at Mesa Arts Center on Saturday night.  Schumann's 'Concerto in A minor,' haled as one of the greatest romantic concertos ever written, will be performed by internationally acclaimed pianist Walter Cosand and the Symphony of the Southwest.

'Oklahoma!' and 'Dames at Sea'
'Oklahoma!' and 'Dames at Sea' Sam Miller

'Oklahoma!' and 'Dames at Sea'

'People Will Say We're in Love,'  and  'I Caaaayn't Saaay No!' -- complete with roses and a dessert bar -- are all part of the love tales at Hale Centre Theatre's Friday night production of Oklahoma! that opens this weekend.  If waiting to celebrate until Monday or Tuesday night better fits your schedule, Hale's production of Dames at Sea provides the merriest of improbable loves and tap-dancing galore.

Top Gun: Live, Abridged, and Completely Underfunded
Top Gun: Live, Abridged, and Completely Underfunded courtesy Mesa Encore Theatre

Top Gun: Live, Abridged, and Completely Underfunded

With silly Henson-like puppets, Mesa Encore Theatre and the 'All Puppet Players' have a delightful and innovative spoof at their new Black Box (on Brown) theatre entitled Top Gun: Live, Abridged, and Completely Underfunded. They bill it as "not just homage to the Tom Cruise flick, but to all iconic movies of the 80's" like The Karate Kid, ET, Goonies, and The Princess Bride.

Clannad at MiM
Clannad at MiM courtesy Musical Instrument Museum

Clannad at MiM

The ethereal and haunting vocals of Clannad are well worth a short drive to the northern end of the Valley. The group's Friday show sold out weeks ago. They opened a Saturday night performance at the cozy Musical Instrument Museum last week. The group takes nearly forgotten traditional Irish songs and brings new arrangements to them, creating a unique vocal harmony. Their Gaelic purity has sold over fifteen million records worldwide. - There's still a few tickets for Saturday's show.

Ballet Arizona's 'LaBayadere'
Ballet Arizona's 'LaBayadere' Rosalie O'Connor

Ballet Arizona's 'LaBayadere'

Ballet Arizona's production of La Bayadère with The Phoenix Symphony follows the heartbreaking tale of a temple dancer and a young warrior kept apart in life and united only in death. "With rich lavish set designs that conjure up exotic locales, this ballet," Ballet Arizona says, "can transport you with dream-like sequences to a world of noble warriors, cruel princesses and beautiful temple dancers."  It plays February 13-16.

Texas Tenors and Tartanic in Chandler
Texas Tenors and Tartanic in Chandler courtesy Chandler Arts Center

Texas Tenors and Tartanic in Chandler

The Texas Tenors, a trio of crush candidates with magnificent voices, are sold out Saturday night at Chandler Center for the Arts, but stray tickets are floating around on Craigslist for a lucky few.  On Friday, the wacky, eclectic bagpipers and drummers - Tartanic - will rock and roll their Valentine guests. They feature Highland Bagpipes and World Percussion Tribal Drums billed as "high comedy, and scorching hot music!"

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