Author: elisehanson

No escape from the gripping psychodrama of NO EXIT

SALT LAKE CITY — Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential 1944 satire No Exit is a slow-burning pressure cooker that explores a single ontological notion: “Hell is other people.” In the story, three people are trapped in a dowdy, raffishly-appointed room. They have recently died and are now in hell. As the ultimate destination is not what any of them expected, they engage in a discussion about what hell could possibly mean for each of them. The most intelligent of them, Ines (played by Megan Chase), deduces that the trio is to act as torturers for one another, and the pot begins to boil. No...

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Help yourself to a serving of the Grand’s SPAMALOT

SALT LAKE CITY — Fans of Monty Python‘s seminal cinematic classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail will be pleased to know that Eric Idle‘s loving re-imagining of the film is getting worthy treatment from the collection of comic actors at The Grand Theatre. Spamalot is the fantastically irreverent and garishly glitzy take on Holy Grail’s story of King Arthur’s holy quest for the aforementioned cup. The musical retains some favorite bits and gags from the movie (such as the killer bunny rabbit and the taunting Frenchman), while adding a wonderful comedic character in The Lady of the Lake (played by Olivia Custodio). The songs, brilliantly penned by...

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Get shaken awake by Westminster’s SPRING AWAKENING

SALT LAKE CITY — Frank Wedekind was a 19th-century German playwright whose seminal 1891 work Frühlings Erwachen was adapted into a modern musical called Spring Awakening by dramatist Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik. The controversial work 100 years prior to the Broadway smash hit was revived to enormous success and remarkable effect; the problems facing the teenagers of 1890 are frighteningly similar to those facing our youth today, keeping the story of Spring Awakening as evocative and heartfelt as ever. In many ways, the students in the world of Spring Awakening are startlingly similar to the impassioned activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Both...

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SLAC presents a fascinating mess in HIR

SALT LAKE CITY — This small California home is a mess. There is laundry littering the floor, rubbish piled up so high by the front door that it is impassable, and whoever approaches the sink is going to have to don a hazmat suit. Not a great place to come home to for young soldier Isaac Conner, played by Austin Archer. He shouts at the front door while his wacky mom tries to explain through zany, mad-cap metaphor that he needs to use the back door. Christy Summerhays is Paige Conner, a veritable lava lamp come to life. Her husband...

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PROVO — Since their debut at the Salt Lake Fringe Festival in 2015, An Other Theater Company has been producing bold, compassionate, and inclusive pieces of live entertainment that make me excited for the Utah theater scene. I was able to enjoy their latest production, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (the first half of Tony Kushner‘s landmark play), and I am pleased to say that their standard for excellence and empathy is still raising the bar for similar companies. Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (with its two parts, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika) is a hallmark of theatrical achievement. It...

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