Author: callieo

Sundance’s THE WIZARD OF OZ needs a little more magic

SUNDANCE — Theatre in the mountains surrounding Robert Redford’s Sundance resort is always magical. The journey by car up the canyon followed by the climb to the amphitheater (by foot or by tractor pull) takes just enough time to build a sparkling anticipation that makes each show that much better. In the case of The Wizard of Oz, directed by Laurie Harrop-Purser, that sparkling anticipation was needed, because by itself, the show fell short of my high expectations. It is a fun production with an enthusiastic cast and a story beloved by generations, but it simply doesn’t measure up to...

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WINNIE THE POOH at Utah Children’s Theatre is tiggerific!

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A. A. Milne’s classic book Winnie-the-Pooh has thrived for generations since its publication in 1926—not just because the writing is skillful and witty, but because in his book he captures the very essence of childhood imaginings, the magic of endless possibilities, and the joy found in all that is silly. Matthew Windham’s adaption of Winnie the Pooh, which he also directs at Utah Children’s Theatre, channels that essence of youth with energy and vitality on the stage. To be clear, Winnie the Pooh at Utah Children’s Theatre is not Disney’s version of Winnie the Pooh. Children...

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THE CRUCIBLE at Pioneer frames hysteria brilliantly on symbolic stage

SALT LAKE CITY — Arthur Miller is arguably the greatest American playwright of the 20th century, and after viewing his masterpiece The Crucible, it is easy to see why.  Linguistically brilliant, with dialogue and monologues to make actors’ hearts skip beats, the show is also impeccably structured with the Salem witch trials playing out like the suspenseful courtroom drama it most certainly was at the time. Miller has an uncanny ability to show “a mirror unto nature,” reaching deep into the psyche of men and women to reveal the rawness of the human heart on stage.  Charles Morey, director of Pioneer...

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HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS falls short of the original

SALT LAKE CITY — How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the beloved book by Dr. Seuss, is a popular culture staple, nearly everyone knows what it means to call someone a “Grinch.” It would also be difficult to find anyone who had never heard the song, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” from the 1966 cartoon adaptation of the book, which is similarly engrained in the popular culture Christmas treasury in this country.  Because of the familiarity people feel with this story, any adaptation is bound to come up against challenges.  Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, playing now...

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Superb acting & directing make Sundance’s FIDDLER ON THE ROOF a success

SUNDANCE — There is something magical about theatre outdoors, and for summer theatre at Sundance Mountain Resort that feeling is amplified.  The performance experience is enhanced by the drive up Provo Canyon, the winding road to the resort, and the tractor ride up to the amphitheatre nestled in the mountainside.  The journey creates anticipation that is only sweeter if one has experienced Sundance theatre before.  Enthusiastically staged with local talent, Sundance is summer stock at its best, and this year’s Fiddler on the Roof, directed by James Arrington, is no exception. Always a crowd-pleaser, this year marks the 50th anniversary of...

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