‘Calamity Jane’ strikes Desert Star Playhouse

By Emily Edmonds

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 7 2014 2:00 p.m. MDT

MURRAY — Audiences at the Desert Star Playhouse will soon be treated to a lesson in how the West was fun.

Running June 12 through Aug. 23, “Calamity Jane: Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun” tells the story of a spirited, independent Pony Express rider who attempts to save her town from an evil businessman trying to take advantage of miners.

In Desert Star’s adaptation, Calamity Jane and her romantic interest, Wild Bill Hickok, are sidetracked in their quest to be together by villain Diamond Jack Butler.

Calamity Jane earned her famous moniker because she was around a lot of mayhem in the Wild West, director Scott Holman explained.

“She was a bigger-than-life character who was always near the action,” he said. “If there was trouble, she was going to be there.”

Holman said the fast-paced show boasts a fantastic cast and barrels of laughs: “You won’t find this much entertainment jammed into two hours anywhere else,” he said.

Krystal Kiene plays the production’s namesake along with Scott Garner and Dan Larrinaga as Diamond Jack and Ryan Poole and Shawn Zumbrunnen as Wild Bill.

“We always cast the best performers possible, but I can honestly say this is one of the top groups we’ve put together in a long time,” Holman said. “It’s an exceptional cast.”

Just like tales told around the campfire, this production is counting on its entertaining story, written by Peter Van Slyke, and clever performances to win over audiences.

“I tell my casts, ‘If you don’t have a good story, you’re not going to succeed,’” Holman said. “Even if Westerns really aren’t your thing, you’ll forget you’re watching one because we’re making you laugh.”

As with other Desert Star productions, audiences can expect music, including parodies of old western songs and of tunes straight off today’s pop charts, plus an olio, a bonus post-show performance, after Calamity Jane’s story is finished.

Holman said the cast is looking forward to filling the house and sharing the frontierswoman’s adventures.

“They’ve got something special, and they know the show is going to make people happy,” he said. “Characters in Westerns are so big and broad. There’s so much potential for comedy. The actors have a lot of fun, and that will come through to the audience.”

If you go ...

What: “Calamity Jane: Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Where: Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State St., Murray

When: June 12-Aug. 23, times vary

How much: $18.95 for adults, $10.95 for children 11 and under

Phone: 801-266-2600

Website: desertstarplayhouse.com

Emily Edmonds is an online communications instructor for BYU-Idaho. She is the former editor of BYU's Marriott Alumni Magazine and is also a contributor to Family Circle magazine. She earned her BA in journalism and her MA in communications from BYU.

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