Productions opening around Utah this week include the regional premiere of a comedy-drama by Lee Blessing (separate story above), the re-enactment of debates between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton at several Wasatch Front sites, a multidiscipline performance at the Another Language Performance Studio, performances of four one-act plays by Southern Utah University theater students in Parowan, and a production of "Side By Side By Sondheim" in Logan.
- THE BILL OF RIGHTS BICENTENNIAL will be celebrated this week with performances by visiting scholar/actors Clay Jenkinson and Don Hickey on Jan. 23, 24 and 25 in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo.Performed in costume, the debates promise to be volatile and provocative as well as educational and entertaining. Hamilton champions a strong central government while Jefferson believes in more autonomy for the individual.
All debates will be free of charge and open to the general public.
They're scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. at Weber County Library in Ogden; Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. in the J.C. Penney court area of University Mall in Orem, and Friday, Jan. 25, during the morning for the Utah State Legislature and at 7 p.m. in the Salt Lake County Commission chambers.
Presentations by either Jefferson or Hamilton, but not both, are also scheduled at the following locations:
- Wednesday: Midvale Senior Center, 10:30 a.m.; Box Elder High School, Brigham City, 10:30 a.m.; Golden Years Senior Center, 726 S. 100 East, Bountiful, 12:30 p.m.
- Thursday: Wasatch County High School, Heber City, 9 a.m.; Lehi High School, 10 a.m.; Juab High School, Ne-phi, 1 p.m.; and Payson High School, 1:35 p.m.
- Friday: Sunday Anderson West-side Senior Center, 868 W. 900 South, 12:45 p.m., and possibly one other location to be announced.
The Salt Lake debates are co-sponsored by the Salt Lake League of Women Voters and the Women's Legislative Council.
- THE ARTISTS' EXCHANGE will present a multidiscipline event Sunday, Jan. 27, at 11 a.m. at the Another Language Performance Studio, 345 Pierpont Ave.
Billed as a testing ground for works by local artists, the program will
feature visual artist Jim Pierce,
dancer/choreographers Linda Stuart, Larry Hines and Beth Miklavcic; photographer Maggie Howieson and poet Seve Preston. There will also be refreshments provided by the Sun Bun Cafe.
Admission is $5 per person. For further information, call 359-8144.
- TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY of the musical revue "Side by Side by Sondheim" will be presented at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan. The performances, on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, at 8 p.m., support fund-raising efforts by the Theatre Club in the department of theater arts at Utah State University.
Tickets for the benefit performances are available at the USU Ticket Office in the Smith Spectrum, the Booktable in downtown Logan and the Lyric box office performance evenings. Adult tickets are $4 and USU students and youth (under 12) will be admitted for $3.
"Side by Side by Sondheim" is directed by faculty member Gary R. Bird. The production is part of a proj-ect sponsored by USU's Alumni Association. Plans include touring with the production to alumni chapters in Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah.
"The Alumni Association received requests to take some kind of entertainment to alumni chapters around the region," Bird said. "They approached me with the idea and I knew that some kind of musical revue would be appropriate."
With that in mind, Bird began casting and rehearsing "Side by Side." He picked the Sondheim work because "of all the music revue forms, I think Sondheim's work has the most substance."
In the broadest definition, a musical revue is a work in which music is prominent, and there is little or no dialogue, Bird said. "Side by Side" is a series of songs with narration connecting them, Bird continued.
The theme is the composer - all songs in "Side by Side" are from other Sondheim musicals. Some will be familiar to audience members, even if people are unfamiliar with the composer.
Selections include numbers from well-known shows like "West Side Story," "Gypsy," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and other contemporary Sondheim works like "Company," "Sweeney Todd," "Into the Woods" and "Merrily We Roll Along."
Cast members for "Side by Side" include Laurie Bean, John D. Mauldin, Linda K. Mugleston and David K. Wright. W. Reed Wagstaff is accompanist.
"The cast includes four of the strongest voices on campus," Bird said. "The work is musically fascinating and audiences should enjoy it."
Joining the cast for the Logan performances only is former USU student Brad Whitaker, now a resident of New York. He joins the cast for several numbers and appears in the coming Utah State Theatre production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," also directed by Bird.
According to USU Theatre Club president Randy Mugleston, proceeds from the two Logan performances support expenses for nine students traveling to the Festivention regional theatre conference and auditions in Helena, Mont. Proceeds also support future trips planned for University Resident Theatre Association auditions in California.
- STUDENT-DIRECTING PROJ-ECTS from the theater department at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, will be performed on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, at the Parowan Community Theatre.
The four one-act plays will be "Charlie the Chicken," a witty social commentary, directed by Willy Sax-ton; "The Actor's Nightmare," a comedy with serious moments, directed by Robert Bogue; "The Chinamen," a comedy about an average couple's experience with an "average" dinner party, directed by Kwin Peterson, and "Into the Flying Pan," an absurdist look at the nuclear age, directed by Russ Benton.
R. Scott Phillips, Utah Shakespearean Festival managing director and theater faculty member, said the plays will also be staged in Kanab in April.
Performances in Parowan will be at 8 p.m. both nights with general admission set at $2. For further information contact the Parowan Community Theatre at 477-8732.