It's another busy week for theatergoers, with seven productions opening (but only two in the Greater Salt Lake area): "The Babysitters" at the Hale Center Theater, "The Old Gumbie Cat and Other Musical Tales" at City Rep, "Angels on the Loose" at the Hales' new theater in Orem, "Dear Ruth" at the StageStop at Hampton's Ford, a performance by the Junior Shakespeare Company at Dudley's Restaurant in Layton (see separate story below), "Hotel Frankenstein" at the Valley Center Theater in Lindon, and a one-night-only dinner-theater presentation of "Time of the Prophets" in St. George.
- THE BABYSITTERS, a comedy full of one-liners by Ruth and Nathan Hale, was presented at the Hale Center during its first season in 1985.What a difference five years makes.
Then the theater was operating three nights a week, playing to houses of less than 100 patrons. Since then, the theater itself has had to be enlarged just to handle the crowds, and a typical six-week run brings in 16,000 theatergoers.
"The Babysitters" is about grandparents about to embark on a cruise when they're suddenly confronted by their daughter, their teenage grandson and a houseful of unwanted problems.
Double-cast in the roles of the grandparents are Ruth and Nathan Hale, alternating with Bob Chambers and Mary Sandberg, with Leo Ware and Stan Conrad as Great-grandpa Bailey (who runs away from a rest home - adding to the family's woes).
Also in the cast are Michelle Stone, Heather Patton, Mark Inkley, Virgie Ostler, Leea Swenson, Jonna Diehl, Andrew Lambert, Laryn Litchfield, Matt Green, Quinn Dietlein, Bobby Swenson, Sheila Green, Betty Utley, John Diehl, Mark Dietlein, Carla Patton, DeeAnn Blair, Susie Goble, Katy Hale, Jana Ruth Dietlein, Frank Lambert and Mike Williams.
One of our favorite local performers will be on stage every night - English sheepdog "Sir Lancelot" as Josh, the family pet. He's been seen in productions of "Camelot" and the earlier production of "The Babysitters."
Performance dates: Mondays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sept. 27 through Nov. 17, plus several Saturday matinees. Tickets range from $4 on Mondays to $7 on weekends. Reservations are mandatory.
(Note: 1991 season tickets for Hale Center Theater are now available and seating for "A Christmas Carol" is now on sale for all HCT season-ticket holders, with non-subscriber tickets available on Oct. 1.)
- THE OLD GUMBIE CAT AND OTHER MUSICAL TALES, a theatrical concert showcasing the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, will be presented by City Rep on its downstairs Court Stage for an eight-week run, from Saturday, Sept. 29, through Nov. 16.
Songs from "Phantom of the Opera," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Evita," "Cats" and "Starlight Express" will be featured by the City Rep ensemble.
Directed by City Rep Artistic Director Joanne M. Parker, the cast will include Cliff Cole, Margo Watson, Jennifer O'Haley, Bruce Bredeson, Holly Healy, Amy Richardson, Brent G. Viertel, Sonia Jorgensen, Emily Parker, Dennis J. Lee, Marci Wynn, Scott Adams, Lee Beckstead, Darin Stites, James A. Dale, Darla Davis, Jeff Bryner and Carol Nelson, backed by a small orchestra under the direction of Sherrie Rasmussen.
Assisting with the production are Marilyn Montgomery, choreography; Jennifer O'Haley, music director; and Owen Richardson, sets.
Performance dates are Sept. 29, Oct. 1, 5, 13, 15, 19, 27, and Nov. 2, 10, 12 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees (2 p.m.) on Oct. 20 and Nov. 3 and 10.
Tickets are $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for children, 16 and under. All seats are reserved. Call 532-6000.
- ANGELS ON THE LOOSE, a new comedy by Ruth and Nathan Hale, will open Friday, Sept. 18, at the Hale Center Theater in Orem, where it will continue on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Nov. 19.
Roles are doublecast, with Van Potter and Richard Wilkins playing a widower and Sarah Sandberg and Anne Swenson as the beautiful young widow. Cody Swenson, Lindsay Hale, Marydee Potter and Anne Swenson portray the angels.
Also in the cast are Linda Hale, Melany Wilkins, Tanya Radebaugh, Mark Pulham, Kurk Holshue, Ben Cameron, Heidi Potter, Ashley Radebaugh, and Brinton Wilkins.
Tickets are $5 on weekends and $4 on Mondays. Children's tickets are always $4. Call 226-8600 for reservations. The theater is at 225 W. 400 North, Orem.
- DEAR RUTH, Norman Krasna's popular 1940s World War II romantic comedy, will be presented on Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., from Friday, Sept. 28, through Oct. 27, with one Saturday matinee on Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m.
Artistic Director Soni Barrus' cast includes Lise Marie Prince as Ruth and Marisa Black as her manipulative younger sister, Miriam (who corresponds with lonely servicemen - signing her older sister's name); Brad Noble as Lt. William Seawright, the lovesick soldier who shows up on Ruth's doorstep - under the mistaken impression she's going to marry him; Ralph Chertkow and Peggy Sherlock as Ruth and Miriam's parents, and Barry Carter as Albert, Ruth's perplexed fiance.
Also in the cast are Andrew Varga, Greg Baer and Celia Bennett.
All seats are $4, except for Mondays, when there is a family rate of $15 for all members of the immediate family, or $3 each for youths of high school age or younger. Reservations are suggested. Call 257-7330.
- HOTEL FRANKENSTEIN, a "monstrous" comedy by Michael Goodman of Salt Lake City, is back for its annual Halloween season run at the Valley Center Playhouse, 780 N. 200 East, Lindon.
Jody Renstrom is directing the family comedy, which contains nearly every famous monster you can think of.
It will open on Friday, Sept. 28, then continue on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 29.
Tickets are $5 for regular admission, $4 for students, senior citizens and children, or $20 per immediate family. Group rates (20 or more) and fund-raisers are also available. For reservations, call 224-5310.
- TIME OF THE PROPHETS, a new production illuminating the lives of both Old and New World prophets, will be presented in an outdoor dinner-theater setting on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Anasazi Valley near St. George.
Director Ronald Grow said the deadline for reservations is Tuesday, Sept. 25 (call 628-5834).
Dinner will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the live drama.
Artist-author Shela Dean Wilson has also designed and constructed authentic costumes for the production.
Members of the cast are Carson Tait as Jesus Christ; Paul Robbins, Mormon; Jay Beacham, Moroni; Don Duncanson, Peter; Norman Lister, Moses; Charles Manuele, Samuel; Tom Durrant Jr., Nephi; Walter Farr, Elijah, and Don and Dawna Kenworthy as Abraham and Sarai.
"Many hours of hard labor by dedicated volunteers have gone into clearing the pathways, preparing way-stations, planting, burying electrical cables and installing sound and lighting for this unusual and dramatic experience," said Grow, who studied at the Stella Adler School of Drama in New York City.