Author: Melissa Leilani Larson

UTBA reviewers sound off: EXCELLENCE IN 2013

It’s been another busy year for UTBA. In 2013 we reviewed 223 productions—our second-highest annual total. From Garden City to Ivins, our reviewers traveled the state to review plays in Utah. Below are our reviewers’ thoughts about some of the excellence they have seen in our state this year. Excellent Professional (Equity) Productions I really enjoyed Salt Lake Acting Company’s production of Good People and the amazing performance by Nell Gwynn as Margie, Plan B’s production of Eric(a).  It was very thought provoking and Teresa Sanderson‘s performance was incredible. And finally Tuacahn’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie rounds out...

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OF MYTH AND MUD is well designed, but murky

OGDEN — Sarah Saltwick’s play Of Myth and Mud explores the power of women in an assortment of vignettes based in world mythology. While independent of one another, these short scenes are connected through the experiences of Pandora (Cassidy Wixon), who begins the play by opening her legendary box. At the start of the play, Pandora is very new to existence; she is unfamiliar with human interaction and has to learn to walk upright on her own two legs. As the play goes on, Pandora learns about humanity by seeing how different women react in different situations. Wixon plays...

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OTHER DESERT CITIES is a potent family drama

SALT LAKE CITY — Even people with glass houses have skeletons in their closets. Novelist Brooke Wyeth is overcoming a serious battle with depression in the best way she knows how: by finishing a new book. At the start of Jon Robin Baitz’s award-winning drama Other Desert Cities, Brooke (played by Nancy Lemenager) visits her parents for Christmas in Palm Springs, her new manuscript in hand. How will they react? Not well. Brooke’s book is not the novel her family expects; it’s a memoir detailing the events leading to her brother Henry’s suicide some years before. While penning the book...

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Enjoy a change with University of Utah’s METAMORPHOSES

SALT LAKE CITY — I’m a sucker for Greek mythology. There’s just so much going on, and among such fascinating characters: gods and mortals, lovers and enemies, queens, and commoners. The Greek canon is full of fascinating stories, often dark, and really very human—the Olympian gods were flawed individuals, with very human personalities despite their immense power and immortality. Mary Zimmerman‘s beautiful play Metamorphoses explores several of these myths—some familiar, others less so—currently being presented in a respectable production by the University of Utah’s Department of Theatre. Zimmerman connects the stories using several key theatricalities. First, all the stories share...

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UTBA reactions to Audra McDonald’s Utah concert series

PROVO — One of the hottest theatre events this year in Utah is the concert series by 5-time Tony winner (and living Broadway legend) Audra McDonald. Famous for her starring performances in Ragtime, Carousel, and recently The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, McDonald was last seen in Utah at Hale Center Theater’s 110 in the Shade with future husband (and Utah native) Will Swenson. McDonald is giving three concerts in Utah this week: two at Brigham Young University and one at Weber State University. We asked our UTBA members who were attending to give their reactions to the performance. Those responses are listed below in the order they were submitted. Check back often because more will be added as they arrive in our editor’s inbox. Melissa Leilani Larson The standing ovation, in my opinion, should be the supreme sign of an audience member’s enjoyment, reserved for performances that truly touch the viewer. As a theatre artist, I of course want to receive ovations, but I want to earn them. I want them to mean something. So I seldom give them; it takes something extremely special to bring me to my feet. Tonight I gave two standing ovations, one within minutes of the other, and to the same person. I clapped and I cheered and I cried. I sat in the center of row F and melted in my seat as Audra McDonald walked out on...

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