Two Broadway musicals (one of them a "direct-from-New York" touring production), a Broadway comedy, an off-Broadway musical and a drama are among the theater openings this week along the Wasatch Front.
Two shows - "Waiting for the Parade" and "No Time for Sergeants" - have war themes. The first is from the dramatic perspective of women left waiting on the home front, and the other focuses on the hilarious antics of a country bumpkin coping with the abrupt change from his home in the Georgia backwoods to Air Force basic training.Both of these shows were chosen as local theater proj-ects before the Persian Gulf situation had escalated into Desert Storm.
Plays, play dates and other items in the Utah theater community include:
- "NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS," Feb. 21-April 15 at the Hale Center Theater, 2801 S. Main, South Salt Lake.
Arguably this comedy's No. 1 claim to fame is that it marked the professional acting debut for Andy Griffith, still busy today as NBC's popular "Matlock."
"No Time for Sergeants," adapted by playwright Ira Levin from Mac Hyman's best-selling novel, was an instant hit when it opened on Broadway in the fall of 1955. It ran for nearly two years and shot Griffith into overnight stardom.
Co-directing the HCT version are John and Tamara Adams.
Although the Mideast deserts were not a battleground when "Sergeants" was first selected for HCT's 1990-91 season, the Adamses and the theater are dedicating this production to the first Utah casualty of the Persian Gulf war - Dion James Stephenson and his family.
Ruth Hale, co-owner of the theater, remembers that during World War II, numerous movies and plays were written and produced as "tension relievers" for civilians and G.I.'s alike. "We hope that this comedy about peacetime military life will do likewise," she said.
All roles in the production are double-cast, with Mike Westenskow and Will Swenson as Pvt. Will Stockdale, Ron Johnson and Steven Patrick Sater as Sgt. King, and Kevin B. Cottam and Kolby Blackham as Ben Whitledge, Will's best buddy.
Rick Springer and John Lesko portray Capt. Charles (the man who loves a clean latrine!), with Jim Thorderson and Ron A. Jewett as the flustered psychiatrist.
Others in the cast are Betty Utley and DeeAnn Blair as Rosabelle, the only woman in the cast, and Leo Ware, Gordon Johnson, Jack E. Huff, John Gilbert, Scott Woodmansee, R. Scott Wood, John Paul, Don Bright, Charles Bates, Stephen C. Miner, Bob Chambers, Bob Swenson, Gordon Summers, Will Lower, Philip A. Mitchell, Karl Biesinger and Mike Williams.
"No Time for Sergeants" will open Thursday, Feb. 21, continuing Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. through April 15, with additional Saturday matinees at 3:30 p.m. on March 9, 16, 23 and 30 and at noon and 3:30 p.m. on April 13. Admission is $5 on Mondays, $6 on Tuesdays-Thursdays and Saturday matinees and $8 for adults on weekends. Children are admitted for $5 on weeknights and matinees, and $6 on weekends.
Reservations are suggested. For tickets, contact the box office at 484-9257.
- "WAITING FOR THE PARADE," is a Canadian drama written in 1980 by John Murrell. It's being staged in the Lab Theatre of the University of Utah as part of student Mark Adams' directing project.
It's about war and how it affects five women left behind when their spouses and companions go off to battle. Each woman faces a different issue, a different problem, and each deals with her individual problem in a different way, but their problems all stem from the same source - a battle many miles away that they are forced to adapt to because they cannot change it.
Adams feels that "Waiting for the Parade" demonstrates that a drama that is local and significant often has the capacity to reach out beyond its immediate environment and touch an audience.
The cast includes Lisa Reynolds, M. Candace Christensen, Pattie Johnson, Rene Hemrick and Jennifer Buckalew.
Performances are Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 21-23, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., and a matinee on Friday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. Reservations: 581-6961. Tickets are also available at the door. Seating in the Lab is limited. Advance reservations are suggested. The Lab Theatre is in the U.'s Performing Arts Building, adjacent to the campus book-store.
- "HAIR," the controversial musical that raised both eyebrows and social consciousness during the late 1960s, also has a military connection. It was inspired by the antiwar movement that grew out of the Vietnam conflict.
A New York-based company is making a one-night stopover in Salt Lake City as part of a national "20th anniversary tour." For those who have the show's original off-Broadway and Broadway dates forever etched in their minds, this latest tour marks the anniversary of the rock musical's original cross-country tour, although the show has probably lost some of it's bite during the past two decades.
The cast list is probably unfamiliar to most Salt Lakers, but the choreographer - Patti d'Beck - is well known around these parts. She has directed and choreographed several shows for Pioneer Memorial Theatre, including "A Chorus Line."
