Author: Russell Warne

Jennifer A. Kokai discusses her new book, SWIM PRETTY

Jennifer A. Kokai is a name that pops up regularly in the UTBA archives as a director. A faculty member at Weber State University, Dr. Kokai is also the author of the new book Swim Pretty: Aquatic Spectacles and the Performance of Race, Gender, and Nature. Dr. Kokai was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about her book. UTBA: Can you please tell me what your book is about? Kokai: The book looks at how performances in water, especially those featuring people performing as mermaids, began in the United States and how they have changed, or haven’t changed,...

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Spanish Fork’s THE LITTLE MERMAID is positoov-ly fun

SPANISH FORK — Having seen the show on stage three times before, I’m used to spectacle in The Little Mermaid. Nearly every page of Doug Wright‘s script calls for some piece of eye candy, whether it is a shipwreck, costumes for undersea creatures, or magic effects. However, Spanish Fork Community Theater’s production surprised me in the level of dazzle in the show. The staff behind this technically ambitious production had high goals, which resulted in an appealing production of this Disney musical. Directors Cami Jensen and Ken Jensen‘s vision for this show is faithful to the 1989 film, most noticeably in the...

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It’s a tragedy to miss ROMEO AND JULIET in fair Cedar City

CEDAR CITY — The Utah Shakespeare Festival has decided again to visit fair Verona and stage Romeo and Juliet this year in an insightful, well acted, and gratifying production that serves as a worthy companion to the Festivla’s current production of Shakespeare in Love. Rather than have the title characters careen inescapably towards doom (as in an ancient Greek tragedy), Director J. R. Sullivan makes each character an autonomous agent in the story. The result is a Romeo and Juliet that is a parade of “if only” scenarios. If only Mercutio had controlled his temper… If only Romeo and listened to the counsel...

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Dead men tell no tales, but TREASURE ISLAND is still a classic

CEDAR CITY — “There is no honor among thieves,” according to the old saying. This is certainly true of the pirates of Treasure Island, most of whom succumb to an early death as a consequence of greed, treachery, and betrayal. This classic story of high adventure is on stage now at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in an energetic swashbuckling production. Treasure Island is an adaptation by Mary Zimmerman of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s classic novel of the same name. The story recounts the adventures of Jim Hawkins, a young boy whose life is changed when a mysterious stranger named Billy...

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Too slow and uneven for this show to be AS YOU LIKE IT

CEDAR CITY — Often in Shakespeare‘s plays, people leave their home to attempt to escape their problems. As You Like It turns this idea on its head by forcing its characters into exile and having the dysfunction of human society recreated in the forest. Likewise, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s initiative to produce every Shakespeare play makes As You Like It is part of the 2017 season, but despite the cast and crew’s attempts to create an light, frothy evening of theatre, they can’t escape from the unevenness of the script. As You Like It tells the story of young Orlando...

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