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Discover the world of Sister Dottie S. Dixon

Published: Sunday, Sept. 27 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Charles Lynn Frost stars in "The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon — Second Helpings" at the Rose Wagner Theater.

Pygmalion Theater Company

In the words of Sister Dottie S. Dixon, "Landsamercy!" The fictional, and sometimes no-so-fictional, character is returning to the stage.

"The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon — Second Helpings" will open the season for Pygmalion Theater Company.

"The first Dottie was the most successful show we've ever done, ever," said artistic director Fran Pruyn. "It made this year's season possible."

Meet Sister Dixon, a Mormon mom who loves her church and culture. "She very much loves being a Mormon," Pruyn said, "but she also has a gay son she loves, as well."

The character — a Mormon wife (to Don, for 37 years) and mother active in her church, living in Spanish Fork — is based on creator and star Charles Lynn Frost's own mother.

For the second go-round, Frost and co-creator Troy Williams have tightened the script. "They added some explanation for non-Mormon people," Pruyn said, "and tried to make it less of an inside joke."

She also said the new version takes in to consideration current events, "things that happened over the summer, and there is a new video element."

Dottie has a show on KRCL and went into the first production with a built-in audience. Even though Dottie is played by Frost, "it's never meant to be Dame Edna," Pruyn said. "Charles is a legit actor playing a legit role, and he's wonderful."

"What surprised us was how the audience changed over the course of the run," she said. "In the beginning we had a big LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) following. Then we saw gay people bring their families, and they were moved. Out of nowhere, our audience became older women," she said. "We'd have large groups of middle-aged women relating to Dottie, and it was incredibly sweet."

Dottie's universal appeal makes sense to Pruyn. "The show is a gentle approach to the issue," she said. "Nobody wanted a heavy-handed satire of the Mormon church — that's not who Dottie is. She's a woman who loves her church and loves her gay son. But she'd never thumb her nose at her culture."

Beyond that, anyone who has lived in Utah "knows a Dottie," Pruyn said. "Rural vernacular, cultural idiosyncrasies, a big heart and a big mouth. But there is something about her warmth and ability to love that draws you."

With her own Web site (sisterdottie.com), Twitter and Facebook page (2,700 friends-strong) "there isn't a day that Dottie doesn't hear, 'I wish my mom were like you.' "

"The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon — Second Helpings," Pygmalion Theatre Company, Oct. 2-25. Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

Starring: Charles Lynn Frost, accompanied by Kent Frogley (Sister Dartsey Foxmoreland).

Shows are nightly, except Tuesday; 8 p.m., with matinees available; $20 (801-355-2787, www.pygmalionproductions.org or www.arttix.org).

Here are the rest of the week's theater openings:

"Evita," Oct. 2-30, Rodgers Memorial Theatre, 292 E. Pages Lane, Centerville.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-Award winning epic tale of Eva Peron's meteoric rise to power in 1940s Argentina. The show is filled with memorable tunes such as "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and "And the Money Kept Rolling In" and stars Rodgers' favorites Holly Jo Samuelson and Erin Carlson (Eva); Jeremy Flygare and David Weekes (Che) and Chuck Gilmore and Joe Paur (Juan).

Shows are nightly, except Sunday; 7:30 p.m.; $10-$17 (801-298-1302 or www.rodgersmemorial.com).

"Fuddy Meers," Oct. 2-10, Weber State University, Val A. Browning Center.

A 1999 comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire that finds humor in amnesia, aphasia crime and mental illness. This is a roller-coaster whodunit with no dead bodies. Strange things happen as Claire, who has amnesia, looks through a scrapbook — compiled by her husband — to remind her of her life and sees a man crawl out from underneath her bed telling her she's in danger.

Shows are nightly, except Sunday and Monday; 7:30 p.m.; $7-$10 (800-978-8457).

"Little Shop of Horrors," Oct. 1-Nov. 21, Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North, Orem.

The popular musical, starring the biggest man-eating plant, Audrey II, is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit. The Audrey II has made a big star of shy Seymour, but is he willing to keep the plant alive on a diet of human blood? Great music and the show's crafty designers make the plant come to life. The show stars Christian Busath, Korianne Orton Johnson, Hailey Smith and Jason Tatom.

Shows are nightly, except Sunday, with Saturday matinees available; $15.50-$19.50 (801-226-8600 or www.haletheater.org).

"Ruddigore," Holladay Arts Council, Oct. 3, Big Cottonwood Room, City Hall, 4580 S. 2300 East.

Kick off your Halloween season with ghosts, bad baronets and a family curse. All part of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta — a comic tale of romance and witchcraft. This is a staged concert, starring Tony Porter, Clara Hurtado Lee, Steve Williams, Mary Sorensen and Becky Gardner.

The show is at 7 p.m., free, with donations accepted (801-953-3250).

e-mail: ehansen@desnews.com

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