Author: Johnny Hebda

SCORCH shows potential in its first draft

Sugarhouse – Some of the best theatrical experiences are those that reflect truth and real life. Allison Dayne Nicole Smith’s one woman show, Scorch, performed as part of the Fringe Festival, was a personal reflection of her life, that examined the various experiences that made her who she is today. Throughout the show she chose to reflect the more challenging experiences, including abuse, obstacles she had to overcome, and those people in her life that held her back and didn’t believe in her. All of Smith’s of these experiences shaped her in a unique way, paralleling a Phoenix, as...

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HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE explores difficult but important topics

Salt Lake City — Pinnacle Acting Company delivered a knock out production of the Pulitzer Prize winning drama How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, and was the clear highlight of the Fringe Festival for me. The plot revolves around the sexual relationship between Li’l Bit (Alyssa Franks) and her uncle, Uncle Peck (Brian Pilling), in rural Beltsville, Maryland throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. The subject matter is dark and disturbing, though Vogel’s writing, combined with the excellent direction by Shannon Musgrave, along with a talented cast of actors, found moments of comedy throughout, keeping the experience engaging...

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Venture INTO THE WOODS like you never have before

OREM — Into the Woods is among the most popular musicals produced in Utah and for good reason.  The familiar fairytale characters, the beautiful score by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine is packed full of life lessons and morals, making this Tony Award winning musical the perfect production for Hale Center Theater Orem.  The popularity of the production was amplified by the recent movie adaptation and a new Broadway Revival.  With such familiarity and so many successful productions, I was impressed by Director Chris Clark’s bold choice of having a small cast of actors play all the various...

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Hale’s BIG FISH has a big heart

Orem—As told by Will Bloom (Jacob Theo Squire), “A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.” This line encompasses the heart and theme of Hale Center Theater Orem’s state premiere of Big Fish. With its strong focus on families, this musical adaptation by John August and Andrew Lippa of the popular motion picture is the perfect show for Hale’s audience. It follows the story of Edward Bloom (Ben Henderson) in his final years and his reconciliation with his son Will. Edward has...

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THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED explores conflict between sexuality and career

SALT LAKE CITY — The Little Dog Laughed is a contemporary comedy by Douglas Carter Beane. It follows the story of an up-and-coming Hollywood actor and leading man named Mitchell (played by Aaron Kramer). Mitchell faces the challenges of establishing his career while balancing what his agent Diane (Camilla Edsberg) describes as his “slight recurring case of homosexuality.” Throughout the play, Mitchell becomes involved with Alex (Derek Gregerson), a male hustler who falls for Mitchell, while balancing the relationship with his girlfriend Ellen (Alyssa Franks). The play is a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and the entertainment business, where the...

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