Dramas and musicals - one of them getting the Christmas theater season off to an early start (more about the holiday productions in next Friday's Weekend section) - are opening on Wasatch Front stages this week.

An evening celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Maud May Babcock Reading Arts Society also is scheduled this week (which means a change in the schedule for TheatreWorks West's production of "Utah Shorts" since both are at the Art Barn), and Salt Lake Acting Company will host a free reading of a short play by David Henry Hwang, coinciding with its current production of his Tony Award-winning "M. Butterfly."Here's this week's theater lineup:

- GOOD, the dramatic story of how a "good" man gets caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich and is ultimately corrupted, will open the Babcock Theatre's 1990-91 season.

Directed by Kenneth Washington, "Good" explores the tragedy that lies in John Halder, the main character, embracing the power of political authority and the seductions of majority opinion.

On the surface, Halder is just another ordinary fellow with typical everyday problems, but he is drawn into one of the most controversial and gruesome periods of the world's history.

Taylor's play raises many questions that are relevant today: Are our opinions formed by others in the government, churches and media? How do we form our own judgments about good and evil in an ever-changing world and how would we have reacted in similar circumstances.

The cast for "Good" includes Willard Knox, last seen as "Oedipus the King," as John Halder, with Jim Allman, Michael Behrens, Trevor Black, Jason Bowcutt, Laura Carr, Eric Jenkins, Trudy Jorgensen, Mark Larson, Frank Magner, Lucy Moreton, Kris Nelson, Trevor H. Olsen, Ryan Jay Sales, Wendee Wilde and Pilar Witherspoon.

"Good" will be presented Thursdays through Saturdays, Nov. 8-10 and 15-17, at 8 p.m., and Sundays, Nov. 11 and 18, at 7 p.m., with a matinee performance on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. The Babcock Theatre is located in the lower level of the Pioneer Memorial Theatre complex at 300 S. 1340 East (Broadway and University), on the University of Utah campus. For tickets, call the PMT box office at 581-6961.

In conjunction with "Good," a free symposium will be presented on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Babcock Theatre, featuring Ron Smelser, U. of U. historian who is an expert on the Nazi period; Jerry Lazar, a psychiatrist from Wasatch Canyons hospital, who has worked with Holocaust victims, and two individuals who have had direct experiences with the war. Seating is limited. It is recommended that patrons arrive early.

- THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD, a short play which earned playwright David Henry Hwang a Drama Desk nomination in 1981, will be presented as a free reading on Monday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. at Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North.

According to Aden Ross, SLAC's literary manager, the reading is being presented to coincide with the company's production of Hwang's "M. Butterfly," SLAC's 1990-91 season opener, being staged Thursdays-Sundays through Nov. 11.

"The Dance and the Railroad" takes place during a workers' strike in 1867 on a mountaintop near the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Readers will be Kerry Shimizu as Lone, a railway worker who practices each night to become a Chinese opera star, and Milea Anne Leding as Ma, a dreamer who wants to become an actor and get rich.

- THE OTHER WISE MAN, Henry Van Dyke's story about a fourth wise man who sets out by the light of a glorious new star to find the newborn Christ Child, and spends his life seeking the King of Bethlehem, learning about love and sacrifice along the way, will be presented Nov. 9 through Dec. 31 on City Rep's upstairs Jester Stage in the Utah Theatre, 148 S. Main.

Written in the 1880s by Van Dyke, an American poet, essayist and short-story writer, the story - which originated as a Christmas message - has been adapted for the stage by City Rep Artistic Director Joanne M. Parker and Reuben C. Fox, who also produced the soundtrack. Stuart Mitchell is directing the show.

The cast includes Cliff Cole in the leading role of Artaban, the Magi in search of Christ, with Steve Nichol and Stuart Mitchell alternating as Beor, Artaban's loyal, mute servant.

Others in the cast are Raelynn Potts, Brent Ostland, Clayton Smith and Reuben C. Fox.

Performance dates are Friday, Nov. 9, Saturday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 23, Saturday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Dec. 1, Friday, Dec. 7, Saturday, Dec. 15, Monday, Dec. 17, Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, Dec. 8 and 22, plus a performance at 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31.

Tickets for "The Other Wise Man" are $6.50 for adults and $4.75 for children. All seats are reserved. Call 532-6000.

- PORTRAITS OF MAUD MAY BABCOCK, an evening of tributes to the highly esteemed teacher, will be presented by members of the Maud May Babcock Reading Arts Society and others either associated with the late Miss Babcock or her former students.

The program, which is free of charge and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Art Barn, 54 Finch Lane (in Reservoir Park, between South Temple and First South, just west of the University of Utah campus).

The society is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Refreshments will be served.

- UTAH SHORTS, TheatreWorks West's evening of 10 original 10-minute plays by Utah playwrights, has had a change in its schedule at the Art Barn, due to the Babcock program. The performance originally scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8, has been cancelled. Instead, there will be two performances on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 6 and 9 p.m. For reservations and further information, call 583-6520.

Additional performances of "Utah Shorts" are Friday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m., and Sunday (today and Nov. 11) at 7 p.m.

- THE WIZ, the modern musical version of Frank Baum's classic, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," will be presented by the Draper Arts Council at the Draper City Hall, 12441 S. 900 East, Nov. 9 through 17.

Jonathan Stowers is directing and also has the role of the Wizard. Others in the cast are: Kiri Price as Dorothy, Vincent Simmons as the Cowardly Lion, Monte Lyon as the Tin Man, and Mark Pendleton as the Scarecrow, with Camille Gerber, Nolana Lord and Pat Jackson as the three witches, Evillene, Addapearle and Glinda.

The show has a cast of 65 others in supporting roles.

Performances will be Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10; Monday, Nov. 12, and Thursday, Nov. 15 through Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for reserved seats, $4 for general admission and $2 for children (12 and under), and $10 for immediate families on Monday night only.

- THE MUSIC MAN, Meredith Willson's toe-tapping musical about lovable con artist Prof. Harold Hill, will have five performances this month on the stage of the restored Capitol Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan.

Marching bands from Cache Valley area high schools will be featured nightly during the show's spectacular finale, "Seventy-six Trombones."

F. Eugene Tueller is directing a cast of more than 100 drawn from throughout the community, including Scott Simmons as Harold Hill and Melody Francis as librarian Marian Paroo - torn between exposing him as the fraud that he is, or falling in love with him and reforming his fast-talking ways.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-10, and Monday, Nov. 12 and Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $6, $10 and $12, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the restoration of the theater. The show is being produced by the Capitol Arts Alliance Theatre Society.

Tickets are available in advance from the Book Table, 29 S. Main; Foto-Studio Express in Cache Valley Mall, and the Capitol Theatre box office.

- THE ELEPHANT MAN, one of America's most honored plays, is being presented this month in the Randall L. Jones Theatre at Southern Southern Utah State College, Cedar City.

Recipient of the 1979 Tony Award for Best New Play of the Year, American theater's highest honor, Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man" will open SUSC's theater season with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays, Nov. 8-10, and 15-17.

Director Roger Bean's cast includes Richard Bugg, the SUSC theater department's new instructor of acting and vocal direction, as Frederick Treves, the doctor who discovers deformed "elephant man" John Merrick and sets about to care for him in the best way that Victorian society will allow, with freshman Brian Vaughn as Merrick.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children. For reservations or further information, call 586-7876.