Author: russwarne

“I Don’t Need Anything But . . .” the Orem Hale’s ANNIE

OREM — My biggest worry as I write about Hale Center Theater Orem’s Annie is that I will run out of synonyms for “good” as I describe this production. Perhaps because I had never seen the show on stage before, I was unprepared for the barrage of delightful scenes, entertaining dances, and superb performances in this production. Annie tells the story of an eternally optimistic orphan girl who spends Christmas with the wealthy billionaire Oliver Warbucks. After she spends a week in his home, Warbucks decides to adopt Annie, but not before searching for her birth parents. David Morgan‘s direction...

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Cast of SCERA’s SHREK THE MUSICAL is show’s strongest point

OREM — SCERA’s Shrek the Musical kicks off the company’s 2018 outdoor season. Like a favorite bedtime story, the play’s success hinges on providing a satisfactory retelling of a familiar tale. This excellent cast can deliver on the expectations that Shrek fans have for their beloved characters. Shrek the Musical is a slavish reproduction of the 2001 animated Dreamworks film about the title ogre who rescues the princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower so that he can be left alone in the swamp that he calls his home. The stage version holds no surprises for people who have seen the film; nearly...

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Start your summer theatre season with Grassroots’s MIDSUMMER

OREM — Shakespeare‘s script for A Midsummer Night’s Dream is so brilliant that—over 400 years later—any marginally competent cast can still get laughs from the audience. Luckily, the cast for Grassroots Shakespeare Company’s current production of Midsummer surpasses this minimum standard and is amply capable of creating a genuinely enjoyable and funny evening of outdoor theatre. Among the lean cast of 10 actors, Daniel Fenton Anderson was my favorite. Doubling in the roles of Theseus and Oberon, Anderson spoke the cadence of the script’s poetry in a pleasing and enjoyable way. Moreover, his Oberon was a jovial and boisterous fairy king—almost...

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A Tony Award for Best Musical triples a show’s likelihood of staying open

The Broadway theatre season ends this week, and soon the question on the mind of every fan is: Who will the Tony Awards recognize this year? Although most audience members don’t think about it, the Tony Awards can be the difference between a show closing immediately or flourishing for months (or years) to come. Producers use Tony nominations and awards heavily in their marketing, and many audience members see the winners of the Tony Awards for Best Play or Best Musical as “must-see” shows each year. Conventional wisdom in the theatre world is that a show that wins a...

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Lessons learned from seeing 4 productions of ROMEO & JULIET

In the space of seven months—from July 2017 to February 2018—I have seen four separate stage productions of Romeo and Juliet in Utah. Now it’s time for me to take a step back and evaluate what I learned from seeing four productions of Shakespeare‘s tale of “star-cross’d lovers.” The Poetry Matters Unless a rhyming couplet is unavoidable or the iambic pentameter is particularly strong, I don’t look for Shakespeare’s poetry when I watch a play. But the production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival last summer was particularly poetic, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The swinging...

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