Author: christopher

A transcendent INTO THE WOODS at BYU

PROVO — I’m not going to bury the lede. I loved this show. I confess I love Sondheim—to an evangelical degree, even. So you might think I would be predisposed to like this production of Into the Woods. In fact, the opposite is true. If anything, my zeal for Sondheim makes me inclined to be hard on companies when they don’t do his work justice, and I took my seat at BYU’s Pardoe Theatre with apprehension. Yet, for all that, this is easily the best show I have seen on a Utah stage in the last year, and probably...

Read More

The Zig’s GUYS AND DOLLS has chance and chemistry

OGDEN — When I was thirteen, I was ecstatic to be cast in my first play, a local production of Guys and Dolls. I was cast as a waiter, but when the actor chosen to play Benny Southstreet failed to show up on the first day of rehearsal, I was promoted on the spot. This was my first time at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden, and it instantly took me back to that community theatre—a converted space, hand-painted flats, creative casting, and a local crowd. I remember it fondly as a lot of fun and a baptism by fire, but...

Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s CURIOUS INCIDENT should be curiouser

SALT LAKE CITY — People frequently refer to Asperger’s or autism when discussing fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone, the protagonist of Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as well as its 2012 stage adaptation by Simon Stephens. However, neither of those words appear in the book or the play. In the novel, Christopher describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.” Haddon leaves it at that, maintaining that labels aren’t the point, that at its core “it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and...

Read More

Hale tries to make THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD sing

WEST VALLEY CITY — I’ve written before about the Hale Centre Theatre brand and how it often translates into a penchant for repetition in their programming choices. Despite this —or rather, because of it— HCT makes great efforts to bring new properties to Utah whenever they can. Almost any new Broadway show (or near-Broadway miss) that fits the Hale profile can be expected to grace their stage within a few years. So I give them credit for doing their best to introduce their audiences to new material, whatever my thoughts on the material itself. Looking ahead to the next...

Read More

No sanctuary for this HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

LOGAN — The musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with songs by the same team behind the 1996 Disney film, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, first premiered in Berlin in 1999, where it enjoyed no little success. Note that this musical is not billed as “Disney’s” anything (as with Beauty and the Beast et al.), but rather is “based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film.” In addition to an expanded score by the movie’s songwriters, the German production even boasted a book by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine. Though the book of the most...

Read More

Let’s Chat