The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, "Driving Miss Daisy," the regional premiere of "Daddy's Dyin' . . . Who's Got the Will?" (guest-directed by Ed Gryska), the opening of a new children's theater company (see separate story on the facing page), and several other productions along the Wasatch Front and beyond should provide plenty of possibilities for Utah theatergoers this week.
Events during the week, and other local theater items, include:- "DRIVING MISS DAISY" is a Pioneer Theatre Company production of the gentle three-character comedy-drama. It opens Wednesday, Feb. 13, and continues on Mondays through Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. on the Lees Main Stage of Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah campus, 300 S. at 1340 East (Broadway at University).
Director Dan Bonnell's cast members are Anne Shropshire, Herb Lovelle and Samuel Maupin.
For tickets, call the Pioneer Memorial Theatre box office at 581-6961.
- "DADDY'S DYIN' . . . WHO'S GOT THE WILL?" is the regional premiere of a highly acclaimed comedy about a family gathering in a small Texas town after their father suffers a physically and mentally disabling - and possibly even fatal - stroke.
The play, by Del Shores, is being guest-directed by Ed Gryska, founder and producing artistic director of Salt Lake Acting Company.
Gryska says "Daddy's Dyin' " is not a black comedy but a poignant and humorous play in the same vein as "The Foreigner" and "Steel Magnolias."
"The characters are clever and the script is funny, but there is also a very real message underlying all the humor," he said.
For his cast, Gryska has drawn on the talent pool from both Salt Lake City and Park City.
The action revolves around the Turnover family home in Lowake, Texas, during a five-day span in the summer of 1986. Buford "Daddy" Turnover, 67, is partially paralyzed by a stroke.
Three daughters, a son and other kinfolk come to the house for the first time together in years. This collection of relatives includes Sara Lee Turnover, 36 (single and still living at home); Lurlene Turnover Rogers, 42, the oldest sister (married to a preacher); Evalita Turnover, 35, married six times (and accompanied by her latest fiance, Harmony Rhodes, a musician with a past); and Orville Turnover, 38, the women's fat and abusive brother, a redneck trash collector.
Also joining them are Mama Wheelis, 80, their feisty grandmother, and Marlene, Orville's wife.
Gryska's cast is Frank M. Bell as Buford; Jayceen Craven, Lurlene; Richard Scott, Orville; JaNae Gibbs, Marlene; Betsy Nagle, Sara Lee; Donna Todd, Mama Wheelis; Margo Prey, Evalita; and Stephen Fletcher as Harmony Rhodes.
"This play is touching one moment and has you laughing the next," said Gryska. "It shows how these people relate to each other. In the middle of the laughter there are sudden `moments of truth' when the honesty comes through.
"It's a great cast to work with. Everyone's doing their work, and there are no ego problems. It's very much an ensemble show."
Gryska said "Daddy's Dyin' . . . Who's Got the Will?" will make a great evening for an escape to Park City for dinner and a show.
Rafael Colon Castanera, PCP's artistic director, is in charge of the costume and scenery designs, with lighting by Kiyono Oshiro.
The play opens Friday, Feb. 15, then continues on Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through March 30 in the historic Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City. For reservations and ticket information, call 649-9371.
- WHEN "THE WIZ" plays in Brigham Young University's de Jong Concert Hall (Feb. 13-23), it will feature one of the school's most energetic and talented performers - Lita Little - in the role of Dorothy.
No stranger to the BYU stages, Little is a three-year veteran of the popular Young Ambassadors and has appeared in local productions of "Tintypes," "Celebrating the Light," "Saturday's Warrior" and "Starchild."
Both Little and director Charles Whitman are particularly enthusiastic about the musical's message. "I believe so strongly in the things it says, about love and courage and believing in yourself," says Little. "It has already taught me a lot."
Adds Whitman, "The essence of the show is that you've got to believe in yourself. You have the power within you."
