Author: Bryce Isaacson

UTBA reviewers sound off: EXCELLENCE IN 2017

With the end of the year upon us, it’s time for one of our favorite annual traditions: the UTBA post about excellence on the Utah stage in the past year! These shows are not necessarily the “best” Utah stage productions of the year. Rather, they are plays that stick out in our reviewers’ minds for various reasons. There are plenty of excellent productions that do not appear on this list, and most reviewers were forced to limit the number of plays they talked about. Excellent professional (Equity) productions Some day, Newsies might replace Joseph… as Utah’s favorite musical. The...

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Hopebox’s WHITE CHRISTMAS is fluffy and fun

KAYSVILLE — Does the world need another stage musical based on a successful movie? No, it does not. Which makes the success of Hopebox Theatre’s White Christmas all the more exciting. The musical, created in 2004, sticks closely to the classic 1954 film. After seeing it, I’m convinced it was made for the stage. Chock full of show-stopping musical numbers, dancing, singing, and romance, White Christmas is a magical addition to the holiday stage season. The plot concerns two Broadway stars (played by Justin Lee and Jeff Erickson), who leave their successful environs in pursuit of two up-and-coming sisters (played...

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A moving and worthwhile CHRISTMAS CAROL at CenterPoint

CENTERVILLE — CenterPoint Legacy’s production of A Christmas Carol is a joyful introduction to the most wonderful time of the year. The version of the timeless tale that CenterPoint chose to stage is a musical adaptation, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Alan Menken, and a script by Mike Ockrent and Ahrens. It was staged at Madison Square Garden from annually 1994 to 2003, and turned into a television movie by NBC in 2004. During that span, an impressive list of actors filled the roles, including Frank Langella, Tim Curry, Terrence Mann, Jason Alexander, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Kelsey...

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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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