Author: Bryce Isaacson

Lions and tigers and Winkies at UCT’s THE WIZARD OF OZ

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Utah Children’s Theatre is truly a child’s paradise. The marquee and lobby are whimsical throwbacks to theaters of yesteryear with no expense spared. And the thrust style seating means that most of the audience can be within 3 rows of the stage, which is sure to keep the little ones interested in the action. The entire theater is built with children in mind, and is a must for any family. Their production of The Wizard of Oz, directed by Joanne M. Parker, stays closer to the text of L. Frank Baum‘s 1900 book than the...

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Mr. Shakespeare, meet THE LITTLE MERMAID

OREM — Even before the show started, I knew The Little Mermaid was going to be good. The cast was onstage, singing “Auld Lang Syne” with the warm-up act. Their joy was palpable, and unlike so many actors, this was clearly a tight, egoless group that could put on a show. This take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was in Shakespearean-style language—more forsooths, fewer singing flounders. The adapter, Christopher Clark, created the script by taking phrases, lines, and scenes from Shakespeare‘s plays to tell the story of Marina, the mermaid princess who falls in love with a human....

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9 TO 5 in Magna (a.k.a. “Sexism: The Musical!”)

MAGNA — The musical 9 to 5 was penned by Dolly Parton, a living legend who can do no wrong. It racked up 15 Drama Desk and 4 Tony nominations back in 2009. But the show, based on the 1980 film of the same name, wasn’t a Broadway success and closed six months later. Thematically and technically, the musical is as big as Dolly herself; a Broadway spectacle overflowing with dance numbers and power ballads where characters bare their souls and sometimes more. Kudos to the Empress, a venue not too proud to pass around a collection plate, for taking...

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Bless your beautiful hide! SEVEN BRIDES is at Sundance

SUNDANCE — I’m glad Utah keeps the flame of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers alive. For some reason, this ’50s movie is performed onstage and enjoyed on video regularly in the state. The latest venue to keep the tradition going is Sundance, which kicked off its run of the musical last night. This may be the best location to ever stage Seven Brides. The outdoor venue is at the foot of Mt. Timpanogos, and the entire stage is backdropped by evergreens. Perfect for the story of seven backwoodsmen who grow a mite lonely in frontier Oregon, and come down...

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THE 39 STEPS runs on frenetic hilarity

OREM — Richard Hannay was a typical London bachelor, until a temptress foisted herself upon him in his flat. Turned out she was a spy with a price on her head. So, when she gets whacked in Hannay’s apartment, he becomes a man on the run. To Scotland he goes to clear his name and uncover a spy ring called “The 39 Steps”. The date is 1941, so you can guess who’s behind all this. So begins Hale Center Theater Orem’s production of The 39 Steps, which shares the plot of the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name....

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