It's "Tightwad Week" in Greater Salt Lake.
Two Scrooges and one 17th century French miser will be appearing on stages in Centerville and Salt Lake City this week, adding to the already overloaded "A Christmas Carol" calendar.Or, if you're already Scrooged out, then you can have yourself a merry little "Rented Christmas" at two other theaters or take in "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" or "The Gift of the Magi."
Six of the seven plays listed here have Christmas themes (and you could maybe toss in "Annie," since there is a Christmas party at the end). See related story on the facing page for details on the other four productions.
- "THE MISER" is Pioneer Theatre Company's production of Moliere's classic about the escapades of Harpagon, an old man with a serious heart problem.
He doesn't have one.
While this doesn't qualify as an authentic "Christmas season" play, PTC is touting the central character as scroogier-than-Scrooge.
Director Tom Markus' cast includes veteran PTC actor Richard Ma-thews in the title role of the greedy skinflint, with Bob Kirsh, Bernadette Wilson and Melody Combs in leading roles.
Local Equity actors are Robert Peterson and Frank Gerrish, with Warren Kelley, John Patrick Rice and Joan Rosenfels coming to Salt Lake City from the East Coast.
Others in the cast are Tom Jacobsen, Robert Ormsby, Michael Behrens, Andee Mason, Holly Claspill, David Wisshack and Trevor H. Olsen.
"The Miser" will play on the Lees Main Stage of Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah campus on Mondays through Fridays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. from Dec. 5 through Dec. 22. Call 581-6961 for reservations.
- "SCROOGE," the musical version of "A Christmas Carol," featuring Michael Jesse Bennett in the title role, will be presented by the Salt Lake Community Arts Center at Salt Lake Community College, 4600 S. Redwood Road.
Pat Davis is directing the show in the intimate Little Theatre of the Calvin S. Rampton Technology Building.
It should be noted that Bennett will not be performing his popular "Evening With Charles Dickens" one-man show in the Salt Lake area this season, but his insight into the Dickens classic will probably lend a realistic touch to his performance in "Scrooge."
Also in the cast are David Jewkes, Scott Morgan, Galen Chatterton, Scott Allen, Layne Willden, Michelle Gant and Kristen Barrow.
Designer Clif A. Davis and scenic artist J. Chad Davis have created a set depicting Cheapside, England, that nearly surrounds the audience.
Assisting with the show are Robert Stevens, musical director; Lisa Arbon, choreographer, and Diane Allen, costumes.
Performances are 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, Dec. 7-22, with a matinee on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m.
Admission is $8 each, and all seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance from the SLCC cashier's office, Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
For further information, call 967-4241.
- "SCROOGE," starring Ralph G. Rodgers Jr. as the old curmudgeon, will also be presented at the new Pages Lane Theater in Centerville.
Performances are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays, at 8 p.m., Dec. 3-22, with Saturday matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 22.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for children on weekday evenings and Saturday matinees, and $8 for adults and $5 for children on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The theater's premiere production of "Cheaper by the Dozen" will resume Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 4-7, after which "The Curious Savage" will open Jan. 11, to be followed by "Little Women," "The Ransom of Red Chief," "The Solid Gold Cadillac" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
For reservations or further information, call 298-1302.
- "THE RENTED CHRISTMAS" will be presented by the Pleasant Green Civic Theatre troupe at the Magna Recreation Center, 2941 S. 9150 West.
Sharee Hughes is directing the heartwarming comedy about a lonely bachelor who decides to rent a family for Christmas. Her cast includes Terry Spencer, Denise Matson, Justin Utley, Corky Edgar, Christy Morris, Carina Kuesterman, Casey LeMay, Andy and Danny Dixon, Doris Spencer and Bryan Holladay.
Performances will be Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 7-8 and 14-15, and Monday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $3 at the door.
- "THE RENTED CHRISTMAS" will also be staged in the new Activity Barn at Wheeler Historic Farm, 6351 S. 900 East, as part of the farm's annual "Celebration of Christmas" entertainment.
The play, directed by Glen Slight, features the talents of Terrell Blackburn, Jill Tucker, Bryan Gardner and Geri Davis.
Performances will be 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. nightly, Mondays through Saturdays, Dec. 7-22.
Other activities at the farm include caroling in a horse-drawn wagon, with stops to see Frosty the Snowman, Santa's Workshop, the warmth of Grandmother's House and the traditional "living nativity" scene.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children (or $4.50 and $3.50 for admission to only the grounds). Discounts of $1 are available at all Sinclair gas stations. For further information, call 264-2241.
- "THE GIFT OF THE MAGI," a new musical version of the O'Henry holiday classic, will be presented by Bountiful Community Theatre from Dec. 7 through 20 in the Little Theatre of Bountiful High School, with Dennis Ferrin directing.
Jonathan Stowers and Debbie Winegar play Jim and Della, a young married couple who can't afford Christmas gifts for each other, and demonstrate the true meaning of the Christmas spirit.
A local performing group, Fanfare, will sing both new and traditional Christmas carols before, during and after the show.
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, Tuesday, Dec. 11, Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 13-15; Tuesday, Dec. 18, and Thursday, Dec. 20, with matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15.
Admission is $4 for adults or $15 per immediate family, with tickets available at the door.
- "THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER" will be presented twice in the next few days - once in a casual "preview" performance on Dec. 8 at the Winner School, and then on Dec. 13 at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus.
Ron Burnett of the Intermountain Actors' Ensemble and the Park City Shakespeare Festival is directing.
The first performance, on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m., will be staged in an "in-the-round" setting at the private Winner School, 6120 S. 1075 East. Seating is limited and all tickets are $3.
For the Kingsbury Hall performance at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, the program will include both the one-act "Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and a presentation of "The Little Match Girl," featuring the school's dance students.
Admission for this performance will be $5 per person with tickets available at the door.