In some circles, "Hair" is considered somewhat of a period piece now that we're in the Nineties.
But the controversy is still there. Just a couple of weeks ago, when the show played in Wichita, Kan., two performers were arrested for nudity, citing that city's strict nude dancing ordinance. The two were scheduled to appear in court the day before the show arrives in Salt Lake City, but, according to a publicist for the production, the legal problems have been worked out and the Kingsbury Hall performance is still scheduled for Thursday evening.
"Hair" will be presented for one performance only at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus, on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. All seats are reserved, either at the Kingsbury Hall box office or all Smith'sTix outlets. Call 581-7100 or 467-5996 for further information.
- "MAN OF LA MANCHA," features the talents of two professional guest stars for a five-night run in the Austad Auditorium of the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts at Weber State University, Ogden.
Kristen Hurst-Hyde, of Salt Lake City, will portray Aldonza/Dulcinea, with Randolph Messing, a lyric baritone from Binghamton, N.Y., in the dual role of Don Quixote and his creator, 17th century Spanish novelist Cervantes.
Hurst-Hyde, an Ogden native and former WSU student, has performed the role of Aldonza more than 100 times in six different productions. She studied opera at the Juilliard School in New York City and has performed with a variety of theater and opera companies, including the prestigious Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn.; Pioneer Theatre Company and Utah Opera. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and 4-year-old daughter.
Messing has performed major roles in more than 30 operas and with 16 companies, mostly in the northeast and the East Coast. He has also performed in concerts and a number of theater/operetta productions, ranging from "Carousel" to "West Side Story."
L.L. West is directing the production, with Ronald L. Wooden as musical director.
Dustin Brown portrays Sancho Panza, Quixote's doltish servant who becomes his squire and loyal right hand, and Rock White has the role of the gruff innkeeper.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly, Tuesday-Saturday, Feb. 19-23.
All seats are reserved. Admission: $7 for adults and $3.50 for students and senior citizens. For reservations, call 626-8500.
- "THE FANTASTICKS," the longest-running musical in the history of the American theater, will be performed at Utah Valley Community College Feb. 21-23 and 25-26. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
The original off-Broadway production has been running continuously in New York City since 1960.
Kim I. Brewster, an instructor of humanities, theater and speech at UVCC, is directing the play. The small cast is made up of veteran actors and singers from the college and the community, including Steven Briggs as El Gallo/Narrator; Star Hall as Matt, and Meredith Johnston as Louisa. T.J. Brewster, Mike Robinson and Dennis Hess are also in the cast.
A dinner theater will be performed Thursday, Feb. 21. Tickets for this show need to be reserved in advance and as early as possible, as past shows have sold out. Tickets for this performance are $5 for students and $10 for non-students.
Non-dinner performances will be on Feb. 22, 23, 25 and 26. Tickets for these shows are $3 for students and $4 for non-students. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door the night of the show.
For reservations, call 222-8000 (Ext. 612 or 613).
- "THE MANY FLUORESCENT BRAIN CELLS OF MISS WANDA JEAN PATSY," an original comedy, is being staged by The Proscenium Players, a Layton community theater company, for four performances in the Layton High School Little Theatre.
Christopher Strong, a Davis County playwright and director, is directing the show from his own script. The plot revolves around three telepaths who live together and the bizarre things that happen to them.
Playdates are Thursday-Saturday and Monday, Feb. 21-23 and 25, in the Layton High School Little Theatre. Curtain is 8 p.m. nightly. Admission is $3 per person. For tickets or information, call 544-7051 or 544-0178.
- THE UTAH SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL is drumming up interest in the Las Vegas area with a production of "Nothing Like the Sun," an original work commissioned especially for the festival for it's 1989 season.
Well-known actor and veteran festival performer Patrick Page will reprise the role of Ben Jonson, a contemporary of William Shakespeare's, in the one-man show. The play will be directed by Festival Managing Director R. Scott Phillips, who directed the original production as well.
Performances will be Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 21-24, in the Judy Bayley Theatre at the University of Nevada/Las Vegas. Curtain is 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday (Pacific Standard Time). Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Phillips notes that it's fitting that "Nothing Like the Sun" is being presented, since one of Jonson's plays, "Volpone," will be mounted as part of the 1991 season in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre on the campus of Southern Utah University, Cedar City.
"It is a play from the Shakespearean era, written by Shakespeare's greatest contemporary rival," he said.
- AN ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE of City Rep's "Robin Hood" has been added for Monday evening, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
"The show has been enormously popular, especially with school-age children," according to City Rep Artistic Director Joanne M. Parker.
Remaining performances, including the added date, are Feb. 18, 23, 25 and 28 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or information, call the City Rep box office at 532-6000.