Author: Elise Hanson

Meet the cast and director of Pygmalion’s ELEEMOSYNARY

SALT LAKE CITY — Three women sit before me: Barb Gandy, Tracie Merrill, and Sydney Shoell. Each are different in age, for they are set to portray three generations of women in Pygmalion Theatre Company’s latest endeavor, Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing and directed by Jeremy Chase, who joined his cast for this UTBA interview. Q: What was it that drew you to your respective roles? Barb (Dorothea): First off, it’s a beautifully written play with gorgeous language. There are complex characters and complex relationships. So to read a play like that is a delight. More specifically, I’m the right age range for...

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Powerful voices throughout THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

SALT LAKE —As part of V-Day—a global activist movement to end violence against women—Westminster students put on Eve Ensler‘s groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues. New, personal monologues, tackling such issues as homophobia, rape, and abortion, were performed alongside the original monologues. While some of the stories were indeed heavy, there was a lot of laughter throughout the night. Alexis Epling gave a strong performance, moving between mirth and tears, in “The Vagina Workshop” about a woman looking at her vagina for the first time and locating her clitoris. Kerry Thomas was more exasperated than enraged in “The Angry Vagina,”...

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UTBA reviewers sound off: Excellence in 2016

The social media consensus is that 2016 was a rough year for America. With a surplus of celebrity deaths and a chaotic presidential election, many people are ready to put 2016 behind them. But the Utah theatre community had a great year, with wonderful productions across the entire length of the state. As we do every year, we asked our reviewers and staff members to tell us what excellent productions they saw this year in Utah. Here are the shows that stuck in their minds weeks or months later. Excellent Professional (Equity) Productions Being the only Tony Award winning...

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Blood, bellicosity, bile, and bawd become THE REVENGER’S TRAGEDY

PROVO — It has been nine years since Vindici’s wife Gloriana was poisoned by the Duke for spurring his advances. Now she is but a skull, carried around in ghoulish fashion by her husband, who seeks vengeance for her death. As they say, you gotta play the long game. Having never seen a Jacobean production outside of William Shakespeare, I was looking forward to my introduction into that world as presented by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company, a troop I have come to trust to put on a delightful and informative show. Once again, they did not disappoint. The Revenger’s Tragedy was everything I was hoping it would be: gruesome, lewd, funny, devilish, and entertaining as all get-out. As is the usual with Grassroots productions, this play was mounted traditionally. This meant that the actors worked collaboratively and without a director, memorizing their lines individually and showing up to rehearse for just a few days before performing. I am ceaselessly blown away by their ability to do this. These are serious actors who know their craft, and they have such fun together, making everything they do look effortless. Davey Morrison Dillard is, in my opinion, one of the great talents of Utah. In this production he played Ambitioso, the son of the duchess, and a plotting knave who is trying to take over the dukedom by arranging the deaths of his brothers....

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HERAKLES is a fresh, creative take on classical Greek

SALT LAKE CITY — As one of Greek myth’s most popular and beloved characters, Herakles is most widely known for his daring feats of courage, fortitude, and epic demigod strength. The lesser-known part of his story, however, is what happens after he returns home from battle. A soldier himself, Euripides (the playwright) had firsthand knowledge of the psychological trials that awaited warriors upon deployment, and his Herakles is an examination of the brutal reality of post traumatic stress disorder in a time that didn’t have many resources for those afflicted. Director Hugh Hanson has chosen to move the setting of Herakles from ancient...

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