Author: christopher

The Zig’s GUYS AND DOLLS has chance and chemistry

OGDEN — When I was thirteen, I was ecstatic to be cast in my first play, a local production of Guys and Dolls. I was cast as a waiter, but when the actor chosen to play Benny Southstreet failed to show up on the first day of rehearsal, I was promoted on the spot. This was my first time at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden, and it instantly took me back to that community theatre—a converted space, hand-painted flats, creative casting, and a local crowd. I remember it fondly as a lot of fun and a baptism by fire, but...

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Pioneer Theatre’s CURIOUS INCIDENT should be curiouser

SALT LAKE CITY — People frequently refer to Asperger’s or autism when discussing fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone, the protagonist of Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as well as its 2012 stage adaptation by Simon Stephens. However, neither of those words appear in the book or the play. In the novel, Christopher describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.” Haddon leaves it at that, maintaining that labels aren’t the point, that at its core “it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and...

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Hale tries to make THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD sing

WEST VALLEY CITY — I’ve written before about the Hale Centre Theatre brand and how it often translates into a penchant for repetition in their programming choices. Despite this —or rather, because of it— HCT makes great efforts to bring new properties to Utah whenever they can. Almost any new Broadway show (or near-Broadway miss) that fits the Hale profile can be expected to grace their stage within a few years. So I give them credit for doing their best to introduce their audiences to new material, whatever my thoughts on the material itself. Looking ahead to the next...

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No sanctuary for this HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

LOGAN — The musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with songs by the same team behind the 1996 Disney film, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, first premiered in Berlin in 1999, where it enjoyed no little success. Note that this musical is not billed as “Disney’s” anything (as with Beauty and the Beast et al.), but rather is “based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film.” In addition to an expanded score by the movie’s songwriters, the German production even boasted a book by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine. Though the book of the most...

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A brilliantly sung PIRATES OF PENZANCE at UFO&MT

LOGAN — One hundred and thirty-eight years after its 1879 New York City premiere, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance still retains a prominent place in American popular culture. This is borne out by the many references to it in such diverse contemporary media as Aaron Sorkin-scripted dramas, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, web comics, and even marketing for tentpole animated feature films. Moreover, it is that rare property that can be (and is frequently) produced in almost any venue, from professional opera companies to community theatres—ensuring that it will continue to be a goldmine of allusion, quotation, and parody...

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