Author: Bryce Isaacson

Hale has A BUNDLE OF TROUBLE in the script department

WEST VALLEY CITY — 36 years ago, Hale Centre Theatre founders Ruth and Nathan Hale penned Bundle of Trouble. One of their namesake theaters staged an updated version in 2001. But after seeing the 2017 production, what compelled the powers that be to dust it off a third time is beyond me. No need to pay royalties, maybe? The plot concerns a slob named Jeff, played by Eric Jensen, who also directed the play. One day his estranged wife (played by Shannon Ricks) drops their daughter (played by Morgan Renee Thompson) off unannounced on the way to a business...

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Overprotective parenting on display in Creekside’s THE TEMPEST

CEDAR HILLS — Want to know the coolest thing about Creekside Theatre Festival? It’s actually on a creek. In fact, there’s a babbling brook running right through the stage. While the water feature is rather unfortunate (the Pleasant Grove Ditch — yikes). Fortunately, the creek is much more charming than its name. The noble waterway was put to quick use in the opening scene, as sailors frantically baled water to save their sinking ship. In fact, the creek was used through the night for various purposes. It was one of the most effective uses of environment I’d ever seen,...

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Lions and tigers and Winkies at UCT’s THE WIZARD OF OZ

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Utah Children’s Theatre is truly a child’s paradise. The marquee and lobby are whimsical throwbacks to theaters of yesteryear with no expense spared. And the thrust style seating means that most of the audience can be within 3 rows of the stage, which is sure to keep the little ones interested in the action. The entire theater is built with children in mind, and is a must for any family. Their production of The Wizard of Oz, directed by Joanne M. Parker, stays closer to the text of L. Frank Baum‘s 1900 book than the...

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Mr. Shakespeare, meet THE LITTLE MERMAID

OREM — Even before the show started, I knew The Little Mermaid was going to be good. The cast was onstage, singing “Auld Lang Syne” with the warm-up act. Their joy was palpable, and unlike so many actors, this was clearly a tight, egoless group that could put on a show. This take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was in Shakespearean-style language—more forsooths, fewer singing flounders. The adapter, Christopher Clark, created the script by taking phrases, lines, and scenes from Shakespeare‘s plays to tell the story of Marina, the mermaid princess who falls in love with a human....

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9 TO 5 in Magna (a.k.a. “Sexism: The Musical!”)

MAGNA — The musical 9 to 5 was penned by Dolly Parton, a living legend who can do no wrong. It racked up 15 Drama Desk and 4 Tony nominations back in 2009. But the show, based on the 1980 film of the same name, wasn’t a Broadway success and closed six months later. Thematically and technically, the musical is as big as Dolly herself; a Broadway spectacle overflowing with dance numbers and power ballads where characters bare their souls and sometimes more. Kudos to the Empress, a venue not too proud to pass around a collection plate, for taking...

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