Audience members seeing "The Wiz" for the first time may have a few surprises. It's "The Wizard of Oz" told from a little different perspective, according to Whitman. "It's more upbeat, more musical, and the music is livelier, less nostalgic but still has that incredible message."
Other lead roles include Charles B. Oliver as the Scarecrow, Dave Tinney as the Tin Man, James Conlee as the Cowardly Lion, Kristi Monson as Aunt Em and Glinda the good witch, Marcie Jacobsen as Evillene, and Daniel Law as the Wiz.
The musical opens Wednesday, Feb. 13, after which it will continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Feb. 23 with a matinee at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. The de Jong Concert Hall is located in the Harris Fine Arts Center.
Tickets are $8 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for children and BYU students, faculty or staff. They're are available at the BYU drama ticket office, 378-3875.
- A SECOND POSTPLAY DISCUSSION has been scheduled at the Art Barn for Aden Ross' "Ladies' Room" following tonight's 7 p.m. performance.
Sunday evening marks the final performance for the play, being presented by Dance Theatre Coalition. The comedy is about an assortment of women who meet and become involved in a variety of situations in a women's powder room at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The Art Barn is at 54 Finch Lane in Reservoir Park (between South Temple and First South, just below University Street).
- "I'LL REMEMBER YOU" is a new romantic comedy by Ruth and Nathan Hale with an unusual setting - a home in Austria where a young girl is preparing to launch her career as a classical violinist. The girl and her stern father are inundated by a houseful of unexpected guests, with unexpected results.
The cast is headed by Krista Hales, a native Californian who has been playing the violin since the age of 4. She recently played the same role in California.
Others in the cast are Cody Hale, returning to the stage after an absence of 15 years; Joel A. Osborne, Renae Powell, Vonda Skousen, Ulla Septon, Maureen Eastwood, Marsha Stum, Brent Jorgenson, Sara Hale, Judy Cook, Tanya Radebaugh and Dianne Shepherd.
The show opens Friday, Feb. 15, then continues Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through April 8, with the exception of March 29, when that evening's performance begins at 6 p.m. Admission is $4 on Mondays and $5 on Fridays and Saturdays for adults. Children are admitted for $4 at all performances. Groups of 25 or more qualify for a 50 percent discount if seating is booked within the first three weeks of a show's run. For reservations, call 226-8600.
- "1776," the award-winning musical about the founding of American independence, will be presented Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 12-16, at 8 p.m. in the Graff Fine Arts Theatre of Dixie College.
C. Paul Andersen is directing.
Tickets are available at the fine arts center box office.
- JENNIFER O'HALEY, a popular City Rep performer, will present an encore evening of songs from Broadway and Hollywood along with other favorite tunes on Valentine's Day - Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. on City Rep's downstairs Court Stage of the Utah Theatre, 148 S. Main St.
The program will include "I Got Rhythm," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" and "Georgia on My Mind."
Performing with O'Haley will be Duane Stephens and David Glaittli, who both have extensive City Rep experience, with Ken Plain, pianist; Greg Floor, saxophonist; Rick Kline, bass; and Tim Taylor, drums.
Admission is $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for children 16 and under. All seats are reserved. For tickets, call the City Rep box office at 532-6000.
- SALT LAKE ACTING COMPANY has announced that tickets are now available to the general public for its new summer season presentation of "Saturday's Voyeur," scheduled to run from July 16 through Sept. 15.
And what has traditionally been the hottest show in town will be a little cooler this year - with a new air conditioning system being installed at the company's historic Marmalade Hill Center.
The 63-performance run will include a special Pioneer Day benefit performance on July 24.
For ticket information, contact the SLAC box office, weekdays from noon to 6 p.m., at 363-0525.
SLAC is also planning its annual Casino Night fund-raiser, being held on Feb. 23 from 7:30 p.m. until midnight. Games, food and a silent auction are among the activities planned for the black-tie invited event.
Suggested donation is $25. All proceeds from the event benefit SLAC. For further information or tickets, call SLAC's box office at 363-0525.