Author: gordon

Hopebox’s DAMN YANKEES bats around and scores

KAYSVILLE — Whether you call it a 4-bagger, a tater, a dinger, or a homer, Hopebox Theatre has hit it. This production of the Faust story (with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop) satisfies at just about every level. This Damn Yankees is community theatre at (very close to) its best. Here’s the story: Joe Boyd (played by Donald Eisenbarth) sells his soul to the Devil, a.k.a. Mr. Applegate, for “one long-ball hitter” to lift the hapless Washington Senators over the hated Yankees. Mr. Applegate (Bradley Hatch) transforms Joe...

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Director leaves Pioneer’s TWELFTH NIGHT adrift

  SALT LAKE CITY — Taking my seats at Pioneer Theater for Twelfth Night, I saw a promising lovely model ship in the center of the stage. Surrounding the stage was a golden frame of shutters, perhaps foretelling the storm at the beginning of the play. (A hurricane?) As the action opened, the little ship sank and the set (designed by G. W. Mercier) dissolved into an impressive storm scene aboard, clearly echoing The Tempest. Sinking along with the ship was the energy level in this production, drained even further by the slow tempo of the script’s songs (composed and sung...

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Performances of adapted SIX CHARACTERS script still satisfy

  PROVO — In Utah, theater companies proliferate like rabbits, and An Other Theater Company has just joined us, with a new production of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. The play pre-dates the absurdist theatre of the 1950s, characterized by Ionesco, Beckett, and Genet, but it is plenty absurd enough in its own right, raising interesting questions of reality through an intricate structure set in a rehearsal studio. For this production, Katrina Luthi has adapted the original script, stripping it down to the bare bones. She has kept the six characters, of course, but eliminated all but...

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BYU’s MARY STUART shows the Tudors as bloody as ever

PROVO — Elizabeth I was not always “Good Queen Bess,” certainly not to her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, whose claim to the throne of England was at least as strong as Elizabeth’s. As Friedrich Schiller has written the history in Mary Stuart, it continues to illuminate problems of government today, as the audience watches bureaucratic scrambling to avoid accountability. Even though this play is translated, its power puts it in the same class as Shakespeare. If it were performed as often as, say, Richard III, audiences would come to appreciate its strengths. Kudos to BYU for contributing to the...

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Hopebox’s CRAZY FOR YOU is a good show for a good cause

Crazy For You is one of those musicals (Anything Goes and Girl Crazy are others) that exist only to showcase the Great American Songbook. This show is built around the music of George and Ira Gershwin (helped out by a script by Ken Ludwig). It offers the perfect introduction for young persons to these classic tunes, and it reminds the rest of audiences why they love the songs so much. Putting the tunes into a story also gives us a too-rare reminder that these songs had verses, and that the verses are intelligent and clever. In this show, Bobby...

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