Author: christopher

A brilliantly sung PIRATES OF PENZANCE at UFO&MT

LOGAN — One hundred and thirty-eight years after its 1879 New York City premiere, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance still retains a prominent place in American popular culture. This is borne out by the many references to it in such diverse contemporary media as Aaron Sorkin-scripted dramas, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, web comics, and even marketing for tentpole animated feature films. Moreover, it is that rare property that can be (and is frequently) produced in almost any venue, from professional opera companies to community theatres—ensuring that it will continue to be a goldmine of allusion, quotation, and parody...

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WAIT UNTIL DARK a welcomed visitor at the Old Lyric

LOGAN — Last summer, in my review of Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre’s Show Boat, I wrote of the disillusionment of returning to a beloved venue from one’s childhood only to face a reality that doesn’t live up to the memories. So I admit I felt some trepidation this year about revisiting another Logan institution: UFOMT’s older and smaller-scale neighbor from around the corner, the Lyric Repertory Company. I was a frequent patron of the Lyric in the ’80s and ’90s, but have not been back in twenty years. However, I am very relieved to report that this...

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It’s a fine OLIVER! at Pioneer Theatre

SALT LAKE CITY — If there’s a surprise in store for audiences of Pioneer Theatre Company’s latest production of a show based on a Charles Dickens novel and scheduled in the season’s December slot, it’s that it isn’t called A Christmas Carol. Speaking of surprises, I feel a little caught off guard to find myself throwing out the word “refreshing” to describe such a traditional production of so well known a musical as Lionel Bart’s Oliver!. Perhaps that just goes to show how much context can affect one’s impressions, or perhaps it is a testament to the timeless nature...

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Engulf yourself in Sackerson’s BURN

SALT LAKE CITY — The natural wood and exposed brick of Avenues Yoga on K Street in Salt Lake City provide the ideal setting for Sackerson’s production of Burn, the incisive new play by Morag Shepherd, artfully directed by Dave Mortensen. Beneath designer Alex Ungerman’s array of four large, filtered fixtures that resemble sun lamps, the action unfolds at the center of a complex of improvised benches. Made from the frames of stacking chairs and a few boards, these benches—as if they have sprung up organically out of the hardwood planks beneath the audience’s feet—suggest a tangible connection between watching...

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You’ll have to make believe you love UFOMT’s SHOW BOAT

LOGAN — In 1992, I was forced to forego my first opportunity to see a touring Broadway show in Salt Lake City to go to scout camp. To a theatre-obsessed twelve-year-old boy growing up in Brigham City, this was nothing short of an apocalyptic turn of events. I bring this up not only to point out to my parents where they went wrong, but also so you will understand what it meant to me when Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre began its inaugural season in nearby Logan the following year (then sans the “& Musical Theatre”). It was...

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