Author: Tara Nicole Haas

TARZAN is swingin’ fun at Tuacahn

IVINS – After the successful regional premiere of Tarzan in 2010, the exciting Disney musical is back by popular demand at Tuacahn Amphitheater. This year’s one of a kind encore production, directed by Bill Burns, exceeds in creativity and does not disappoint. The musical, with music and lyrics by Phil Collins and a book by David Henry Hwang, is based on the 1999 Disney film of the same name, adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs’s 1912 story, Tarzan of the Apes. Having been reimagined many times, the familiar story of the jungle “ape man” and his attraction to the young scientist, Jane, is as endearing now as it was in the early twentieth century. Common in other Disney classics, the musical explores themes of family, love, and finding oneself through a personal journey. Playing the title character of Tarzan, Scott Mulligan depicts his role with enough innocence and naiveté that his existence as a man who has never been introduced to his own species is believable. Mulligan has little time alone on stage, so what makes his performances stand out are the connections he is able to make with his fellow cast members. He has a realistic and heartwarming chemistry with both his ape-mother, Kala (played by Belen Moyano), and Jane (played by Kari Yanci). When Tarzan and Jane first meet, they connect instantly and the excitement exudes from them....

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Tuacahn starts off 2016 season strong with PETER PAN

IVINS – Having been a Utah resident my entire life, it is surprising to many that I had never experienced the hype of a production at Tuacahn first hand before attending opening night of Peter Pan. Upon entering the amphitheater with expectations high, I was taken by the breathtaking backdrop that the red rock mountains provided behind and around the stage. That natural scenic element in itself creates a unique experience that cannot be had elsewhere. As the show began and the character of Peter Pan rose high above the ground in the distance, flying toward the stage and causing palpable excitement to stir in the air, my interests were piqued and I expected a show full of exhilarating spectacle. Unfortunately, Tuacahn’s strong production with all the anticipated spectacle and wondrous effects could not hold my full attention with the outdated and at times lackluster script and musical numbers. Presumably not my “cup of tea,” Sir J. M. Barrie’s classic tale of Peter Pan was reimagined as a stage musical in 1954 with music by Mark Charlap and Jule Styne, and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. The story of the young boy who refuses to grow up, his protective fairy, Tinkerbell, and the young girl named Wendy who takes on the mother figure for all of the lost boys in Neverland, has captivated audiences for...

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Westminster’s GYPSY is less than stellar

SALT LAKE CITY — As a theater veteran, it is surprising that I have never seen a production of Gypsy before I attended the closing night show at Westminster College. I have, however, been exposed to the show-stopping musical numbers and iconic characters, and am aware of the great critical acclaim the show has received. Many critics and patrons alike have even said that Gypsy is the greatest musical ever written, garnering it numerous awards and nominations. For a musical with as much hype surrounding it as Gypsy has, I am disappointed that Westminster’s lackluster version was my introduction to the musical. Gypsy, written in 1959 by Arthur Laurents, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is loosely based on the life and memoir of Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous striptease artist who lived at the end of the burlesque era in the early twentieth century. The story focuses on Rose (played by Carissa Klitgaard), the mother of June (Carlie Young) and Louise (Amanda Corbett), who later changes her name to Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy is loved not only for the charming characters and catchy songs, but for the substantial themes that are examined. Rose pushes her daughters into the life she’s dreamed for herself and lives through their successes. June is blonde and beautiful and the obvious favorite, while Louise is overlooked and babied. Rose is ambitious to...

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Covey Center “accentuates the positives” with THE ANDREWS BROTHERS

PROVO — Campy, jukebox musicals are not usually my cup of tea. While it is important to separate a production’s merit from personal taste, I was surprised that in this case, I did not have to. The Covey Center’s The Andrews Brothers is an entertaining and comical delight, and I could not resist being won over. The Andrews Brothers is a 1940’s USO-style musical written by Roger Bean, known for his hit The Marvelous Wonderettes. The Andrews Brothers features over 25 songs from the popular boogie-woogie American musical group, The Andrews Sisters, including hits such as “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” “Don’t...

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Humor abounds in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

SALT LAKE CITY — The works of Anton Chekhov, one of the most prolific realist playwrights of the late 19th and early 20th century, are the inspiration for Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony Award winning play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Wasatch Theatre Company’s Utah premiere of this production does not disappoint as they highlight Durang’s humorous and witty script. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is unique in its heavy theatre references throughout the entire play. Although clever, this is not done subtlety. Chekhov and all four of his masterpiece plays, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters,...

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