Four comedies, a dramatic French work and a children's adventure are scheduled to open during the week of Jan. 6-12.
- A PENNY FOR A SONG, at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, is the Utah premiere of a highly acclaimed 1962 version of John Whiting's 1951 comedy focusing on the antics of an eccentric 19th century British family preparing for the invasion of Napoleon.Director Charles Morey, who is also Pioneer Theatre Company artistic director, says, "It is something of a mystery to me why `A Penny for a Song' has never become standard in the repertoire of American theater companies. It is a very funny, highly intelligent and ultimately moving piece of theater."
The show, with such favorites as Max Robinson, Susan Floyd (who drew raves with her moving portrayal of "Saint Joan" last season), Robert Peterson, Anne Stewart Mark, Bob Kirsh ("The Miser" and "Dracula" this season), and Sam Stewart (the "Arkansas-singing Fool" in last season's "Big River," among others) are in the cast, along with Warren Kelley, Samual Maupin, Richard Mathews, Louis Schaefer, Aaron Nelson and Andrew Barlow West.
The comedy opens Wednesday, Jan. 9, and continues Mondays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Jan. 26, with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on Jan. 12, 19 and 26. Regular admission ranges from $8 to $15 for Saturday matinees, $11 to $18 on weekday evenings and $12.50 to $20 on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a variety of discounts for students.
For reservations, call 581-6961.
The play will be performed on the Lees Main Stage of the Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1340 East.
- TENT MEETING, a dark comedy and an intense examination of an extremely dysfunctional family, will be presented Jan. 10-27 by TheatreWorks West in Walker Hall at Westminster College, 1840 S. 1300 East.
The three-character comedy-drama focuses on a Bible-thumping traveling evangelist, the Rev. Edward O. Tarbox, and his adult son and daughter, Darrell and Becky Ann, both of whom are trapped in their father's fundamentalist obsession.
Rev. Ed strongly believes that his daughter's severely deformed infant is actually Jesus Christ in the second coming. After kidnapping the child from a hospital, the family takes off in their house trailer on a journey from Arkansas to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Debora Threedy, director, said what she likes best about "Tent Meeting" is that it takes a skewed look at the dark side of life. You wonder what you're laughing at."
None of the characters, played by Raymond Hoskins, Jeff Owen and Rebecca Folsom, are "normal." The Rev. Ed is an Elmer Gantry-type of preacher, obsessed by delusions of grandeur. He's convinced that God is speaking to him via the United States mail. Darrell has his own emotional problems, and Becky Ann, who spends much of the time humming loudly with cotton in her ears, isn't quite all there.
Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays and 7 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 10-27. Tickets are $9 on Thursdays and Sundays and $10 on Fridays and Saturdays, with discounts for students and senior citizens. For reservations, call 583-6520.
- THE SALLY KATHLEEN CLAIM, ORE ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD, first presented during the summer of 1989 as an outdoor production at Pioneer Trails State Park, is being revived by Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State, Murray, where it will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7 p.m., Jan. 11 through March 9.
The musical melodrama, directed by Jansen Davis, pits a silver-tongued villain and his scheming cohorts vs. an old Irish prospector and his beautiful daughter.
The cast includes Gary Winterholler, Eric Jensen, Ginger Bunnell, Harlin Jones, Melissa Bridge, Alison Henriksen, Jesse Greathouse and Scott Holman. Musical direction is by Val David Smithson.
Admission to the cabaret-style entertainment is $6 for adults and $4 for children. For reservations, call the box office at 266-7600, daily except Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m.
- L'ANNOUNCE FAIT A MARIE (TIDINGS BROUGHT TO MARY), derived by French playwright Paul Claudel from a book on German mystics about a 15th-century woman who revives her sister's dead infant, will be presented on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lab Theatre on the University of Utah campus.
The evening's program is being cosponsored by the department of theater and the department of languages and literature in conjunction with an international gathering of the Paul Claudel Society.
A videotape of selected scenes from a recent Belgian stage production will be screened, along with a live presentation of scenes in English, followed by a roundtable discussion.
In attendance will be Father Boly, president of the Paul Claudel Society of Belgium, and Frederic Dussenne, who directed the recent production of the play in Brussels.
The program should be of interest to French language students throughout the valley.
- ROBIN HOOD, an adventure-filled tale about the legendary Saxon archer who fights for the freedom and rights of the downtrodden in Nottingham forest, will be presented for 19 performances from Jan. 12 through March 1 on City Rep's upstairs Jester Stage at the Utah Theatre, 148 S. Main.
Director Joanne M. Parker's cast includes Stuart N. Mitchell in the title role, with Emily Timms as Maid Marian, Cliff Cole as the evil Prince John and Michael Hohl as the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 18 and 28, Feb. 1, 9, 11, 15, 23 and 25 and March 1, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Jan. 19 and 26 and Feb. 16. Five daytime school performances have also been scheduled during the run.
Tickets are $6.50 for adults and $4.75 for children. For reservations, call 532-6000.
- THE CURIOUS SAVAGE, with Beverly Olsen as the feisty Ethel Savage, a wealthy matron bent on giving away her fortune instead of meekly handing it over to her greedy step-children, will be presented Jan. 11 through March 4 at the new Pages Lane Theater, 292 Pages Lane, Centerville.
Olsen also directed the comedy. Her cast includes Susan S. Jenkins, Debbie Zeis, Kenneth R. Bills, Tami Sylvester, David Len Allen, Ronny B. Hyer, Virginia Baker, Gordon Johnson, Bob Walkingshaw, Kirk Monson, Dee Ann Blair, Pam Evans and Bo Jim Lang.
Performances will be Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 3:30 p.m. For reservations, call 298-1302.
- Compiled by Ivan M. Lincoln, Deseret News theater editor, 237-2150.