Author: Russell Warne

Theatre criticism in the digital age: Dispatch from ATCA 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Several years ago I found Utah Theatre Bloggers Association, and was so excited to get the chance to see production in Utah and offer my thoughts about productions and the Utah theatre scene.  Through the mentorship of UTBA’s members, I got to work and develop the skills to become even more confident in my role as a theatre critic.  This year, again through mentorship of those who paved the way for me, I was accepted as a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), and spent five days at a conference in San Francisco learning from...

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Explore TARZAN this summer at Hale Center Theater Orem

OREM — Stories about children growing up and leaving home to become adults will always have a place in family-centered Utah County. Maybe that is why Tarzan, which features two grown children each facing the prospect of creating a new life apart from their parents, is such a hit in Utah County and why Hale Center Theater Orem made it their featured summer show this year. Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and the 1999 Disney film, the stage musical Tarzan tells the story of a man who was raised by African gorillas after his parents were shipwrecked and...

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A movin’ and groovin’ HAIRSPRAY at the SCERA

OREM — The best sort of musicals are the ones that make me want to put away my critic’s pen and go be in a show. The current production of Hairspray at the SCERA is just this type of show. With of a joyous score (by Marc Shaiman, with lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman), colorful costumes, and entertaining choreography, it’s not clear whether the audience or the actors are having more fun in this production. Adapted by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan from the 1988 film of the same name, Hairspray tells the story of the Tracy Turnblad, a...

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An adventurous ARGONAUTIKA at BYU

PROVO — One of the oldest stories of high adventure, Jason and the Argonauts has a modern twist on stage as Argonautika plays this month at BYU. Fight scenes, monsters, political intrigue, humor, and a love story make Argonautika a show that has something for everyone. Based on the account of Jason and the Argonauts as recorded by Gaius Valerius Flaccus (translated by David R. Slavitt) and Apollonius Rhodius (translated by Peter Green), Argonautika is an exploration of Greek mythology through the modern lens of playwright Mary Zimmerman‘s imagination. The story follows Jason, a demigod son of Zeus, as he searches for...

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Skip your date with BETTY BLUE EYES

OREM — Betty Blue Eyes is one of those shows that you have to see to believe, and several times my jaw was hanging open. Before seeing Hale Center Theater’s production, I had never seen three men sing an anthem about pork roast, nor had I ever seen a woman riding a tricycle dressed in pink playing a pig. And I had also never seen a professional musical that was so poorly conceived and structured. Betty Blue Eyes’s script (written by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman) is what Roger Ebert called an “idiot plot,” a story that only moves...

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