Author: Julia Shumway

PYGmalion’s THE WEYWARD SISTERS fails to take flight

Salt Lake City — PYGmalion Productions’ new play, The Weyward Sisters, written by L. L. West and directed by Robin Wilks-Dunn, takes place backstage at the Globe Theater during the debut of Macbeth. There, three actual witches who have been cast as the Weird Sisters, rehearse and get into costume between scenes. Each witch had her own desk bedecked with items that bespoke her character (stage manager, Annie Brantley). As the play begins, Leandra (Betsy West) busies herself with the mirror and trinkets covering her desk while Skye (Ali Lente) takes a break from her stack of books to...

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Grassroots Shakespeare freshen up ROMEO AND JULIET

SALT LAKE CITY — I have never seen a Grassroots Shakespeare Company show that I didn’t like, but Romeo and Juliet was one of the best I’ve seen yet. Not only was this show good, it was the first time I’ve even enjoyed Romeo and Juliet. Usually, I can’t help getting irritated with Shakespeare‘s adolescent couple taking their infatuation so seriously and the adults who fail to enforce appropriate boundaries for their children. But Grassroots Shakespeare Company’s skilled cast presented such a perfect blend of drama, comedy, and tragic human frailty that the production completely won me over. Grassroots...

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Case closed: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD is a hit

OREM — One of the great tragedies of nineteenth century English literature is that Charles Dickens died right in the middle of writing his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Literary scholars have their own opinions about how Dickens meant to wrap up all the play’s dangling plot points, but playwright Rupert Holmes has chosen to leave the destiny of the book’s central characters up to democratic vote. The result is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style Broadway musical, currently playing at Utah Valley University. The Noorda Theatre stage bears an ornate façade stylized as a music hall in Victorian England, and Jordan...

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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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THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER embodies the spirit of Christmas

WEST JORDAN — One of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions read curling up in my pajamas as my mother read Barbara Robinson‘s book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It’s the story of a small town Christmas pageant that gets hijacked when a family of bullies forcibly take all the most important roles: Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, and the angel of the Lord. Adapted for the stage by Robinson, the Sugar Factory Playhouse and West Jordan Theater Arts’ production delivers the same portions of hijinks and nostalgia I remembered from the book, plus all the quaint holiday cheer...

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