Author: Andrea Fife

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF upholds tradition

STANSBURY PARK — According to the program note of director Glen Carpenter, Fiddler on the Roof is “ranked as one of this state’s most requested shows [in] every community theatre, in any town in Utah.”  A musical about the power of traditions in keeping one’s faith, the show itself has become a Utah tradition.  The story follows Tevye (Shawn Maxfield) as he raises his five daughters in the small Russian village, Anatevka.  Against a backdrop of Russian and Jewish tension, Tevye must decide how far he can bend as his three oldest daughters choose, in varying degrees, to defy the longstanding traditions...

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THE FANTASTICKS is… well, fantastic

PROVO — There’s something exciting about seeing a show I’ve never seen in a theater I’ve never frequented.  I reminded myself of both facts as I drove an hour from West Valley City to Provo to see the Covey Center for the Arts’s production of The Fantasticks.  Credited as the world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks follows two next door neighbors who, manipulated by the staged feud of their fathers, become sweethearts.  But happy ever after doesn’t play out as expected, and the young lovers are forced to reevaluate their commitment.  Written in part poetry and part prose, the book and lyrics...

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HELLO DOLLY doesn’t quite dazzle

MURRAY — Hello, Dolly!, a classic from the golden age of musicals, is a feel-good musical with plenty of wit and charm. Written by Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart in the 1960’s, Hello, Dolly! was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002—six years before an adorable robot named Wall-E brought “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” into the repertoire of a new generation.  Following the story of widower Dolly Gallagher Levi (Sara McDonald)  in her pursuits to marry Yonkers’ half-a-millionaire Mr. Horace Vandergelder (Galen Chatterton), the show presents delightful characters in whose lives Dolly is eager to meddle.  Although...

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Some praise is due for RENT

MIDVALE — Making the short list of musicals ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize, Jonathan Larson’s Rent is designed to do so much more than entertain.  Rent could be described as a show about the lives of struggling young artists, about a bohemian lifestyle prevalent in New York’s Lower East Side, or about HIV/AIDS.  Those familiar with the music often feel a connection to individual moments of the score, finding meaning in phrases such as “Viva la vie boheme!” or “No day but today.”  But in its entirety, Rent is so much bigger than a sum of its parts.  Rent...

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LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION is at the top of its class

RIVERTON — Following the journey of ex-convict Jean Valjean as he spends nineteen years making moral amends and evading his parole, Les Misérables is a tale of humanity set against the backdrop of a French uprising.  Wary of this abridged “school edition,” I attended Riverton Arts Council’s youth production expecting to be served Les Misérables Lite.  Instead, I got every bit of “shame, anger, sadness, hopelessness, pleasure, courage, and hope” which director Kim Ostler stated in her program notes she was hoping to display on the stage.  Although the show was performed entirely by students, they handled the adult themes expertly, owning...

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