Playing thru October 2, 2010

OREM — When I told people I was going to the Hale Center Theater Orem to watch The Girl, The Grouch and The Goat, people said, “The Grouchy Girl and the Goat?” or something like, “The Grouch and the Who? Never heard of it. Is that a new Sesame Street Musical?”

This Girl, Grouch, Goat is a hilarious musical fable set in rural ancient Greece which tells the story of a grouchy widower, played by Chris Brower, whose only daughter, played by Aly Rutter, is “changing” into a woman. As she grows up, the widower becomes afraid he will lose her to a young suitor. Also, the Grouch owns the only well still giving water after a twenty-year drought. The townspeople are convinced that they must sacrifice a goat to get it to rain again.

The story by Jack Helbig and the music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, Tony award winner (“Urinetown The Musical”), is told in a style not unlike a Shakespearean comedy but without the fancy language. It is a boy meets girl story.  True to Greek drama it has a chorus of narrators, who in this case are slaves played by David Smith and Paul Hill. These two are a combination of Laurel & Hardy and Tim Conway & Harvey Korman.  The nine-member cast, accompanied on keyboards by Melissa Thorne, is filled with talent. The parts are smartly written, very witty and playful but especially delightful is the way director Neal Johnson and these fine actors put together this production.

My husband and I along with the whole audience laughed out loud. The cast sing, they dance and their comedic timing is perfection. The songs are catchy. The characters are relateable and lovable. What father hasn’t thought about locking his teenage daughter in her room and putting bars on the windows? And what’s a Greek story without some gods and goddesses to interfere with mortals falling in love and wreak a little havoc as they add some comic relief.

The show is fast-paced with truly athletic dancing, jumping, fighting, and falling into wells. I kept wondering if costumer, Anne Swenson, will need to keep her sewing kit handy to bring in some waistlines during the course of the run.

The ending song dragged on a bit, there is even a line by one of the characters that says something like, “Let’s wrap this up, we’re almost finished with the story,” which I thought was apropos. But besides that, I wouldn’t change a thing. I especially liked the vaudevillian musical number “Wild Goat.”  Overall, however, it was an astoundingly entertaining show which the whole family will enjoy; I encourage you to go see The Girl, The Grouch and the Goat.

The Girl, The Grouch, and the Goat plays at the Hale Center Theater (225 West 400 North, Orem) most evenings except Sundays through October at 7:30, with two 3 PM Saturday matinees.  Tickets are $13.50-19.50.  Visit for more details.