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AMERICAN IDIOT isn’t just for Green Day fans

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a poignant philosophy buried just beneath the surface of American Idiot. It doesn’t take long for this high-energy musical, backed by Green Day’s punk rock anthem, to make that point known: we’re all a little screwed up—and that’s OK. The University of Utah’s Department of Theatre takes this theme and runs with it in their production of American Idiot. It’s head-banging, foot-stomping entertainment—and not just for the audience. The cast’s energy is infectious and palpable, in part due to Denny Berry’s inspiring direction. If you’ve been out of the theater for a long time—like me—this production will make you miss it. Familiarity with Green Day makes American Idiot easier to follow, but it’s just as enjoyable if you come in not knowing any of their music. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the lyrics and he wrote the book with Michael Mayer. (Although, if you’ve listened to any alternative rock—or even top 40—radio station in the last decade, chances are you’ve heard at least one Green Day song. My money’s on “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”) It takes a few Green Day songs for the story to get going, but once it does, it runs full steam, breaking only a couple of times until it reaches the end. In between, friends Johnny (Austin John Smith), Will (John Yerke), and Tunny (Dominic Zappala), living in Suburbia,...

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Get in on the joke at SATURDAY’S VOYEUR

SALT LAKE CITY — As a staple of Salt Lake Acting Company’s season, Saturday’s Voyeur knows how to cater to its audience. With jokes about everything from the Gateway Mall to the “beard exception” at Brigham Young University, nothing in Utah culture is off limits. Would this musical, newly written each year, work anywhere else? Probably not. But that’s what makes Saturday’s Voyeur so unique—and such a fun experience for local audiences. For this edition of Saturday’s Voyeur, director Cynthia Fleming and lyricists Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht focus heavily on same-sex marriage, Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly’s excommunication from...

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Finding identity in YELLOW FACE

SALT LAKE CITY — The struggle with identity is one most people face at some point in their lifetime. Throw in race, ethnicity, and the media, and the struggle becomes even more complicated. These are the polarizing themes in People Productions’s Yellow Face. This semi-autobiographical story of playwright David Henry Hwang (played by Michael Havey) follows his journey as an activist and “poster child of political correctness” for Asian Americans after the controversial decision to cast a white, British man in an Asian role during the production of Miss Saigon in London in 1989. David then, unknowingly, does the same, casting Marcus...

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