Author: Elise Hanson-Barnett

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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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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