Author: Tara Nicole Haas

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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UTBA reviewers sound off: EXCELLENCE in 2015

At the end of every year at UTBA we collect our members’ thoughts on the excellent shows they have seen that year. And for the fifth year in a row, it is clear that the Utah theatre scene is vibrant, with entertainment options available for patrons of all types. Below are the shows that stick out in our reviewers minds as 2015 draws to a close. Excellent Professional (Equity) Productions Who would have thought that a farce written in the 1890’s would still be belly-aching funny 120 years later? The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s take on Charley’s Aunt was phenomenal all around:...

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As always, a touching JOYFUL NOISE at the Covey

PROVO — The Covey Center for the Arts admirably presents this year’s annual holiday tradition of Tim Slover’s uplifting and insightful play, Joyful Noise. This play is a wonderful story of redemption, forgiveness, and is acutely meaningful as Utahns celebrate the Christmas holiday. Set in London in 1741, Joyful Noise tells the story of George Frideric Handel (played by J. Scott Bronson) and the creation of his masterpiece, The Messiah. Due in part to the recent death of Handel’s greatest patron, Queen Caroline, Handel is suffering from the lack of popularity of his work and lacks endorsement from King George II (Travis...

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