Utah State Theatre presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Crimes of the Heart" by Beth Henley on Thursdays-Saturdays, April 4-6 and 11-13, at 8 p.m. in the historic Lyric Theatre, 28 W. Center.

The play is a social drama about three sisters in Hazelnut, Miss., according to director Vosco Call."All three have been scarred by events in their childhood - a father who deserted the family and a mother who committed suicide. The play is about the sisters reuniting and rallying around the youngest, who is in trouble and needs support," Call said.

The sisters, Lenny, Meg and Babe McGrath, begin to realize that they are not alone; they still have each other.

"The play has moments of heavy drama and high comedy. All three of the sisters have distinct and interesting personalities. They're charming, but disturbed," Call said.

Cast in the roles of the sisters are graduate students Alyssa Hickman as Meg and Shellie Harwood as Lenny, with undergraduate theater major Jeanene Bateman as Babe. Others in the cast are Deanna Sorenson as Chick, Michael Humberstone as Barnette and Ronald King as Doc.

Call became interested in "Crimes of the Heart" because of its remarkable success. "I believe this is the first play to receive a Pulitzer Prize before playing on Broadway. Beth Henley is also one of the few women playwrights to receive the Pulitzer, and she was virtually unknown at the time."

Complex personalities are the great virtue of the play, Call feels. "The characters are wonderfully drawn - getting all of the characters' eccentricities to be expressed is the big challenge.

"I'm fortunate because the students in the play are very close to the actual ages of the characters. That brings a dimension of understanding for the actors. They are achieving the subtleties - they care very much about this material," Call noted.

The action takes place in the kitchen of an older Southern home, making the intimacy of the Lyric Theatre a definite advantage. Designer Randy Ewing's challenge was to create a large, homey kitchen on the theater's relatively small stage.

Call feels that "Crimes of the Heart" is a good example of modern American drama.

"I think its theme material - broken families and scarred children trying to cope - parallel current social problems," he said. "There are facets of the theme that are quite adult, so I wouldn't recommend it for children. However, it is ethically and morally sound."

Admission to "Crimes of the Heart" is $6.50 for adults; $5.50 for senior citizens, youths and USU faculty/staff members, and $3.25 for USU students and their dependents. (USU students must have current I.D.)

Reservations may be made with a credit card by calling 750-1657.

Theater patrons who were unable to exchange season coupons for the sold-out performances of "Pack of Lies" may exchange them for "Crimes of the Heart." For more information, call 750-3046.

In deference to adult audiences, children under the age of five are not admitted to Utah State Theatre productions.