Author: Elise Hanson-Barnett

REX should have stayed retired

LOGAN — Back in 1976, Richard Rodgers penned Rex, what was to be one of his final musicals, with a libretto by Sheldon Harnick. By that time, Oscar Hammerstein had passed, and the once great duo was no more. Love them or hate them, there was something to the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein that churned out mass hits that are still widely performed today due to their entertainment value and relevance to a modern audience. With Rex, however, it is clear why some musicals stay buried in the past (and most rightly so). King Henry VIII and his many...

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Experience the balm of Gilead of SLAC’s SATURDAY’S VOYEUR

SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a rough year for Americans. No matter your political leanings, the impossibility of blocking the outcry of impassioned consternation from your universe is a real and palpable experience for us all. Luckily for us and for the world in general, there is a remedy: humor. Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur has been a mainstay of the Utah theatre scene for many years now, and this past year’s well-spring of material has produced a masterful and rollicking result this time around in the aptly named Saturday’s Voyeur 2017: The Sh*t Show.  The construction of this production...

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KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN is a breath of sweetly spiced air

SALT LAKE CITY — Already a fan of the works of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret), I looked forward to my introduction to the Tony Award winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. And I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. This stunningly aberrant work is a practice in aesthetic as much as it is in the human experience, and I enjoyed living in its strange little universe for a spell. Based on a novel by Manuel Puig and with a script by Terrence McNally, Kiss of the Spider Woman tells the story of Luis Alberto Molina (played by...

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Touring MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM is sugary sweet

WEST VALLEY CITY — As a huge proponent of arts education, I am thrilled that one of Utah’s premier acting companies, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, has launched an intermountain West tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After an engaging presentation of a classical work, the talk back with the actors after the performance revealed a unified love of the theater arts and Shakespeare that is valuable to children, at-risk youth, and adults alike. Nevertheless, I believe there is a fine line between educating with enthusiasm and pandering, and this production danced over that line a hair too far. The cloying sweetness of the...

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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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