Four productions are opening on regional stages this week, including "White Money" at Salt Lake Acting Company (see today's Arts & Entertainment Section cover story), "Gangsters Away, or The Fighting `G' Man" at Desert Star Playhouse, Murray, and the family classic, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" at City Rep.
- "GANGSTERS AWAY OR THE FIGHTING `G' MAN" is an action-filled musical melodrama written by Peter VanSlyke, who also authored such Desert Star Playhouse hits as "The Sheik," "The Sword of Zorro or From Z to Shining Z" and "The Vampire or She Loved in Vein."Jansen Davis is directing "Gangsters Away," with musical direction by the playhouse's new pianist Susan Talmage.
The cast includes such Desert Star regulars as putty-faced Gary Winterholler as hero Frank Mills and Brad Charon (last seen as Ben Gunn in "Treasure Island") as Pops McHardee, Frank's mentor and friend; Scott Holman as Knuckles, the knuckleheaded villain's sidekick and Alisa Harris as Vi Casewell, the epitome of a purple-haired villainess.
Newcomer Norman Plate will portray Spats Moran, the gangster of all small-time gangsters, with Bret Bradford as Johnny, a tall, dark and handsome "kid" who is full of surprises. Others in the cast are Melissa Bridge as Cheri, a 1930s nightclub showgirl, and Alison Henriksen as Maggie, Pops McHardee's innocent yet confident daughter.
The olio acts during the run of "Gangsters Away" will be a 1930s Big Band theme, spotlighting the musical, dance and comedic talents of the performers.
"Gangsters Away" features a bank robbery, silent jail breaks, police chases through the back streets and alleys of Chicago and plenty of Dick Tracy-style action.
Admission is $6 for adults or $4 for children 12 and under. Playdates are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7 p.m. from March 15 through May 11. Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State St., Murray, has cabaret-style seating and serves freshly baked pizza, fountain drinks, ice cream treats and free popcorn.
For reservations, call 266-7600.
- "THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE," the first and most famous of C.S. Lewis' "Narnia Chronicles" saga, will open a 15-performance run on Friday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. on the Jester Stage (upstairs) at City Rep, 148 S. Main.
First staged by City Rep two seasons ago, Artistic Director Joanne M. Parker said the show has been requested repeatedly by patrons.
Parker is directing the family play with Cliff Cole and Cheryl Ann Cluff again portraying Aslan and the White Witch.
Others in the cast are Stuart Mitchell as both Mr. Tumnus and Fenris Ulf (captain of the White Witch's secret police), with Meryl Lyn Dover, Jensen Rapp, Rosi Hayes and Brad Skinner as Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, respectively.
Also in the cast are Vincent C. Hall, Charlie English and Kurt Farmer.
The adventure-packed tale takes audiences into the enchanted world of Narnia, a land filled with both good and evil animals and creatures.
Lewis was a renowned British scholar who converted to Christianity. He wrote novels, theological treatises, essays, science-fiction and children's stories. His writings often reflect Christian ideas in unusual settings.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on March 15, 23, 25 and 29, April 6, 12, 20,22 and 26, and May 4 and 6. Saturday matinees will be at 2 p.m. on March 16 and 30, and April 13 and 27.
Four day-time performances especially for school groups have also been scheduled during the run of the show.
The fantasy will play in repertory with "Robin Hood," which has been extended for three performances on the Jester Stage.
Both of these shows will alternate with "The Sound of Music," opening April 5 on the main floor Court Stage.
Admission for "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is $6.50 for adults and $4.75 for children 16 and under. For reservations, call 532-6000.
- "VINCENT," a full-length, two-character play by Leonard Nimoy about painter Vincent van Gogh and his brother, Theo, will be presented on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 12-13, at 8 p.m. in the Auditorium Theatre at Southern Utah University, Cedar City.
The production is being presented by the school's Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery.
The audience will be seated on the stage itself for an intimate performance that will include slides in the background as a visual reference to paintings discussed in the script.
Both roles in the piece will be played by Michael Ross Clements, who recently appeared in SUU's production of "The School for Wives." The play is being directed by Jesse Berger.
Seating is limited to 120. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for students or members of the Friends of the Gallery. Proceeds will be used to support gallery programs. For reservations or additional information, call the gallery at 586-5432.
- CITY REP HAS ANNOUNCED that its popular Sunday evening production of the non-denominatonal New Testament drama, "The Prince of Peace," has been extended for six additional performances through mid-June.
Scheduled dates are April 7 and 21, May 5 and 19 and June 2 and 16.
Admission is free, with reserved and preferential seating available for $1 per ticket for those who prefer reserved seats. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the unreserved, first-come/first-served seating.
Babes in arms are not admitted. The production is not recommended for children under the age of 5, or anyone who cannot sit quietly for the 90-minute presentation, which is staged without an intermision.
Stuart Mitchell, Russell Alan and Stephen Cracroft are alternating in the role of Jesus Christ.
City Rep is located in the Utah Theatre building, 148 S. Main.