Author: Rachel Helwig

Bring your shipoopi to UFO&MT’s THE MUSIC MAN

LOGAN — One of the most golden examples of a golden age musical would have to be Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. The story of a fly-by-night salesman who swings into River City, Iowa, to sell the town on a boys’ band they didn’t know they needed is familiar to almost everyone in the audience at Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre. With its beloved, familiar score, The Music Man is always a safe choice for family friendly entertainment and especially summer festival theatre. The production staff of the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre Company does a solid job...

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No “brimstone and treacle” in Herriman’s MARY POPPINS

HERRIMAN — The road to Herriman feels long and winding, especially if you are coming from anywhere outside of this southwest corner of the Salt Lake Valley, but this little town does summer shows in a big way. Their latest offering is Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, directed by Kristin Housley, and choreographed by Julie Balazs, with music direction by Nicole Thorpe. These women have put together a great family show that continues the tradition of excellent summer theatre offerings from Herriman. The first element that stood out to me was the impressive vocal talents of the entire cast....

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IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS is a family-friendly holiday revue

SALT LAKE CITY — Upon entering the theater at Pioneer Theater Company, the audience could be forgiven for wondering if they’d come to the wrong place. The stage appears dusty from neglect, covered with old lighting trees and props, sand bags and discarded scenery litter the stage. Rather than the breathless anticipation of an evening filled with song and dance about Christmas, there is an air of abandonment about the place. According to director Karen Azenberg‘s program note, the setting of It Happened One Christmas (conceived by Azenberg and Kenneth Jones) is “a shuttered old vaudeville house in downtown Salt Lake...

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SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE serves up an irresistible treat

OGDEN — Most people have never heard of the composing team Lieber and Stoller. In fact, Jim Christian, the director and choreographer of Weber State University’s most recent offering, Smokey Joe’s Café, addresses this gap in American music knowledge in his director notes, saying, “The writing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller may not have the same name recognition for musical theatre audiences as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, or Andrew Lloyd Webber, but their contributions to the American Songbook have filled more jukeboxes, radios, elevators, playlists, movie scores and Las Vegas celebrations than most people would imagine.” Once the...

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A heart-warming MIRACLE WORKER in Centerville

CENTERVILLE — Centerpoint Legacy Theatre has stepped away from its typical musical theatre offerings to share a beautiful story of determination, hope, and ultimately the purest kind of love: The Miracle Worker by William Gibson. It is the story of Helen Keller, a young girl born with normal sight and hearing, but who loses both after a childhood bout with smallpox. As she grows, locked in a black, silent world, she and her genteel Southern family struggle along the best they can (which is to say, not very well). But then a brash, opinionated young Northern woman named Annie Sullivan crashes...

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