Author: Johnny Hebda

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH explores the human family through history and time

SALT LAKE CITY — “We came through the depression by the skin of our teeth, that’s true!—one more tight squeeze like that and where will we be?” launches the starting point for this 1943 Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Thornton Wilder, The Skin of our Teeth. This play is non-traditional and somewhat abstract in its format, bordering on “theatre of the absurd.” The title character Sabina (played by Sarah Danielle Young) acts as a narrator reminiscent of the Stage Manager in Wilder’s Our Town as she serves as a liaison between the actors in the play and the audience. Sabina frequently...

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GHOST THE MUSICAL never comes to life

WEST VALLEY CITY — Based on the 1990 Oscar Award winning romantic drama film, starring Patrick Swazye, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost the Musical is fresh off of Broadway in its first Utah production at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley. With a book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, continues a trend on Broadway of adapting widely successful blockbuster films into large-scale musicals (such as Catch Me If You Can, 9 to 5, and The Bridges of Madison County). Hale Centre Theatre has also continued this trend with...

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Modern spin on HAMLET makes the play wobble

SALT LAKE CITY — The New World Shakespeare Company produces classic scripts with modern interpretations to make old plays more accessible to modern audiences. Each production benefits a charitable campaign for a local cause that relates to the theme of the show. With the themes in Hamlet, a portion of the proceeds was donated to the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition. Despite some laudable moments, the production failed to come together in a unified manner. This was because a female actress, Elise Hanson, served as the show’s director and played the role of Hamlet. It is nearly impossible for a lead...

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THE CHILDREN’S HOUR teaches timeless lessons

SALT LAKE CITY — Director Mark Fossen has received much acclaim and a solid reputation for directing American classics in Utah, including The Crucible, Our Town, and Death of a Salesman. His recent direction of The Children’s Hour at the University of Utah’s Babcock Theatre continues to showcase his talents in this genre. Lillian Hellman‘s play first opened in 1934, and was considered edgy and controversial for its time in its subject matter as it dealt openly with the topic of homosexuality. As a result, it was banned in London, Chicago and Boston and was refused consideration for the...

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UTBA reviewers sound off: EXCELLENCE IN 2014

December is full of annual traditions, and at UTBA our favorite is our yearly blog post about the excellence we saw on the Utah stage during the year. In 2014 UTBA reviewed 200 productions, which means we had plenty of great shows to choose from. Here are the plays that at the end of the year we remember most fondly. Excellent Professional (Equity) Productions There were so many excellent professional productions in Utah this year, it’s hard to make just a short list. My favorites include Salt Lake Acting Company’s 4,000 miles, the national tour of Bring It On,...

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