Author: Brighton Sloan

WV Hale Theatre’s IS HE DEAD? slowly comes to life

WEST VALLEY — Is He Dead? is an intriguing historical artifact. Written by legendary write Mark Twain in 1898, it wasn’t until the 2003 that the piece was finally published as a novel. A few years later, David Ives adapted the play for the modern stage and finally mounted the play on Broadway in 2007. In spite of generally positive reviews, the show petered out after a short run of 105 performances. Hale Centre Theatre’s latest production is well produced, but the script displays some flaws that help explain its short run. The play has a promising premise: a french painter, Jean-François...

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Neil Simon Fest’s NUNSENSE is a pleasant musical

CEDAR CITY — Long before the Book of Mormon smashed it’s way on to Broadway, there was another religiously themed musical with much more modest origins. Nunsense, a 1985 musical by Dan Goggin, began as a series of greeting cards, and quickly evolved into an entire musical franchise. With a television adaptation, 6 sequels and 3 spin-offs, Nunsense has established itself as one of the most popular niche theatre productions in history. The key word is “niche. “Nunsense is the story of a few habited sisters putting on a variety show to raise money after a cooking accident wiped out...

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LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR is constantly hilarious

CEDAR CITY — As a devoted fan of Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, I can’t get enough of backstage comedies. That’s why I couldn’t have been more delighted to see the Neil Simon’s Festival Laughter on the 23rd Floor, a wickedly funny script following a team of comedy writers working during the McCarthy area. Neil Simon’s quick wordplay combined with an excellent cast makes for a near-perfect evening of comic entertainment. The show is told from the perspective of Lucas Brickman (played by Grayson Moulton), a standard nice guy who has just landed his dream job as a temp writer on television’s...

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YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN is as flat as a comic book

CEDAR CITY — Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics are some of the most beloved of all time. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brownis a musical tribute to the classic story. Like many adaptations, Clark Gesner‘s musical struggles to live up to the source material. While the show boasts some fun numbers, the Neil Simon Festival’s latest production struggles to find cohesion in the episodic script. The show began with the tedious premise that the actors in the show never made it to curtain, so the audience sat for a solid 3 minutes while the music director invited “random” audience members up on stage...

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A lovely little LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA

OGDEN — Before the start of the Ziegfeld theater’s Light in the Piazza, the artistic director came on stage and talked a little bit about their mission, which is to raise the bar of community theater quality.  While I can’t say that the bar has necessarily needed to be raised (Utah produces some excellent community theater), the Ziegfeld’s Light in the Piazza does not disappoint. The award-winning 2005 musical is, in many ways, a nostalgic romance reminiscent of the golden age of cinema.  The show opens on Margaret and Clara, a mother daughter team vacationing in sunlit Florence.  They are...

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