Author: Russell Warne

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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A great MY FAIR LADY near the street where you live

OREM — George Bernard Shaw’s most famous play, The Pygmalion, is an examination of the “nature versus nurture” debate of human behavior. Coming clearly on the side of “nurture,” Shaw’s 1913 play tells the story of the impoverished flower seller Eliza Doolittle, who is plucked from the street by Professor Henry Higgins and successfully taught to be a refined English lady. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe adapted this play into the classic musical My Fair Lady, which is playing now in a stunning production at the SCERA. Foremost of the production’s strengths is the acting talent on display...

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See the “Peanuts” gang in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

HIGHLAND — A mainstay of the comics pages since 1950, Peanuts are part of the cultural fabric of the United States. For a few days their fans in Utah County can see these beloved characters on stage in Highland City Arts Council’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the production is the fact that it is You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. The script (written by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer) is a meandering concept musical that limps from one song to another. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Peanuts will...

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HAPPYSADNESS lives up to half its title

PROVO — Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in America, and it cruelly exacts its toll on millions of people every year. Chandra Lloyd’s new Happysadness is a play about depression that could have been relevant to many people. Unfortunately, this production did not live up to its potential. Happysadness tells the story of Val, a young woman suffering from depression and an anxiety disorder. Most of the play revolves around Val’s symptoms and how she struggles to deal with them. Val’s experiences are punctuated regularly by therapy sessions—most of which blend together before the play reaches...

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Hop aboard the LAST TRAIN TO NIBROC

PROVO — “You never know what will happen on a train.” This one line, from Arlene Hutton’s script, perfectly summarizes Last Train to Nibroc, an enjoyable production currently playing at the Covey Center for the Arts. This quiet little play about the romance between its two characters is a gem of a show that deserves the attention of Utah audiences. Last Train to Nibroc begins in the midst of World War II when two strangers, May (played by Kynsie Kiggins) and Raleigh (played by McKay Nicoll) meet by chance on a westbound train from Los Angeles. Both find that...

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