Author: russwarne

Start your summer theatre season with Grassroots’s MIDSUMMER

OREM — Shakespeare‘s script for A Midsummer Night’s Dream is so brilliant that—over 400 years later—any marginally competent cast can still get laughs from the audience. Luckily, the cast for Grassroots Shakespeare Company’s current production of Midsummer surpasses this minimum standard and is amply capable of creating a genuinely enjoyable and funny evening of outdoor theatre. Among the lean cast of 10 actors, Daniel Fenton Anderson was my favorite. Doubling in the roles of Theseus and Oberon, Anderson spoke the cadence of the script’s poetry in a pleasing and enjoyable way. Moreover, his Oberon was a jovial and boisterous fairy king—almost...

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A Tony Award for Best Musical triples a show’s likelihood of staying open

The Broadway theatre season ends this week, and soon the question on the mind of every fan is: Who will the Tony Awards recognize this year? Although most audience members don’t think about it, the Tony Awards can be the difference between a show closing immediately or flourishing for months (or years) to come. Producers use Tony nominations and awards heavily in their marketing, and many audience members see the winners of the Tony Awards for Best Play or Best Musical as “must-see” shows each year. Conventional wisdom in the theatre world is that a show that wins a...

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Lessons learned from seeing 4 productions of ROMEO & JULIET

In the space of seven months—from July 2017 to February 2018—I have seen four separate stage productions of Romeo and Juliet in Utah. Now it’s time for me to take a step back and evaluate what I learned from seeing four productions of Shakespeare‘s tale of “star-cross’d lovers.” The Poetry Matters Unless a rhyming couplet is unavoidable or the iambic pentameter is particularly strong, I don’t look for Shakespeare’s poetry when I watch a play. But the production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival last summer was particularly poetic, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The swinging...

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Get “One Step Closer” to HCTO’s THE LITTLE MERMAID

OREM — In the depths of a dreary, brown Utah winter, there’s a bright spot on stage: The Little Mermaid at Hale Center Theater Orem. This bright and joyous adaptation (with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater) is a sunny escape from the cold for theatre goers of all ages. Generally speaking, the performances of The Little Mermaid were best when the actors ignored the film version of their characters. Lauren Pope is a sweet Ariel, and her renditions of “Part of Your World” and “Beyond My Wildest Dreams” were full of curiosity and...

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ROMEO Y JULIETA at BYU gives a new spin to an old classic

PROVO — Romeo and Juliet is one of the most timeless plays ever written because of its focus on two of the most basic human emotions: love and hate. But a new adaptation for young audiences at BYU, Romeo y Julieta, updates the story by changing the Capulets to the Hispanic Capuletos, thereby adding a dimension of cultural misunderstanding as a cause of the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers. In an era of increasing cultural diversity, this adaptation makes the story more pertinent to contemporary life without ignoring the play’s emotional core. Director Julia Ashworth took a risk in...

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